J. Cole Comes Out Blasting. It Sounds Like Kanye & Drake Are The Targets (Videos)
2016 may be saving its best for last. On the first day of December, it appeared that J. Cole unveiled his plans surrounding his fourth album release. December 9’s 4 Your Eyez Only pre-orders hit the web, then quickly and mysteriously disappeared (they are back now). By the time the day ended, a documentary arrived–confirming the album to be real, and sounding lethal.
No one could be quite sure how serious this LP could be. Arriving this morning (December 2), J. Cole has unveiled two music videos from his LP. These appeared in the documentary, but there’s a lot Heads may have missed.
“False Prophets (Be Like This)” catches Cole on the bus. Right from the start, it appears that the Roc Nation star is talking about somebody—maybe some people. Based on recent information, it sizes up to be Kanye West. “Life is a balance / You lose your grip you could slip into an abyss / No doubt, you see these niggas trippin’ / Ego in charge / Of every move, he’s a star / And we can’t look away / Due to the day / He caught our hearts / He’s fallin’ apart but we deny it / Justifyin’ that half-ass shit he dropped, we always buy it / When he tell us he a genius, but it’s clearer lately / It’s been hard for him to look into the mirror lately / There was a time when this nigga was my hero, maybe / That’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take.” The biggest MC/producer double-threat of the last five years appears to take a heavy, check-yo’self-swing at the biggest MC/producer of the five years before that. ‘Ye and Cole worked together a number of times, from Beyoncé to Pusha T, the Friday Night Lights mixtape to Blueprint 3. However, they have never been closely attached on albums by either. This jab comes in a 10-day period where West ended his tour early and was hospitalized for what has been said to be dehydration and fatigue.
However, J. Cole never mentions Kanye by name. A few bars later, the aim may be West, and some could make a case that it is about Drake. “Damn, wonder what happened / Maybe it’s my fault for idolizing niggas for the words they be rappin’ / When, come to find out these niggas don’t even write they shit / Hear some new style bubblin’ up, then they bite the shit / Damn, that’s what I get for lyin’ to myself / What’s more important is he’s crying out for help / While the whole world’s eggin’ him on, I’m beggin’ him to stop it / They playin’ his old shit, knowin’ he won’t top it / Damn. False prophets.” Cole’s mentor Jay Z appeared to be taking shots back in Drake’s direction earlier this year. If he is, Jermaine is challenging his elite peers—Kanye West, Drake, and others to put their best music in their future, not their past. He encourages others to do as he has done—make songs about pain, real life, and giving the people home. Riding the bus through New York City, giving dap in subway tunnels, and shopping in mom-and-pop shops, J. Cole is a man-of-the-people. He stands for that, and wants the fellow 1% of Rap to reconsider for whom they’re really doing it.
J. Cole uses Joey Bada$$’s 1999 mixtape instrumental to “Waves.” Notably, that was one of the earlier titles planned for Yeezy’s The Life Of Pablo album. Cole appears to have licensed the 2012 Freddie Joachim-produced cut this his own LP.
“Everybody Gotta Die” is a simple treatment of Cole riding around on the back of a pickup truck, rapping to the camera. This keeps up the Everyman vibe. Signaling his own return, Jermaine compares himself to a weapon—and he is taking out bodies: “You know mass destruction / When I mash the button / I take your favorite major rapper, left him independent / Cryin’ in the corner / ‘Cause I ain’t into sorta / Kinda, dissin’ / Niggas / I’m borderline addicted / To slaughter / Line up niggas in order of who you really think can fuck with me most / Then I tuck the heat close / If he don’t duck then he ghost.”
Then, Cole lays out a grocery list of every kind of MC that he intends to eradicate: “Clap at the fake deep rappers / The O.G. gate-keep rappers / The would-you-take-a-break-please rappers / Buncha words and they ain’t sayin’ shit, I hate these rappers / Especially the amateur, eight-week rappers / ‘Lil’ whatever, just another short-bus rapper / Fake drug dealers turned tour-bus trappers / Napoleon complex, you this tall, rapper / Get exposed standing next to 6’4″ rappers / The streets don’t fuck with you, you Pitchfork rappers / Chosen by the white man, you hip-ster rappers / I reload the clip then I hit more rappers.” From overly-prolific MCs to old-guard spitters, overnight sensations, to web-cosigned movements, J. Cole appears to want it all to change—and he is willing to lead the charge.
Heads will recognize the beat being very similar (using the same Minnie Riperton “Inside My Love” sample) as A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 “Lyrics To Go” track. Last year, Cole remixed some early A.T.C.Q.
4 Your Eyez Only has only shown two songs thus far. That said, J. Cole threatens to take 2016 by hurting some feelings, and intervening with some Rap heavyweights.