By Kyle Anderson
Updated September 15, 2011 at 04:20 PM EDT

Jay-Z has been tipping his hat to about-to-explode rapper J. Cole for quite a while — in fact, he was the first-ever artist signed to Jigga’s Roc Nation label back in 2009.

Now, he’s putting his money where his mouth is (or in this instance, his mouth where his money is), dropping in on Cole’s just-released new single “Mr. Nice Watch.”

Produced by Cole himself, “Mr. Nice Watch” is a twitchy, bass-heavy blast of computer funk that gives way to a weepy guitar line and seems cut from the same cloth as many of the tracks on Watch the Throne, which will probably lead to an excellent argument about who is influencing who in the Jay-Z camp. Give the song a spin below.

Cole acquits himself quite nicely, diving in and our of the beat’s crevices with a handful of rhythmic tricks. Jay’s verse isn’t his best, though he does give the track quite a bit of weight and star power.

More importantly, it gets to the heart of the watch as a hip-hop status symbol. Nothing says “I just signed a deal” like a blinged-out Audemars Piguet, and watches act as a great profile-raising investment because they are more secure than most jewelry (what with them being strapped to the wrist) and also serve a function (so the rapper knows exactly how late he is to whatever interview he’s going to).

But we kid, J. Cole. His upcoming Roc Nation debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, has the potential to be a sleeper hit, and his mixtapes have been nothing short of stellar (2009’s The Warm Up, which got him signed to his label deal, was one of the best albums of that year in any genre).

Based on this single, do you think he has what it takes to hang with the big boys? Let us know in the comments.