Fans were thrilled to hear Nas, JAY-Z and DMX link up on “Bath Salts” for the latter rapper’s posthumous album, Exodus. However, as Swizz Beatz revealed on Sunday (May 30), the hit could have featured one other rap mainstay: J. Cole.
During Swizz’s Verzuz rematch against series co-founder Timbaland, the mega-producer surprised fans by previewing an unreleased version of the track that features a verse from Cole. The unexpected debut happened when the album version of the song, or the “cute version” as Swizz called it, started playing.
“I like that version, but let me play this version,” Swizz said before sounding off Cole’s verse.
It’s unclear whether Cole’s version of “Bath Salts” will ever be formally released, either as a stand-alone single or on an extended edition of the album. Speaking with Complex, Swizz previously explained what a significant moment it was to get X, Nas and Hov all together on the track.
“That’s a real New York staple moment. JAY, Nas, DMX, you hear those three names and you almost wonder what that album would sound like with them,” he said. “So, this song was just a glimpse of that. And thank God that we were able to get that done and everybody was cooperative.”
“My brother JAY, my brother Nas, I really commend everybody for coming together and putting the egos to the side,” he added. “X had a certain vibe with JAY, but JAY looked past that. X was past that at this point, too. It was just good to see real hip hop on some fire beats.”
Swizz also revealed that the trio did not record the song together, saying, “No, that would’ve been a movie.”
“It could’ve happened in LA, but just… you know… Everybody was in their comfort space, and I was cool with that,” he continued. “I sent the beat, so you never know when you’re going to get what you’re going to get back.”
Listen to Cole’s unreleased verse on “Bath Salts” during Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz below.