J. Cole
Did J. Cole get the beat for “Deja Vu” from a Bryson Tiller song? Pictured: J. Cole performing in New York on Sept. 18, 2014. Getty Images/Craig Barritt

By the time you get to track three of J. Cole’s latest album, “4 Your Eyez Only,” you hear an instrumental you may have heard before.

The album’s third song, “Deja Vu,” features a beat which is very similar to Bryson Tiller’s hit song, “Exchange.” Artists using the same beats in hip-hop is not unheard of, but the practice is usually reserved for mixtape songs or non-album singles.

While many listeners assumed J. Cole took Tiller’s beat for his song, the rapper’s manager, Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad, revealed the truth behind the “Deja Vu” beat. Speaking with Billboard, Hamad said “Deja Vu” and “Exchange” were “two totally different songs.”

Although the tracks sample the same song — K.P. & Envyi’s “Swing My Way” — Hamad said “Deja Vu” had been in the making for a few years and was originally supposed to be on J. Cole’s 2014 album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive.”

“We had already made ‘Deja Vu,’ like that song was literally made for his last album [‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’] and we just knew it would fit better because of the story he wanted to tell on the album,” Hamad said.

With Cole’s song already made in 2014, Hamad said when he and his team heard Tiller’s “Exchange” in 2015, they had the same reaction that listeners today had. “Cole had already made the song, so when Bryson’s album came out and we heard it, it was a feeling like, ‘Damn, he used the same sample,’” he said.

While Hamad sees no controversy between the two songs, the producers of “Deja Vu” did have their own feud with the producer of “Exchange.” On Twitter, “Deja Vu” producers Vinylz and Boi1da accused “Exchange” producer Foreign Teck of stealing the beat.

“Me and @Boi1da made that exchange beat first,” Vinylz tweeted on Dec. 9. “It was stolen from us by a thief named @ForeignTeck. Cole song was recorded before exchange.”