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INTERSCOPE MINES A COLE SURPRISE (UPDATE)

A surprise new album from J. Cole has gone into preorder ahead of its release on 12/9 via Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope; the LP, 4 Your Eyez Only, is the hip-hop star’s first release on the UMG label. The 40-minute “making of” video piece, Eyez, was posted as a Tidal exclusive early Friday.

IGA topper John Janick celebrated the new relationship with a memo to staff.

“I’m beyond thrilled to announce that we will be releasing J. Cole’s new album, 4 Your Eyez Only, on December 9th, in conjunction with Dreamville Records and Roc Nation,” Janick wrote. “I’m guessing some of you have heard the news about the album coming already, so I wanted to let all of you know as quickly as possible… Cole wanted it to be a surprise, and he and his team are extremely happy with the way this has been rolled out. There will be some news regarding the album coming from Cole soon, so please refrain from making any announcements outside of the company until that happens.

“I hope you share my excitement in partnering with these two great companies on what is easily one of the most anticipated albums from one of the biggest artists in music. The decision to partner with us on 4 Your Eyez Only is a direct result of the fantastic working relationship we have had with Cole, Ib [Ibrahim Hamad] and their Dreamville label over the past three years. When Joie [Manda, President of Urban Music] and I first spent time with Cole and Ib, the most important thing for them was working alongside a company that believes in long-term artist development from the ground up; I think we’ve done a great job in showing them that Interscope shares their vision.

“We’re eight days from release, so let’s all dig in and do what we do best.”

There will reportedly be no online exclusives other than the Eyez video, and physical will also be available on release date.

As soon as fans discovered the preorder, it became a trending topic on Twitter; as of this writing it has prompted nearly a million tweets and became the #1 trending topic U.S. and Top 10 worldwide.

Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive bowed in December 2014 with 361k via Roc Nation/Columbia and has moved 1.24m RTD. While that release wasn’t a “sneak attack,” it was not preceded by a lead single; a viral leak built up pre-release demand.

Eyez, which closely follows Cole's process in building the new album, includes several previews of what to expect from this thoughtful, layered hip-hop artist.  

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