Alicia Keys’ new album Keys drops Friday, but it won’t feature a collaboration with J. Cole.
Back in September, she teased the potential pairing by sharing footage from their time in the studio. However, the Dreamville rapper was absent from the tracklist when it was revealed earlier this week.
During her interview with Complex’s “360 with Speedy Morman,” the 15-time Grammy winner opened up about their “festive” studio session in the Bahamas.
“That’s the first time we connected,” she said. “He came through, he happened to be in the same place. We were talking, we were conversating, building…And then we just kinda happened to fall on some vibes or some things or some flows.”
In fact, they recorded “two or three of them,” but she’s unsure where they will end up. “We’ll see what happens.”
When asked if the lost songs will eventually be released or kept in the vault, she responded, “It’s really possible,” adding, “It’s good too. I liked it and it was easy, it was fluid.”
One thing Cole didn’t tell Alicia during their session was that he had a crush on her when he was 14. In 1999, he went to her Dallas concert and after her performance, he waited outside for her to leave. He imagined that he would give her a look and whisk her off her feet, but it didn’t quite play out that way.
While Alicia was flattered, she had no recollection of the moment. “I definitely can’t say that I remember the look. I don’t know if the look made it to me,” she said. “It’s really cute ’cause everybody has a story like that.”
J. Cole is not on Keys, but the double album does feature Lil Wayne, Pusha T, Khalid, Swae Lee, and Lucky Daye.
“It’s kinda like a Sunday and a Saturday,” she said of the 26-track set, which is divided into two sides—Originals and Unlocked. “I feel like people really love the piano side of me…I can never express myself in one style, nobody can. That’s not even realistic. So I think the other side of it allows me to go a little more crazy, put a little more Lawry’s seasoning salt in the mix and create this gumbo that fulfills all the senses. And that’s what you can expect, to be fulfilled, well fed.”