UPDATE: Noname responds with her own new song.
Since the country broke out into nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, J. Cole got involved by hitting the streets to protest in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and a five-year-old clip of Cole destroying the "good cop" myth has been going viral. Cole also addressed a lot of what's going on right now in his newly-released song "Snow On Tha Bluff," but he quickly came under fire for appearing to be taking shots at fellow rapper Noname's brand of activism and tone-policing her. The lyric in question reads in part:
My IQ is average, there's a young lady out there, she way smarter than me
I scrolled through her timeline in these wild times, and I started to read
She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police
She mad at my niggas, she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve
She mad at the celebrities, lowkey I be thinkin' she talkin' 'bout me
Now I ain't no dummy to think I'm above criticism
So when I see something that's valid, I listen
But shit, it's something about the queen tone that's botherin' me
Later in the song, he rapped, "Just 'cause you woke and I'm not, that shit ain't no reason to talk like you better than me/How you gon' lead, when you attackin' the very same niggas that really do need the shit that you sayin'?"
Many fans speculated that Noname was indeed the person Cole was referring to, and Pitchfork reports that Noname tweeted "QUEEN TONE!!!!!!" after the song came out (but since deleted the tweet). In May, Noname had tweeted, "Poor black folks all over the country are putting their bodies on the line in protest for our collective safety and y’all favorite top selling rappers not even willing to put a tweet up. niggas whole discographies be about black plight and they no where to be found."
This morning, Cole confirmed that he was indeed talking about Noname. He wrote:
Morning. I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night.
Right or wrong I can’t say, but I can say it was honest.
Some assume to know who the song is about. That’s fine with me, it’s not my job to tell anybody what to think or feel about the work. I accept all conversation and criticisms. But let me use this moment to say this.
Follow @noname. I love and honor her as a leader in these times. She has done and is doing the reading and the listening and the learning on the path that she truly believes is the correct one for our people. Meanwhile a nigga like me just be rapping.
I haven’t done a lot of reading and I don’t feel well equipped as a leader in these times. But I do a lot of thinking. And I appreciate her and others like her because they challenge my beliefs and I feel that in these times that’s important.
We may not agree with each other but we gotta be gentle with each other. ✌🏿
hasn't responded to Cole's new tweets yet, but stay tuned for any possible updates. Update: Noname responds with her own new song.
Update: Chance The Rapper has given his opinion:
Earl Sweatshirt too:
Open Mike Eagle also weighed in: