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Rising Above: Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and the Illusionary Beef



Kendrick Lamar J. Cole Beef
J. Cole. Image source: Getty Images.

Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are two of the most gifted Hip Hop artists in the industry. Both have risen from a place of unparalleled authenticity and realness. 

But when two alphas are pitted against each other, uncharacteristic things sometimes happen. This is the case with the most recent viral illusionary beef between Lamar and Cole. However, after releasing his comeback, J. Cole put out the fire by apologizing to Kendrick Lamar for how he responded in verse.

Dynamics Of Rap Battles In Hip Hop Culture

Rap battles and diss tracks have long been a part of Hip Hop. At times, the lyrical back and forth can become heated, leaving some artists with unintended consequences. In battle, people can lose sight of their purpose to appear to outperform one another. This aptly summarizes Cole and Lamar’s recent quasi-lyrical tug of war.

Sparks Ignited: The Genesis

The release of “First Shooter” is believed to have sparked this feud. Reportedly, Kendrick Lamar felt a way about his name being dropped on the track. The verse in which Lamar’s name was mentioned states,

“Love when they argue the hardest MC.” Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me? We the big three like we started a league, but right now, I feel like Muhammad Ali.”

Lamar responded to the verse with a guest verse on the collaborative album “We Do Not Trust You.” Lamar’s retort went like this:

“Ah, yeah, huh, yeah, get up with me F***k sneak dissin’, first-person shooter, I hope they came with three switches. Mother**** the big three, nigga, it’s just big me Nigga, bum.”

 And reading that leaves little doubt that those lyrics were laced with arsenic and meant to decimate.

Unexpected Turn: Cole Apologizes

Cole did not let it go. In “7-Minute Drill,” Jermaine Cole responded with what some consider a tepid response.” Whether it was lightweight or not is at the discretion of the listener. But everyone got the intent. In general, a battle usually escalates into increasingly creative ways to retaliate. This battle was over before it began. Why?

Cole has been publicly apologizing for what he said, which is one reason. According to the artist, the response “diss track” did not sit well with him. Besides, there has not been much strife between the two throughout their careers.

According to Entertainment Weekly, “While Drake and Lamar have been trading shots for years, Lamar and Cole have been rather cordial, save for a boast from Big Sean’s 2013 song ‘Control.”

Cole Moves From Hype To Authenticity

So, why did this begin in the first place? When the hype becomes too real, people lose sight of their true selves. Cole openly apologized after realizing that what he said on the diss track did not accurately reflect who he was.

According to Entertainment Weekly, J. Cole spoke of his regret for downplaying Lamar’s work. He apologized once more for his folly and stated that he wanted to return to his true path.

Cole: Choosing Integrity Over Ego

Some may be disappointed that Cole chose this route. The artist did what was necessary for him to be okay with what he put out. Character and authenticity go a long way toward earning true respect. Fame and titles come and go. There will always be someone who comes along to take the mantle. The real question is: What does an artist want to be remembered for? As long as an artist prioritizes talent, skill, focus, and work ethic, legacy becomes paramount. That means more than just a temporary title. Kudos to Jermaine Cole for acting honorably.

Written by Renae Richardson 

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