J. Cole and Miguel teamed up earlier this year for “Power Trip,” and it’s one of our favorite hip-hop cuts of the year. Brooding yet light, it highlights both performers’ ability to shine with minimal, streamlined elements underneath their vocals. Cole produced the track himself (which is off Born Sinner, out June 25) and up top he talks about how the song came together.
Cole says he knew he had a gem after sending the beat to acclaimed producer No I.D. and getting the elusive nod of approval from him. For people outside the music biz, the term “producer” can be a vague, catch-all label, but watching J. Cole re-create the song live in the studio, layering in each element in a video like this gives you a look into the musicianship required of a producer and the keen ear needed to isolate and then combine disparate elements. And we should mention he’s doing this all before sunrise.