J. Cole is 33. Lil Pump is 17. In hip-hop, that age difference might as well be a chasm as big as the Grand Canyon. Today (April 20), J. Cole dropped his fifth studio album, KOD. The project finds Cole taking a satirical look at modern hip-hop and the drugs, money, and materialism he feels fuels it. "1985 - Intro To 'The Fall Off'" is one of the more pointed and antagonistic tracks, which finds the Fayetteville MC targeting an unnamed rapper who fans have determined is Lil Pump or maybe Smokepurpp.
During the track, J. Cole takes various pointed jabs. The beginning of his verse starts with the observation, "I'm fuckin' with your funky lil' rap name / I hear your music and I know that rap's changed / A bunch of folks would say that that's a bad thing / 'Cause everything's commercial and it's pop now."
Pump and Purpp have made it their mission to mess with J. Cole in a variety of ways. In April 2017, a song titled "Fuck J. Cole," reportedly by Lil Pump made its way to the internet. Earlier this week, Smokepurpp joked that he had a standout feature on Cole's album. In a January interview with Montreality, Smokepurpp referenced his trolling of the North Carolina rapper.
"Nowadays everything is kind of a troll," Purpp said. "So people do know that [J. Cole tweets] its trolling, but if you don’t like we don’t care. Pump doesn’t care."
Cole's indictment of rap's new generation speaks to some of Purpp's assessment of the "OG-versus-new rapper" debate. Toward the middle of his verse the bars get more acidic as he raps, "They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill / They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels / And somewhere deep down, fuck it, I gotta keep it real / They wanna be black and think your song is how it feels."
"1985" isn't the first time Cole has been critical of the rap landscape. On "Everybody Dies" many thought he took aim at Kanye, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Yachty. With lines like, "Bunch of words and ain't sayin' shit, I hate these rappers / Especially the amateur eight week rappers / Lil' whatever – just another short bus rapper," it isn't hard to see why.
The recipient of Cole's message may not be confirmed by the rapper. However, the message for the hip-hop community is coming through loud and clear.