J. Cole Says He Is The Best Rapper Alive & He’s Proving It

Last Friday (January 28), Benny The Butcher released one of the most exciting songs by any artist in over a year. “Johnny P’s Caddy” is inspired by the formative days when Benny would ride in his father’s Cadillac alongside Westside Gunn and listen to Hip-Hop. Over an Alchemist beat, The Butcher announces that he is collecting the respect he missed out on in years past. As one of the most promising artists in Rap, Benny’s accolades, such as charts and trophies, still seem to fall short of his impact as a top-tier lyricist. On the video single—the first look at Tana Talk 4, Benny recruited a superstar who knows a thing or two about feeling overlooked: J. Cole. As he has done many times before, J. Cole offers some friendly competition to his host MC.

The Dreamville founder raps, “Stretchin’ the truth, know I never stress in the booth / They feel the pressure, me I feel like I just left the masseuse / Effortless, how I’m skatin’ on these records is proof / I put your favorite rapper neck in a noose, never lettin’ them loose,” at one point, before: “Cole World, the heat’ll blast through your speaker / He the last of Mohicans, no weaklings last in my sneakers / Ni**a want me on a song, he gon’ see the wrath of the reaper / I’m prolly gon’ go to Hell if Jesus ask for a feature / I’m higher than ni**as and don’t need a bag full of reefer / Some see the glass as empty, I see a glass full of ether / Collectin’ his bread in mass like he a Catholic preacher / Just to count a ni**a cash, you might need a calculus teacher / Eureka, Einstein on the brink of the theory of relativity / Really, no MC equal, feel me? / Cole pen be lethal, crib like an old MTV show, uh / On God, the best rapper alive / Headshot, now go and ask the best rappers that died / They’ll tell you he never lied.” In his verse, Cole speaks openly about the consequences to MCs that ask him to appear on their song. As he heads towards potentially receiving his first “Best Rap Album” Grammy (along with other category nominations), Cole does not mince words about positioning himself as the G.O.A.T.

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The phenomenon of “Johnny P’s Caddy” is nothing new. During a period when J. Cole went several albums without guest MC appearances, he began a streak of contributing legendary features for others. That act of generosity was also one of pride—as Cole often outshines his peers on their song. For episode #74 of the What’s The Headline podcast, the Ambrosia For Heads team discusses J. Cole’s feature run and his self-proclaimed status as “the reaper.” The chat (which opens the episode embedded in video and audio, below), analyzes work with Royce 5’9, Jay Rock, Logic, Moneybagg Yo, 21 Savage, Drake, Rapsody, Big K.R.I.T., Gang Starr, and Young Thug, among others. There is discussion over whether Cole has bested the host every time or if the MC calling himself “the best rapper alive” definitively fell short with one particular peer. The podcast also explores the elite company of feature legends that J. Cole is in—including Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and JAY-Z—and whether or not he’s become the best. The episode also discusses an incredible new J Dilla biography by Dan Charnas, a potential return to Death Row from Snoop Dogg, and lots of fresh music.

The time codes for episode #74 of the What’s The Headline podcast:

0:00 Intro
1:20 Benny The Butcher’s “Johnny P’s Caddy,” featuring J. Cole, is a special moment for Hip-Hop
5:19 The meaning of “Johnny P’s Caddy”
6:55 J. Cole has been using feature verses to prove he is “the best rapper alive
9:40 Who had the better verse on “Johnny P’s Caddy” between Benny The Butcher and J. Cole?
10:07 Is J. Cole undefeated in his appearances as a featured MC on other rappers’ records?
12:08 Reviewing J. Cole’s best feature verses:
12:45 Royce 5’9’s “Boblo Boat” featuring J. Cole
14:30 Jay Rock’s “OSOM” featuring J. Cole
16:56 Rapsody’s “Sojourner” featuring J. Cole
20:00 Moneybagg Yo’s “Say Na” featuring J. Cole
23:10 21 Savage’s “a lot” featuring J. Cole
27:20 Big K.R.I.T.’s “Prove It” featuring J. Cole
30:37 Gang Starr’s “Family And Loyalty” featuring J. Cole
31:37 Benny The Butcher’s “Johnny P’s Caddy” featuring J. Cole
35:04 What is J. Cole’s best feature verse?
36:13 Which rappers are the best at guest verses?
40:55 The one MC who squarely defeated J. Cole on a song is…
43:53 Rap lyrics are being used as evidence in criminal trials
51:40 Dan Charnas has written the definitive biography on J. Dilla with Dilla Time
59:40 Benny The Butcher is releasing Tana Talk 4, produced by Alchemist and Daringer
1:00:24 Kanye West is releasing Donda 2, executive produced by Future
1:02:15 Kendrick Lamar is releasing a new song in the next two weeks
1:03:05 Is Snoop Dogg back on Death Row Records?
1:11:20 New and exciting music coming from Big K.R.I.T., Cypress Hill, and Cormega
1:15:55 New music of the week from King Iso, Fly Anakin, Che Noir, AZ, and Mach-Hommy, plus Your Old Droog & Tha God Fahim

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#BonusBeat: The official AFH playlist featuring new music from J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Benny The Butcher, Fly Anakin, King Iso, AZ, and more: