j. Cole performs wearing bob Marley t-shirt
Getty Images / Tabatha Fireman

Yesterday, J. Cole surprised fans by dropping a new song, “Snow on tha Bluff,” which is his first lead single this year. The track addresses activism and social media amid the ongoing anti-racism movement.

In the song, Cole describes scrolling through someone’s timeline. “She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police / She mad at my n*ggas, she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve / She mad at the celebrities, low key I be thinkin she talking bout me.” He later adds, “But shit, it’s something about the queen tone that’s bothering me.”

Fans have speculated that he’s referencing Noname, who called out big-name rappers for their silence following the murder of George Floyd. In May, the Chicago rapper shared on Twitter: “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.”

Following the song’s release yesterday, Noname tweeted and deleted “QUEEN TONE!” in response. Since then, Cole himself has taken to Twitter to double down on his “Snow on tha Bluff” lyrics and directly address Noname.

“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,” he tweeted before adding, “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,” Cole continued. “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,” he concluded. “We may not agree with each other but we gotta be gentle with each other.”

“Snow on tha Bluff” is expected to feature on J. Cole’s upcoming album The Fall Off, which has no release date yet. Stream the track below.

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Words by Sarah Osei
Staff Writer