Cole found himself involved in some unusual controversy after releasing a song he titled, “Snow On Tha Bluff.”
In it, he discussed an unnamed activist. While he acknowledged her intelligence and advocacy, he wrote, “it’s something about the queen tone that’s bothering me. …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 attacking the very same n*ggas that really do need. The shit that you saying? Instead of conveying you holier, come help us get us up to speed.”
Given Noname’s entire book club dedicated to teaching Black people about social justice issues and liberation, it seemed that J. Cole was tone policing unnecessarily. And given the fact that Noname is one of the few artists actually providing tangible resources to and for Black people, it was strange that he decided to speak about her tone in the midst of the social uprising we’re currently experiencing right now.
It was unfortunate. To say the least.
But last night, Noname responded to Cole with a song of her own: “Song 33.”
From the onset of the song, you already know what it’s about.
“I saw a demon on my shoulder
It’s looking like patriarchy.”
Throughout the song Noname addressed not only J. Cole’s patriarchy but the issue at large within the Black community. She wrote about the death of 19-year-old activist Oluwatoyin Salau, at the hands of an older Black man and the silence of Black men in response.
Then, addressing Cole specifically, she wrote, “I guess the ego hurt now. It’s time to go to work. Wow. Look at him go. He really bout to write about me when the world is in smokes?…”
And in my favorite line, “Little did I know all my reading would be a bother.”
You can check out the full lyrics and listen to the song below.