Producers L&X Music Break Down J. Cole and Drake’s ‘In The Morning’


When “In The Morning”—the long-awaited, much-anticipated collaboration between J. Cole and Drake—leaked last week, a number of hip-hop fans were confused.

For starters, the song wasn’t actually new. Rather, it was a nearly two-year-old track from Cole’s sampler The Warm Up Before the Warm Up—a collection of songs Cole released in 2009 prior to dropping his The Warm Up mixtape—with a Drake verse and a new Cole verse added to it. Secondly, it was decidedly geared towards a female audience and didn’t do much to quell the “Who’s better: J. Cole or Drake?” arguments that have been floating around since 2009. And lastly, it featured production from a tandem called L&X Music who, before last week, most rap fans hadn’t heard of, let alone associated with J. Cole or Drake.

We can’t speak for the first two curveballs, but here at VIBE, we wanted to find out more about how L&X Music managed to land a production credit on one of the biggest rap collabos of the year. So we tracked down Brooklyn natives Leslie “L” Merceron, 25, and Xavier “X” Smith, 24—who have done production work for NYC rappers Skyzoo and Nina B in the past—to find out exactly how their song found its way onto Cole’s recently-released mixtape, Friday Night Lights. —Chris Yuscavage