Isaiah Rashad released "Free Lunch" as the lead single off his 2016 debut album, The Sun's Tirade, but that wouldn't have been possible if J. Cole had decided to keep the Cam O'bi-produced beat for himself.
In a Beat Break series interview with our Andy James, the Vegas-born producer revealed that the "Free Lunch" beat was originally created at Cole's house during the 4 Your Eyez Only sessions. "Cole recorded a song to it with Bas," said O'bi. "It was damn near done, but he just didn’t like it. He didn’t like what he wrote. I loved the song, personally, but Cole didn’t."
After confirming with Cole that he had no plans to use the record for his album, O'bi connected with Rashad and send him a batch of beats from which the "Free Lunch" record was selected.
“I was so glad that [Isaiah] made that song, and also that he made it his single," he continued. "I was flattered, like, ‘Dude, that’s what’s up!’ It felt good because I loved that beat so much and I was kinda discouraged at first because Cole didn’t want it. But at the end of the day, you should never take those things personally. Cole wants a specific thing and it doesn’t have anything to do with me. Thankfully, this one found a home."
"Free Lunch" wasn't the only record created for Cole that eventually landed in the hands of another artist, either. Later in the interview, O'bi revealed that Noname's "Shadow Man" was also created for Cole.
You can read the entire Beat Break interview with Cam O'bi here.