J. Cole Told Us Who Kanye West Was 6 Years Ago But Many Ignored Him

During the intro to Kendrick Lamar’s song “Savior” on his Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers album, the Compton MC says “Kendrick made you think about it, but he is not your savior. Cole made you feel empowered, but he is not your savior. Future said, ‘Get a money counter,’ but he is not your savior. ‘Bron made you give his flowers, but he is not your savior. He is not your savior.” The words are Kendrick’s pointed response to the crowns that are misplaced on the heads of celebrities.

Nearly 6 years ago, J. Cole, who Kendrick name-checks in the “Savior” intro, delivered a similar message about not making celebrities idols, in his song “False Prophets.” But, Cole’s words were more searing and targeted. In the song, he takes specific aim at Kanye West, the man who has arguably commanded more attention than any other figure in pop culture over the last 15 years. Although “False Prophets,” was released in December 2016, it sounds is if it could have been written this week, given the endless controversy West has faced over the last month.

Kanye West’s Self-Destruction Should Not Be Televised

While J. Cole never uses Kanye’s name directly, it’s clear West is the subject of the first verse. Cole raps “Yeah, life is a balance / You lose your grip, you can slip into an abyss / No doubt you see these ni**as trippin’ / Ego in charge of every move, he’s a star / And we can’t look away due to the days that he caught our hearts / He’s falling apart, but we deny it / Justifying that half-ass sh*t 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.Kanye, himself, has addressed the fact that many of his fans long for the “old Ye,” and few people have referred to themselves as a genius as insistently and incessantly as West has over the years.

Cole’s words are not just critical of Kanye, however. Like many, he expresses the ambivalence and mournfulness he feels toward the man who has meant so much to so many due to his prodigious creative gifts. Cole raps: “There was a time when this ni**a was my hero, maybe / That’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take / ‘Cause I believed him when he said his sh*t was purer and he / The type of ni**a swear he real but all around him’s fake / The women, the d*ckriders, you know, the yes men / Nobody with the balls to say somethin’ to contest him.” Cole also puts some of the blame on himself for glorifying celebrities. “Maybe it’s my fault for idolizing ni**as / Based off the words they be rappin’ / But come to find out, these ni**as don’t even write they sh*t / Hear some new style bubblin’ up, then they bite the sh*t / Damn, that’s what I get for lyin’ to myself.

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

Cole’s last lines take aim at the media and society for the roles they play in fueling the Ye show. “Well, f*ck it, what’s more important is he’s cryin’ out for help / While the world’s eggin’ him on, I’m beggin’ him to stop / And playin’ his old sh*t, knowin’ he won’t top it / False prophets.” This is a topic that was discussed at length in the most recent episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast.

For any who still remained surprised by the controversies Kanye continues to stir, there is little excuse. In the opening lines to “False Prophet,” Cole says “Somebody shoulda told me it would be like this, be like this, be like this. Somebody shoulda told me it would be like this.

Six years after Cole’s verse, we can no longer say no one told us.