Since J. Cole released his first release in 2007, the Roc Nation rapper always kept an underlying sports theme for his mixtape and album titles. But with his sophomore album nearing completion, Cole talked to MTV about why it was time for a change.
"That metaphor and that storyline had really ended. Metaphorically I was just a kid working to get on this basketball team, got cut — that was 'The Come Up,' then 'The Warm Up' was like, alright I made the team, I'm on the team, now what? I'm not in the game, I'll just ride the end of the bench," Cole explained. Then F'riday Night Lights' was like 'come on man, you're still not gonna put me in the game? What I gotta do? Here, I'm gonna kill it in practice.' "
He continued: "Sideline Story was like, 'Wow, I really am starting now,' and I feel like I ended that chapter when it's all said and done. Plus, this new theme is really more reflective of where I'm at and where I've been at for the past two years, so it was just perfect to move on."