(from my Tumblr page)
Wow, what a track.
Apparently, Nas heard Cole’s single “Work Out” and didn’t like it. He thought Cole wouldn’t go after a radio-friendly track and take a similar route he took when he came out. Nas sees something in Cole, maybe he sees himself in Cole.
Cole was upset and fired back at Nas for having a similar song as well. Nas wasn’t known for having radio-friendly tracks but surprisingly, released one featuring Ginuwine in 2000. Cole felt like Nas was being hypocritical. Just imaging upsetting or disappointing their idol is heartbreaking, although you shouldn’t need validation from anyone, hearing a negative comment or reaction from someone you look up to is tough.
Afterwards, Nas, surprisingly, released a response to the track. On Nas’ lone verse, he raps on his come up and younger days.
Nas touches on Cole’s “You Owe Me” comment by saying it was a different situation. Nas was on his fourth album while Cole was recording his debut. Nas wasn’t known for radio-friendly records, so when it came out it was a surprise. Meanwhile, Cole had it as his first single, by doing so; Nas is implying that Cole will gain a reputation for making radio-hits and will feel obligated to make them. With Cole wanting to be looked at as a lyricist, doing songs like “Work Out” isn’t going to help out.
After his verse, Nas finally tells Cole he is proud of him after hearing “Born Sinner.”