J. Cole released a song called “Snow on tha Bluff” on Tuesday, June 16, and it’s caused a firestorm of controversy that involves Chance the Rapper and Noname, a female rapper and activist from Chicago.
Weeks before the song was released, Noname called out celebrities she feels have been quiet on social media during the continued protests against racism.
“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,” tweeted Noname in May. “N—-s whole discographies be about Black plight and they nowhere to be found.”
Many believe she was referring to Cole and Kendrick Lamar, who are known not to use social media much and have received criticism for staying silent in those platforms over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Both reportedly have participated in protests over their deaths, Lamar doing so in his hometown of Compton, California, and Cole protesting in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
On “Snow on tha Bluff,” Cole addressed the sweeping protests and rapped about reading through a woman’s social media timeline. Many believed the woman he was referencing is Noname.
“N—–s be thinking I’m deep / Intelligent fooled by college degree / My IQ is average / There’s a young lady out there she way smarter than me / I scrolled through her timeline in these wild times and I started to read / She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police / She mad my n—–, she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve / She mad at the celebrities, low key I’m assuming she talking ’bout me, / Now I ain’t no dummy to think I’m above criticism / So when I see something that’s valid, I listen / But s–t, it something about the queen tone that’s bothering me,” Cole rapped.
He was accused of misogyny by some and being arrogant by others.
“Cole thought he was standing up for the average person but really just told women to pipe down and stop acting holier than thou and ‘treat people like children’ is this dude joking???” someone tweeted on Tuesday.
Among the North Carolina rapper’s critics was Chance The Rapper, who wrote, “Yet another L for men masking patriarchy and gaslighting as contructive criticism.”
Some sided with Chance, but others called him a hypocrite for not having the same level of criticism for his friend and collaborator Kanye West.
Calls for West to be canceled came after he began supporting Donald Trump and making off-the-wall statements like Black people made a choice to be slaves.
Chance has defended West in the past and once apologized for doing so. The apology came after Chance tweeted, “Black people don’t have to be democrats,” which is a position West has taken repeatedly. Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. thanked Chance for his message on Twitter afterward.
“Where was this energy when Kanye said ‘slavery was a choice.’ You was telling Black people they don’t have to be Democrats. All the f–k s–t Kanye has done, I have NEVER seen you state he was wrong in public,” one person tweeted.
“Chance the Rapper willing to go to bat for Noname, Gives Kanye a pass for the Trump Fiasco…yeah ok,” a second person tweeted.
Chance sent another tweet after he was criticized for coming down on Cole, a message that has since been deleted.
“They both my peoples but only one of them put out a whole song talking about how the other needs to reconsider their tone and attitude in order to save the world,” wrote Chance. “It’s not constructive and undermines all the work Noname has done. It’s not BWs job to spoon feed us. We grown.”
Before the “Coloring Book” rapper shared his feelings about “Snow on tha Bluff,” Cole responded to the backlash in several tweets.
“I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night,” he wrote on Wednesday. “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. I accept all conversation and criticisms. But let me use this moment to say this.”
Cole continued, “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—- like me just be rapping.”
Another tweet from Cole read, “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.”