The average fan will likely skip "Note to Self" (aka the last 12 minutes of the outro on "Forest Hills Drive") but here at the DJBooth we are anything but the average fan. We spend way too much time exhaustively over-analyzing every detail of rap humanly possible. The normal fan hears Cole talking for 12 minutes about a bunch of people they don't know and get bored. The real rap nerds hear it and want to know more. I knew some of the names - Jay, Bas, and Momma Cole - but for the most part it's J. Cole just saying a bunch of names.
And even if you are a hardcore fan who wants to know who all these people are, you have work, school, and a life; you wouldn't ever devote an entire afternoon to combing through each and every shout out. That's where I come in. I "work" on the internet, I have all the time in the world. So that's what I did. In perhaps the most absurdly detailed investigation in the history of absurd investigations, I spent the day going through and breaking down each and ever shoutout...all 93 of them.
"First and foremost my entire Dreamville team, thank you man."
Obviously Dreamville is Cole's imprint. I'm gonna go ahead an assume if you are listening to the outro, you're already a Cole fan who already knows the deal, but if not, check out our Guide to Dreamville.
"Mez who fuckin' sleep right now, that nigga ain't even recording this thing right now. Nigga's been working' hard man, Mez I'm proud as fuck of you man, for real you killed this shit."
Juro “Mez” Davis is Cole's Sound Engineer and he really did a hell of a job; the production is great and there are so many subtle effects. This is an article in and of itself, but it seems like engineers are becoming more and more vital to a label's success. People hear "entourage" and think manager, PR, blunt roller, but with TDE's Ali and Davis, it looks like engineers are finally getting some love.
"Ib what up?El Presidente what up!?"
A shout out to Ibrahim Hamad, the president and co-creator of Dreamville. Fun fact, he is the brother of Dreamville emcee Bas.
"My nigga Adam, I'm proud of y'all man, for real."
Adam Rodney is the creative director at Dreamville. He doesn't seem to be on Twitter.
"Ron Gilmore, my nigga"
Ron Gilmore is a in-house producer for Dreamville. He also plays the keys (and probably like seven other instruments), but is mainly a keyboardist; I saw him live and he tickles the ivories like a pro. Obviously, he helped out on Forest Hills Drive, but his best work, in my opinion, is "Cousins." Also check out Bas' "Charles De Gaulle To JFK" to hear more of his work. He also gets cranky if he doesn't get a nap.
"Yes, Camille, yes that's my sister"
Took some real internet stalking skillz, but from what I gather, Camille Matthews is a good friend of J.Cole. She has a Twitter, but it's protected so no luck there. Still, she has Dreamville in the bio so it's definitely her.
"Casey, that's like a father figure right there, Casey"
Hard to go on from just a first name, but my best guess is James Casey, a saxophonist who has worked with Cole before and was featured on "St. Tropez." I have no idea if this is the same Casey, but its my best guess so take it for what you will.
"My brother Ced, wow, we done came a long way from the Ville"
A shoutout to Dreamville producer and longtime friend of Cole, Cedric Brown. In addition to rockin' fake chains with Cole back in the day he also produced Bas' "Lit," which is a criminally underrated track; Cole's verse is awesome.
"My nigga Gray Street"
No clue. HELP!Update:It's Greg Street. A radio DJ in Hotlanta.Update 2: Cole is actually shouting out Gray's Creek, his high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
"My nigga Felton, you killed it, you killed that Friday Night Lights shit nigga and you killed this one too man. I shoulda been coming to you man. You only do the classics though, that's what it is, for real."
Felton Brown is the web guy for Cole. He helped get those early mixtapes poppin and I'm sure he had something to do with the Born Sinner stream.
Update: Also, Felton designed the album packaging as he is the graphic designer on Dreamville.
"My nigga Mike Shaw shiggity, you already know where he at right now posted up somewhere in D.R."
Mike Shaw is a close friend of J.Cole, who last tweeted when Cole World was dropping; I think this is him here. Apparently he also manages J. Cole's promo/tour dates too. He also plays the love interest of Bridget Kelly in her "Street Dreaming" video. He has a pretty awesome life.
"My nigga RJ Trump Trump gettin' that motherfuckin' bread, you know what it is man."
No idea who RJ is. According to his protected twitter account he is a "Commercial and Residential Real Estate Broker for Paradigm Real Estate". I wasn't sure it was the same RJ, but the picture is of Cole so it has to be.
"My nigga Diz, I see you, I see your vision, I believe in you. I love y'all niggas."
Diz is a longtime friend of Cole and IB. He's been around from the get-go.
"Big D, thank you man for real."
Big D is Derick, Bas' manager. One time I met him and he gave me a beer for free from backstage. He's cool.
"My nigga Bassy Badass, Bas, Bas, Bas, I can't believe it nigga!"
"(Marquis Jones) You changed your life, man, keep goin'. Keep goin', the sky is the limit."
No idea who Marquis is, but I'm guessing he's part of Super Mooking Fiends, which is kind of Bas' movement.
"Fuck that, man, Super Mooking Fiends. It's Super Mooking Fiends nigga!"
If you see any FIENDS gear at a Cole or Bas show, it's a reference to the Super Mooking Fiends crew. I have a FIENDS sticker on my water bottle because I'm cool like that.
"My nigga Depp, you know what I mean?"
I dont know what you mean... Johnny Depp?? Update: It's not Johnny Depp, it's Deputy, a Rock Nation producer. (Thanks @Geesauce)
I found some girl on Twitter who claimed to be Razzle Dazzle, but pretty sure she was just bullshittin'. I have no clue. He could also just be saying the words razzle dazzle because they're hilarious.
"Elite, Elite, Elite, Elite what up! What up man?"
Elite is another one of Cole's go to producers. "Who Dat", "Crooked Smile", "Born Sinner", and "Run Away" are all his handy work.
"My nigga Reagan put in them hours!"
Another one I'm lost on...
"My nigga Omen, man, Elephant Eyes, that shit is a confirmed classic, man."
Omen is a nother Dreamville artist and Elephant Eyes is his long-awaited project. He also produces. Check out his work here.
"Yo Elijah! Aye if we go diamond, nigga you got the triple crown, man."
I think it's Elijah Shaw, who is CEO of ICON an Executive Protection agency AKA a security guard. Don't hold me to this because I'm not quite sure how a security guard would get credit for diamond albums, but on twitter Elijah recently followed the whole Dreamville fam, so there's that.
"Nervous reck, man, congratulations to you, brother, I love you."
A longtime friend and co-worker of Cole. He produces and raps and apparently was responsible for the sample in "Fire Squad." Here is an old song featuing him and Cole.
"Filthy, I love you too, man. I know you feel a way about me right now but I love you."
I don't know who he is, but he's mad at Cole for something.
"Cozz, that Cozz and Effect is a mothafuckin' classic, nigga."
Dreamville's newest emcee. Check out Cozz and Effect here.
"My nigga Money Makin Matt"
Cozz manager and is responsible for showing Cozz to Cole.
"Jack who's at the board right now, what's up man!?"
Jack. A sound guy. I tried looking up his name but finding a lone Jack on the internet is impossible.
Update: Jack is an assistant engineer at MSR studio in NYC.
"Raff, Rugged Raff""Wreck it Raph"
No idea. Hopefully not Riff Raff.
Update: Wrek It Rap is Raphael Lee.
"Perfect Sound Studios, LA we couldn't have did it without you"
Kind of self explanatory, no?
"My nigga Dave Linaburg, Nate Jones, Yolanda, TS, Kaye Fox came through and killed it"
"My nigga Quick with the clean versions."
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Quick is a producer but apparently he's also good at removing curse words from rap songs.
"Vinylz killed that beat!"
Vinylz produced “Fire Squad” and “A Tale of 2 Citiez.” He has also produced about 7,000 other songs this year. Seriously, take a look at his work this year.
"My nigga Phonix, oh that beat is hard! Dahi brought that beat, who does that?"
You probably know the name DJ Dahi, he's only one of the hottest producers in the game right now, but he didn't produce on the album like you are hearing. He just gave the Phonix beat to Cole.
"Pop & Oak, my nigga Pop, thank you man"
Pop & Oak are two big name producers. They produced Elle Varner's "Only Want To Give It To You" which featured Cole. I trust that's how they met. Earlier this year I talked to Pop for "Behind The Boards" so that's pretty cool; it's almost like I produced a song on the album. That's how that works right?
"Willie B I never met you but you did the beat"
In addition to producing "'03 Adolesence" (one of the best songs of the album), Willie B has also produced a bunch of other dope songs including "Rigamortis". He has also never met J. Cole.
"!llmind you killed the beat"
!llmind produced "Love Yourz." He is another "Behind The Boards" alum. For those keeping score at home, that's two "Behind The Boards" profiled producers on this album. Just sayin...
Yo The Social Experiment is fucking taking over. First Chance, now Cole, next? The world chico.
My nigga Jeff on the guitar, you know what I mean?
I thought Dave was his guitarist? Is Jeff part of Social Experiment or just a dude?
"Nuno did the mothafuckin' strings"
No idea who Nuno is, but the name is familiar. On the other hand I might be crazy.
"Hey, the horn players that came through, I don't know y'all names but y'all killed that shit"
Part of me is hoping this is Donnie Trumpet since he mentions the horn players right after the Social Experiment but I have no way of telling. Hey Donnie, is that you bro?
"Man, shout out Drizzy Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, I'm so happy to be peers with y'all niggas and consider y'all niggas friends."
You know these three already, but I wanted to comment on how nice it must receive a shout out without doing anything at all for the album. The life of a rapper I guess...
"ByStorm, I love y'all niggas man, no matter what. Wayne, Just, MK, thank you man you came on board and killed it."
ByStorm Entertainment does artist stuff, A.K.A "branding." Wayne is ByStorm's president, Just is "Just Be," who we will get to in a second, and my best guess for MK is Mark from ByStorm or this guy who seems to be a lawyer or something.
"Natalya, what's up!"
Natalya Davis. She does marketing for Cole.
"My nigga Julius Garcia, I already shouted you out but I shouted out your alias and I just put your whole government on record and this gon' live forever"
Julius "Just Be" Garcia was mentioned above with the ByStorm cats. He's Cole's manager. I couldn't find a Twitter so here is his Linked In.
"Tisha, Tisha, you know I love you Tisha"
Don't know who Tisha is and there are too many Tisha's on the internet to find this one.
"Future the Prince, thank you for those conversations man I needed that."
Future The Prince is a DJ/music exec. He is also Drake's manager and DJ.
"Roc Nation daamnn, we feel like a family now man, forreal"
Roc Nation is Roc Nation. It's not like anyone still reading this doesn't know but Roc Nation is Cole's label.
"Shout out to Nelly, Ted, Christina, Chaka I love you. Jeff what up."
Nelly is either the Nelly who did "Tip Drill" or Wilnelly Ortiz, a marketing person for Roc Nation. The latter is probably more accurate but the former is cooler.Ted? Who the fuck knows. Christina Suarez handles Roc Nation legal. Chaka Pilgrim also works at Roc Nation; I think she does marketing. Jeff is Roc Nation too... All of these people (and the next group) are the Roc Nation peeps.
Update: Winelly is not just "a marketing person" she is is the product manager (Head of Marketing for the project) for Cole on the Roc Nation side.
"Jay-Z, Hov, holla! Jake Brown what up! Rich Kleinman, Ty Ty, my nigga Emory, you know what it is."
Jay Z is Jay Z. Jake Brown was the Roc Nation president who wrote the book Jay Z and the Roc-A-Fella Records Dynasty. Though he does the Roc Nation sports stuff Rich Kleiman gets shoutout-ed. Jigga's homies, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith and Emory get shoutouts; not bad considering they also got one on Jay Z's "My 1st Song" outro.
"Shout out to Interscope. Yeah, Joey I.E, 'preciate you, Janet, Gary, Steve Berman, yeah."
Earlier this year Dreamville linked up with Interscope for a distribution deal. Joie "Joey I.E." Manda is Interscope's president. Janet? Who knows. Is this Gary? Steve Berman , Interscope's Vice Chairman is perhaps the most shouted out exec thanks to all those Eminem skits. He also only has 700 followers so struggle rappers get in now while the getting is good. I have more followers than Steve Berman; that feels good to say.
"Columbia, we love y'all man, damn."
Cole had a three album deal with Columbia. This is the last album that will be distributed by Columbia.
Lisa Wiggins works at Columbia. Also one of the best shutouts in terms of delivery. She should be honored.
Update: Lisa is the manager of touring and events on the Columbia side and she manages Cole's touring and promo schedule.
"April, thank you very much my baby"
Assume she works at Columbia but with a name as common as April it's impossible to find anything out. Who knows, she could be a waitress at the Hooters on Peachtree.
Update:April Pope the product manager of the project from the Columbia side.
"Ayelet, you are a legend, we fuckin' love you"
Ayelet Schiffman also works at Columbia. No idea what she does though.
Update: Ayelet is the Vice President of Rhythm radio promotion.
"CJ same to you man, y'all been killin' this shit for years, thank you man, thank you"
Cynthia Johnson is the Vice President/Urban Promotion at Columbia.
Can't catch the last name of Joe. Help me out and I'll update.
Update:Joel is Executive VP and General Manager of Columbia
"The whole sales team, production, marketing team"
The whole sales team, production, marketing team at Columbia. All of them.
"My man B Nolan who drove us around in a fuckin' van and a SUV and showed us all about the radio game, man."
Brian Nolan is the Vice President of Creative Agency at Columbia Records. From the sound of things, he really helped Cole grow early on; I bet he's happy today.
"Mimi what up! I'm fuckin' up my words, I don't care. How am I not gon' shout out Mimi man"
I couldn't find anything so I'll leave you with some musings on the name Mimi. It sounds like a very common name, but how many people named Mimi do you actually know? Think about it...
Update: Mimi is Melissa Heholt, Cole's boo.
"My Mama OOOOOOOOOOOH, I love you!"
"Zach I love you"
Zach is Cole's Brother. Cole often raps about his incarceration (see "Crooked Smile", "The World is Empty", "Show Me Something").
"My pops I love you."
There is a lot of stuff about his mom, but does anyone know anything about Cole's dad? I think he was a G.I., but don't hold me to that. Strange there isn't more about him...
"James Cole I love you"
I have no clue who James Cole is. Help?
"Jackie I love ya."
I have no clue who Jackie is. Someone else in the Cole family?
"Forreal Dale Earnhardt Jr. man, thank you dawg."
Sticking around for the whole thing was worth it because this one (and the next) had me rollin'. I'm now following Dale Jr. awaiting a response.
"And Jonah! Oh Jonah Hill! How could I forget Jonah Hill!"
Considering Seth Rogen is getting Kanye to rap his new album, this one wouldn't surprise me. Still fake though.
Phew, take a breath.
That shit was exhausting. Really testing my internet mastery.
If you made it this far, I'm really fucking with you and clearly, you are really fucking with Cole. Honestly, when I set out to do this, I had no idea it would be this extensive. This literally took me all day. It's pretty incredible when you think about it. Look at all the people (minus Dale and Jonah) who had a role in shaping this album. Albums always seem like they come straight from the artist, but this little endeavor goes to show just who and what it takes to make an album.
Today is spent the day stalking people who were mentioned on the outro of J.Cole's album...
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]