J. Cole unveiled his new track, “Middle Child”, Wednesday night and it didn’t take long for fans to read into the possible meanings of his lyrics.
The single, produced by T-Minus, includes direct shout-outs to 21 Savage, Kodak Black, and Drake.
However, many fans believe Cole made an indirect reference to another rapper in the track — Kanye West — and unlike the shout-outs above, this one was not framed in a positive light.
“But I’d never beef with a n***a for nothin’ / If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon’ be legit / It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame / It won’t be ’cause my s**t ain’t sellin’ the same,” Cole raps, in what some listeners believe is a reference to the Drake/West beef.
“It won’t be to sell you my latest lil’ sneakers,” the Grammy-nominated rapper continues. “It won’t be ’cause some n***a slid in my lane.”
Cole appears to be suggesting the “I Love It” rapper stirred up drama with Drake for publicity and to sell more music and Yeezy sneakers. While Cole himself hasn’t confirmed this, he does reference Drake right before his alleged diss to West.
“This watch came from Drizzy, he gave me a gift / Back when the rap game was prayin’ like this / To act like two legends cannot co-exist.”
It’s not the first time fans have accused Cole of sneak-dissing West in one of his songs. In his 2016 track, “False Prophets”, the rapper alluded to a former hero who had fallen from grace.
“I believed him when he said his s**t was purer / And he the type of n***a swear he real but all around him’s fake / The women, the d**k-riders, you know, the yes men / Nobody with the balls to say somethin’ to contest him,” Cole rapped in a verse many took as a shot toward West.
In May last year, after “Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne tha God said West believes Cole is always dissing him in his records, the “Gold Digger” hitmaker shared a screenshot of a four-minute phone call with Cole, captioning it, “we got love.”
Check out more of the reaction to Cole’s new track below.