The Ask

J. Cole and his team Dreamville had a unique vision for rolling out his new album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The artist and his team did not want to release any singles to radio, shoot any videos or conduct press interviews prior to releasing the album. The label, RocNation/Columbia, needed an agency that could creatively garner awareness, while activating the existing fan base to galvanize them around the release.

Strategy Implementation and Execution

We planned impromptu visits to fans’ homes in various cities to have fans listen to the album in an intimate setting.  DUI’s only pre-release listening event was for over 500 fans at J. Cole’s childhood home in Fayetteville, NC.  Fans from all over the world entered a lottery to win a slot to hear the album. We also created pop-up experiences so true fans felt engaged and close to their favorite artist.

The Outcome

DUI was able to manage the artist’s expectations, and fulfill the respective labels’ objectives, which resulted in the highest selling rap album of that calendar year. The album is currently double platinum, and the first such album to be released without any features, advance promotions, or a lead radio single in 15 years. A sold-out 40+ city tour, Grammy nomination, BET & Billboard award for Best Rap Album followed.