AceShowbiz - J. Cole has expressed his "love" and respect for fellow rapper Noname as a "leader" in the Black Lives Matter movement after appearing to criticise her in a new song.
"Snow on Tha Bluff" dropped late on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, and on the track, he seemingly addresses Noname for recently calling out her peers over their social media silence following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minnesota last month, May 2020.
"She mad at the celebrities, low key I be thinkin' she talking bout me," he raps, later adding, "But s**t, it's something about the queen tone that's botherin' me." Cole goes on to claim he isn't educated enough to be as outspoken about the Black Lives Matter campaign as some think he should be, and suggests those wanting to share their knowledge "treat people like children" so they can better understand.
The lyrics sparked a backlash online, but he returned to Twitter on Wednesday to defend his track - while also addressing speculation his verses were about Noname.
"I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night," he declared. "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."
The "Lights Out" hitmaker, who attended a recent BLM rally in his native North Carolina, then encouraged his fans to "follow Noname," explaining he holds no ill will against her and her message. "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," Cole continued.
"Meanwhile a n**ga 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. We may not agree with each other but we gotta be gentle with each other."
Other hip-hop stars have since weighed in on the controversy, with Chamillionaire reminding fans "J. Cole isn't your enemy" while Chance the Rapper argued Cole was wrong to turn the disagreement into a song.
"Yet another L (loss) for men masking patriarchy and gaslighting as constructive criticism," he tweeted.
Responding to a fan's comment suggesting Chance was taking the dispute between his former collaborators too far, he replied, "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. It's not constructive and undermines all the work Noname has done. It's not BWs (black women's) job to spoon feed us. We grown (sic)."