J. Cole is being called out by some of his fans after he shared some kind words about the new generation of rappers.
The North Carolina native was a guest on the latest episode of Lil Yachty‘s A Safe Place podcast, where the pair got into the prior narrative of Cole hating on new rappers.
The chatter was at its peak in 2016 when he dropped the song “Everybody Dies,” where he took aim at rappers using “Lil” in their stage names on the track, specifically with the following bars: “Especially the amateur eight-week rappers, Lil’ whatever/ Just another short bus rapper.”
However, Cole has since changed his tune and embraced the new generation, and further spoke to that in his conversation with Yachty. He first explained that “Everybody Dies” wasn’t just a shot at the new generation but instead, all of the rappers in every generation.
“That wasn’t [just] the new generation,” he said. “That was everybody. My generation, that generation, the older generation. There’s a, ‘Will you take a break please?’ [line in there.] Like, ‘N-gga, how long you been doing that shit for?’ At that time it was that, but I understand how it was perceived that way and how that added to the narrative.”
He went on to explain how he once had to check himself back in the late 2000s when snap music was at its peak, noting how he was trying to hate on Soulja Boy before realizing not only did he enjoy the music, but those types of artists clearly know how to be successful.
“[I told myself], ‘What you’d be better off doing is you need to look at a Soulja Boy, you need to look at a such-and-such, whoever was out at that time – might have been snap music at that time,” he said. “What you need to do is you’d be better off realizing that these dudes is talented and they understand something that you don’t understand and they figured something out.’ And bruh I swear to God I switched my mindset and I just turned from a hater as a youngin to just an appreciator.
He continued: “And my knee jerk reaction to that music [in 2016] was the same. I’m once again grateful because it’s the second time that happened in my life I had to have a conversation with myself like, ‘N-gga, you are hating! You not embracing. It’s the same thing you had to go through when you was a kid with snap music.’ [So I asked myself], ‘What is amazing about these dudes?’ and I switched my mindset.”
He concluded: “I bring it all back to say I genuinely hear what you just played and when I hear that, I’m genuinely looking at you like, bro, there’s no part of me that’s hearing this that’s embarrassed or cringing like, ‘This is trash.’ I’m listening to this shit like, n-gga you was clearly talented and in a bag. Although it may not have applied to an André 3000 standard or a Reasonable Doubt standard, [but] because I learned to embrace and had to switch my mindset again around that era, I genuinely started enjoying what y’all was doing.”
Reactions from fans in an Akademiks repost weren’t all in agreement, however, with many calling him out for condoning what they feel is “trash.”
“I’m sorry, but we need to stop making excuses to condone the garage caliber of music that a lot of young artist get popular from,” one person wrote. “This is not a reflection of the generation or trending styles of embraced music, but simply because it has become easier to release music. These rappers care nothing about being musicians or artistic but rather getting attention. Stop condoning these gimmicks!!”
A second person said: “I like Jcole, but he’s forcing himself to like something he don’t. Just be real and stand on it,” while another added: “Cole folded now he fuck with the mumble rappers he used to diss smh.”
However, there were some positive reactions as well. “J Cole is a true stand up guy !” one person wrote, while another said: “This should be the vibe with old heads it’s too much hating going around.”
Meanwhile, while he’s embracing the new generation, J. Cole still looks to more established acts as his Mount Rushmore of rappers.
“I got a whole list of people who are the reason why I’m here — my north stars that I look up to. Obviously, ‘Pac. Jay, Nas, Eminem, André 3000, Lil Wayne. And these are obviously the big bullets,” he said.
“I had Royce the 5’9″ moments. I had Canibus moments. I had Boom Boom moments. But like in terms of the people that fueled my ambition. That showed me what was really possible. Like the first names I named, those are the highest ones. So those were the people where I was like, ‘Yo, I’m tryna get up there.’ In terms of skill, in terms of success, all of that they fueled it.”