J. Cole’s Latest Guest Verse Is Much Bigger Than Hip-Hop

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J. Cole is renowned for his feature work. Following one of 2022’s best verses via Benny The Butcher’s “Johnny P’s Caddy,” Cole maintains that rep on a song with Lil Durk. At the top of “All My Life,” Jermaine salutes Durk for a positive intentions with his music, while admitting that he’s feeling his competitive spirit as always.

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That spirit carries into Cole’s verse, which follows Durk’s. “Bout to lap n__as so they think they ahead of me, but I’m really in front of them / Now some of them fumblin’ they bags / F__in’ up the little crumbs that they had / A reminder to humble yourself, this s_t could be gone in an instant / Me, I’m runnin’ long distance / All pistons firin’ / I be stuck between maybe retirin’ and feelin’ like I’m just not hittin’ my prime,” admits the top MC/producer.

While evaluating his drive and purpose, Cole also examines a troubling trend in Hip-Hop. “These days seein’ rappers be dyin’, way before they even gettin’ they shine / I never even heard of lil’ buddy / ‘Til somebody murdered lil’ buddy / Now I’m on the phone, searchin’ lil’ buddy name / Got ’em playin’ his tunes, all day in my room / Thinkin’, ‘Damn, this s__t is wicked, to get they name buzzin’ some n__as just gotta go lay in a tomb’ / And media thirsty for clicks / I got a new rule: If you ain’t never posted a rapper when he was alive, you can’t post about him after he get hit / It’s simple, it’s the principle / On any tempo, I’m invincible / Don’t even rap, I just vent to you / I rather that than an interview / Most days / F__k ’em all like I’m goin’ through a h_e phase / Young n__a shoot out the whip like road rage / I pray all of my dogs stay so paid / And the only thing that kill ’em is old age.” J. Cole’s powerful sentiments are Hip-Hop and Rap artists dying young and the media’s weird coverage surrounding these losses follows a similar position from Lupe Fiasco last year courtesy of “On Faux Nem.”

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The song is produced by Dr. Luke, who while known for Pop smashes alongside Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, and P!nk, had previously worked with Arrested Development’s Speech and Kool Keith affiliate Sir Menelik. Earlier this year, Cole and Dreamville orchestrated the Creed III soundtrack.

In addition to “All My Life” the AFH playlist features new music from J. Cole and his Dreamville roster. There are additional inclusions from Conway The Machine, Jack Harlow, IDK, and Swizz Beatz featuring Jay Electronica.

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