North Carolina rapper J. Cole did most of the production himself on his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story. However, this cut was helmed by renowned Chicago beatmaker No I.D. (Kanye West, Alicia Keys). He told The Boombox: "The first person I got in with was No I.D. and it's funny how it happened because last year we started having conversations about No I.D. but I've been producing my stuff for so long that my concept was initially like, 'I don't need anybody. I'm good.' I've been doing this my way for so long."
Cole added that he recorded tracks with other producers but found his style most similar to No I.D.'s. "If I was gonna get in with anybody it was the right decision to go with No I.D.," he said, "because his style so closely resembles mine - or what I want to be - but he is a pro to the next level and I learned so many things from him."
Cole explained the lyrical content to Billboard magazine: "Every studio session with No I.D. is always great conversation followed by work, and that's what was happening. 'Never Told' was the last song that we did on that first time I was there, and it was a culmination of all these conversations that we were having about life and relationships. So when we did 'Never Told,' all of that came out in that song."