To The J. Cole Hater
To the J Cole Hater,
Once, I recall just sitting in my living room, smoking and listening to music when a friend texts and asks to come through. I oblige because, sometimes, against my better judgement, I indulge in socialization. My friend [named redacted] comes by and brings along another old friend of mine that I never see, the enigmatic “Crispy” as well as a complete stranger I’ve never met. Sure, I am elated to see Crispy, but this stranger friend of his, not so much. But honestly he’s a negro and so I welcome him into my house with slightly open arms.
Somehow, the topic of best rapper alive comes up because I used to think I was a rapper but I’m not, anyways, the conversation reaches a Drake versus Kendrick versus Cole point and immediately everyone in the room is bashing J. Cole. The adjectives range from “corny” to “boring” and eventually I presume because my chagrin is conspicuous and amusing to them, they all start to downright insult one of the greatest rappers alive.
So here I am, in lieu of the quiet night relaxing and listening to Cole’s music, screaming out support for Jermaine, like a crazy person.
Listen, to contour this essay, I want to be the first to say that J Cole is not perfect. He is not Kendrick. He can sometimes put out poor verses but at his best, at his lyrical peak, he is inspiring, culturally cognizant, philosophically poignant and also just technically amazing. Just listen to his verse on “a lot”. “A Tale of 2 Citiez” is another wonderful case study on the sort of greatness I’m talking about. It is a hit but also a nuanced expression of wealth and ambitious in the black community. Unfortunately, it is also basically a better version of two songs “Rich Niggaz” and “Niggaz Know”, the latter of which is honestly trash (you can’t rhyme nigga with nigga that many times, Jermaine, you can’t.) So, this complex critique of J. Cole contains some cognitive dissonance. I KNOW he can underperform sometimes but I just feel like the peaks and highs within his body of work overweigh the lows and disappointments.
Anyways, back to the initializing anecdote, the story of the J Cole Hater friend of a friend who walked into my house and started shitting on a great rapper. I cannot help but feel apologetic for the aggressive tone I took in debating. I sound like a crazy person but this is a hill I die on. Yet I say, to the casual and or professional J Cole hater, fine, whatever, act like his influence on music and culture is not potent. Act like the ‘Revenge of the Dreamers’ sessions from a months ago where he brought together so many young and developing artists wasn’t good for our communities and music in general. Act like he isn’t one of the greatest. It’s fine, it really is. Just don’t come to my house to do that shit.