American artiste, Jermaine Lamarr Cole, commonly known as J Cole, released a surprise single on Wednesday, titled “Snow on tha Bluff” signalling his first release for the year. The self-produced, politically-heavy song speaks a lot on the current events in America; regarding racial discrimination and police brutality etc.
However, his first verse on the track is culpable for raising major controversy. The continuous verse is rumoured to be a directed response to a female artist named Fatimah Nyeema Warner professionally known as Noname.
Noname is a Black American rapper who, a while back, aired criticism towards rappers; J Cole and Kendrick Lamar on Twitter. She had tweeted, probing Cole & Kendrick for not speaking up after the tragic murder of George Floyd. She noted that these artistes claim to be singing in respect to the Black American plight, yet they don’t seem to be making any definite actions in fighting the current situation.
So for anyone who’s confused as to why J. Cole is getting backlash;
Rapper Noname tweeted this criticizing Cole & Kendrick for not speaking up after the George Floyd situation. Cole responded on this new track defending himself, and now people are mad at him for it.. pic.twitter.com/vOErHzy5y0
— BlackySpeakz (@BlackySpeakz) June 17, 2020
In J Cole’s verse, he expresses how he felt about the criticism he received with statements like
“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’?”
He however, declares towards the end of the song that he realised he is not doing enough and needs to do better. This did not stop people from pointedly debating his lyrics and many believed that he was condescending to the Black female artiste.
some of you have this obsession with humbling black women and making us feel small (especially dark skinned black women) and I don’t think I’ll ever ever forget how that feels
— Naira Banks (@jackieaina) June 17, 2020
But with a black woman it’s different. Her ‘tone’ is condescending. She has ‘twitter fingers’. ‘All she is doing is tweeting’. ‘It’s not that deep’. ‘You’re tryna cancel Cole ?’
Don’t people see the problem lmao?? https://t.co/xxY5vz05Df
— ☀️ (@_LXRE__) June 17, 2020
In light of the tragic killing and assault of a 19-year-old activist, Toyin Salau, many expressed that J Cole was wrong to have made statements like this, stressing that this is a time where Black women needed solidarity and support.
J. Cole ain’t released a single since June 2019 and in the middle of a movement to dismantle white supremacy he returns with a song trying to check a black woman on her tone as she fights for liberation. Niggas are hopeless.
— doj(a) vs. doj(er) (@RealSimbalism) June 17, 2020
timing is the only problem I see with anything Cole said
— Kwasi the Stoned Loner (@kwasibonaparte) June 17, 2020
Many Nigerian feminists hopped on the conversation labelling J Cole a misogynist. They claim it is no surprise that he would speak to a black woman in such a manner; referencing his past lyrics as proof of similar actions.
“Your hair and your nails just as phony as your smile/ Fake eyelashes, you drew your eyebrows/ It make a brother ask, do you pride yourself?/…Rich niggas fuck you and broke niggas beat you…”
J Cole has lyrics like this and you’re asking me how he’s a misogynist?????
— Doreen Uloma N. (@ulomareen) June 17, 2020
May I remind you that J Cole went to college.
Actually paid for an education and still comes to ask women to do free labour for men, instead of just using/sharing his alumni login for JSTOR.
— Aya Amazon link in bio 📚 (@Okornore) June 17, 2020
women: Cole needs to do better and read the room.
men: why are you cancelling my nigga Cole 😭😭😭😭
— tony (@afadjato) June 17, 2020
Others strongly resisted this stance, stating that things were blown out of proportion. They claimed that J Cole was only expressing himself through his art and that many just chose to misunderstand him. They also referred to the fact that Cole had protested racial injustice in his hometown; stating that Noname had no right to criticise him since he was out there on the streets.
J Cole and Kendrick literally hit the streets to join protesters amid of a pandemic, but women are angry they didnt tweet about BLM🤣are you really mad at a tweet or you need a ways to get successful men canceled. Theres an ongoing assault on men rather than the actual problems.
— Sipho (@Sho_Grootman) June 17, 2020
This J. Cole song isn't just about the woman in question, it's about everyone who acts the way he described. This dragging was much needed. Much needed. Gives me endorphins.
— Thr (@FishBowlOfWine) June 17, 2020
That's the problem with J. Cole…. Making deep yet simple music and expecting this semi retarded generation to grasp it. 🤦🏽♂️
— Ferdy…. 🐅 (@_The_Immortal) June 17, 2020
Y'all know damn well J Cole was out here protesting without saying shit. He not going there for publicity. HE GOING THERE TO MAKE A CHANGE. DONT COME FOR HIM BECAUSE YALL CANT pic.twitter.com/3ypplQRMXQ
— IG:tweet_threads (@Tweet_thread) June 17, 2020
Some called for a peaceful resolution of all arguments adding that J Cole was initially affronted by Noname’s statement but soon realised his errors and there was nothing wrong in what either party had said.
This song is literally inspired by Noname's activism. Cole is inspired by Noname's activism to look into himself and figure out if he is really doing enough for the movement. I really wish people would just slow down and process stuff before jumping to conclusions.
— firstnamecruella (@spicelover2) June 17, 2020
Ironically, Cole and Noname had collaborated on a 2015 song titled “Warm Enough” on The Social Experiment.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks