Tony Williams, who is also Kanye West’s cousin, has been featured prominently on West’s albums. But he made his mark on Jay-Z’s 2009 album Blueprint 3. There, he was featured alongside J. Cole on a track titled “A Star Is Born.” The song featured production by No I.D., Ke’noe & Kanye West and was also seen as J. Cole’s coming out party. But while Williams did work on the track, he didn’t know it was his vocals that were featured until two weeks later. Williams spoke with Genius.com to verify some lyrics to the track and in the process, described how he found out it was his voice that was featured on the song.
“Kid Cudi initially did that hook and I just did harmonies and a supporting vocal for the melody. When Blueprint 3 came out, I looked at the track list and saw ‘A Star is Born featuring J. Cole.’ But I had no idea who J. Cole was, and when I listened to the song I heard a hook that I’d never heard before, because the last time I heard it, Cudi was singing the lead vocals and my voice was only supporting him. For two weeks, I listened to the record and thought, “Wow, this J. Cole is really killing this hook.” But it’s actually me!”
After realizing it was his voice on the vocals, Williams did some thinking and realized what happened. Of course, the J. Cole he thought was singing really the rapper featured.
What ended up happening was that they took Cudi totally out of the mix and pushed my vocals up to make it the lead. So it’s my voice on the record, but for two weeks I was listening to myself and thinking it was some dude named J. Cole.
You can see the lyrics to the track and William’s commentary about it, here.