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The Making Of J. Cole’s “Kevin’s Heart” With T-Minus

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“What I like about the beat a lot is that it has trap elements, but it’s very soulful.”

J. Cole’s KOD track “Kevin’s Heart” is one of the biggest hits of his career, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 with over 76 million Spotify streams to date. The song uses comedian Kevin Hart’s 2017 cheating scandal as starting point to compare drug addiction to infidelity. It’s produced by longtime Drake collaborator T-Minus, who is also known for his work with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and more. According to the Canadian producer, the beat was primarily made in 2016 with guitarist Mark Pellizzer of MAGIC!.

“When I first started ‘Kevin’s Heart,’ I linked up with this guy Mark Pelli. He’s a great friend of mine and an incredible guitarist,” T-Minus tells Genius. “The moment I heard that, I just knew that was something special. He adds a couple layers after we recorded this.”

To give the guitar sound a different vibe, T-Minus started sprinkling effects on top of it. “I added this effect called Retro Color which I use a lot. It gives you that vintage feel,” he explains. “It doesn’t really sound like a guitar. It kinda sounds like a synthetic feel. I just always try to elevate the track to next level, and make the sound interesting.”

After creating the bassline by mimicking the guitar chords, T-Minus added his signature 808s and moved on to the kick drum. He also incorporated multiple hi-hats and a snare before mixing in even more percussion sounds. “I also added an open hat just to hit every time before the snare comes in,” he says. “And then I added this little percussion, almost like a hollow bongo sound.”

Check out the full Deconstructed episode above to learn more about how the song was made, and read all the lyrics to J. Cole’s “Kevin’s Heart” on Genius now.