The title track of J Cole's second album summarizes the corruptive temptations and dualities that center the LP. "This music s--t is a gift, but God help us make it 'cause this music biz is a cliff," warns Cole. He told Billboard magazine that the record details, "the story of corruption - corruption of an artist when commercial appeal is involved, or corruption of a relationship when temptation is involved, or corruption of a government when capitalism is involved."
The song features player-producer James Fauntleroy II who co-wrote Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie."
Cole's right-hand man Ibrahim "IB" Hamad told the story of the song to Vibe magazine: "He recorded this in L.A. on a beat he and Elite were working on while we were out there. He did two verses that were so honest but we had no hook and we knew if we can get the right hook this can definitely be a big piece of the album. A few months later in London, we ran into James Fauntleroy while he was working on Rihanna's album and Cole gave him the concept for a song called 'Born Sinner.' Anyone who knows Fauntleroy knows he's incredible. He went in the booth and just started humming melodies he played around with for a quick second. Then just like that you had the perfect hook for what Cole was going for. Once the hook was in place it was a no-brainer on what the album name was going to be.... 'Born Sinner.'"
George Harrison's 1971 song "Bangla Desh" was the first major charity single. It was part of a concert held to bring relief to the people of Bangladesh, who were fighting for independence and suffering from a famine.
"The Night Chicago Died" was written and recorded by the British group Paper Lace. They talk about Al Capone in the song, but got a lot of details wrong - understandable since they wrote it based on gangster movies.