J. Cole Has Released A Record Dissing Kendrick Lamar

Two weeks ago, Kendrick Lamar used a feature verse on Future & Metro Boomin’s album to leave no questions about a Rap rivalry with peers J. Cole and Drake. While K-Dot has collaborated with both Drake and Cole (and competed with both in not-so-subtle lyrics more than a decade ago), the Compton, California MC charged, Mother-f__k the big three, n___a, it’s just big me. The lyrics were in direct response to Drake and Cole’s 2023 hit collaboration, “First Person Shooter.”

J. Cole has now responded in the biggest way possible. The Dreamville MC surprise-released Might Delete Later moments ago (April 5). The album contains 12 songs and is nearly 45 minutes long. Notably, “Might Delete Later” is a series Cole has used to promote another album altogether, The Fall Off—which he says is still coming soon, after publicly planning it since 2018. However, the North Carolina MC/producer ups the ante, and released the highest-profile Rap response record in close to a decade, at least.

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“7 Minute Drill,” the Ambrosia For Heads playlist (follow it here), finds Cole going straight at Kendrick, without ever mentioning his name. From the gate, Jermaine says “light work,” as if to imply that Kendrick Lamar is not a stressful matter in his life, and besting him is not a problem.

He uses street tactics as a comparison to Rap, positioning himself on the defense: “It’s a cold world, keep the heat under your seat / I got a phone call, they say that somebody dissin’ / You want some attention, it come with extensions.” As the verse gets underway, Cole accuses K-Dot of a fall from favor. “He still doin’ shows, but fell off like The Simpsons / Your first s__t was classic, your last s__t was tragic / Your second s__t put n___as to sleep, but they gassed it / Your third s__t was massive and that was your prime / I was trailin’ right behind and I just now hit mine / Now I’m front of the line with a comfortable lead / How ironic, soon as I got it, now he want somethin’ with me.” The set of bars imply that good kid, m.A.A.d city was a classic, and that To Pimp A Butterfly was over-hyped. Cole seemingly praises DAMN., but suggests Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers was “tragic”—whether he means content or quality is probably a deliberate point of wonder.

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Cole stands in position, ready for battle: “Well, he caught me at the perfect time, jump up and see / Boy, I got here off of bars, not no controversy / Funny thing about it, b___h, I don’t even want the prestige / F__k the Grammys ’cause them crackers ain’t never done nothin’ for me, h_e / Slugs took my n___a’s soul, drugs took another one / The Rap beef ain’t realer than the s__t I seen in Cumberland / He averagin’ one hard verse like every 30 months or somethin’.” Cole is bragging about his quality and quality during a less prolific period for Kendrick. Notably, the Dreamville artist also asserts that he is from life-or-death circumstances not all that different than the Compton artist. Cole—who has often been perceived as being snubbed by the Recording Academy—refutes the idea that Kendrick’s 17 Grammy Awards mean anything compared to his two. Notably, on “Pricey,” he makes a similar point about white fan-bases following artists.

Cole also makes a powerful New Jack City comparison. “If he wasn’t dissin’, then we wouldn’t be discussin’ ’em / Lord, don’t make me have to smoke this n___a ’cause I f__k with him / But push come to shove, on this mic, I will humble him / I’m Nino with this thing, this that New Jack City meme / Yeah, I’m aimin’ at G-Money, cryin’ tears before I bust at him.”

J. Cole’s New Song Is A Teaser For The Fall Off

A few moments later, Cole reworks a line from the JAY-Z vs. Nas beef, and reiterates his earlier point about consistency. “My text flooded with the hunger for a toxic reply / I’m hesitant, I love my brother but I’m not gonna lie / I’m powered up, for real, that s__t would feel like swattin’ a fly / Four albums in 12 years, n___a, I can divide / S__t, if this is what you want, I’m indulgin’ in violence / Put pictures in my home, aim the chrome at your eyelids / Fly pebbles at your dome, we the Stone Temple Pilots.” The two-beat song is produced by longtime Cole collaborator T-Minus, as well as the second half by longtime Westside Gunn/Griselda affiliate Conductor Williams.

He ends promoting himself, and warning his opponent that he can drop top-shelf music regularly: “My Jack jumpin’ ’bout a rapper makin’ blast from its sounds / Switchin’ sides like the tassle on a cape and a gown / I’m fully loaded, n___a, I can drop two classics right now / Ha, let me chill out, man / The Fall Off on the way.

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Might Delete Later also features Cam’ron, Bas, Young Dro, Central Cee, Gucci Mane, and Kendrick Lamar’s former TDE label-mate and Black Hippy cohort Ab-Soul. On “Ready 24,” Cole makes a line about no doctor being able to save other rappers—another possible dig at the Dre affiliate. In the past, Ab-Soul and Kendrick have united over Rap beefs—including Jay Electronica.

“7 Minute Drill” and Future, Metro, and Kendrick’s “Like That” are currently the first two songs on the AFH playlist (follow it here). It also currently features other songs from Might Delete Later, Future & Metro’s WE DON’T TRUST YOU, and Conductor Williams and Conway The Machine’s collaborative album, along with new music by Roc Marciano, Spice 1, Buddy, DJ Premier & Snoop Dogg, and more.