Much of the track saw the North Carolina artist rapping about an unnamed woman who is spending her time criticising a number of targets including capitalists, the police and celebrities, with Cole saying “I’m assuming she talking ’bout me“.
He continues: “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’?/ Instead of conveying you holier, come help get us up to speed“.
It is widely assumed that the track is referring to the Chicago rapper, activist and book club organiser Noname, who said in a tweet yesterday: “QUEEN TONE”.
J. Cole’s rumoured shots/criticisms on rapper Noname… pic.twitter.com/iX1gGxyHRI
— All Love Hip Hop (@AllLoveHipHop) June 17, 2020
The now-deleted tweet is a reference to Cole’s line in the new single: “It’s something about the queen tone that’s botherin’ me“.
Cole received backlash from some listeners for his comments about Noname. “Stop expecting Black women + femmes to spell shit out for y’all bc you don’t wanna google,” said one Twitter user.
“Black women are getting harassed, assaulted and murdered. We’ve seen it in this week alone. And he thought it was a good time to criticize a Black woman for her tone? What’s going on?” said another.
Imma say this. Stop expecting Black women + femmes to spell shit out for y’all bc you don’t wanna google. Jermaine placates her and tells her to treat y’all niggas like children and explain shit to you when you’re whole ass adults. That’s the WHOLE POINT.
— negro carrie bradshaw (@abitchisback1) June 17, 2020
I don't know who J. Cole is talking about in his new song. But here's what I do know: Black women are getting harassed, assaulted, and murdered. We've seen it in this week alone.
And he thought it was a good time to criticize a Black woman for her tone? What's going on?
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) June 17, 2020
Morning. I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night.
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) June 17, 2020
Now, Cole has responded saying: “I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night.”
He continued: “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.”
Cole also asked his followers to follow Noname on Twitter. “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 n*gga like me just be rapping,” he said.
He then added: “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.”
Meanwhile, Cole has promised a new studio album ‘Fall Off’ to appear at some point in 2020.