J. Cole takes aim and fires, but who are his targets? That’s the question fans are asking after the release of “False Prophets” and “Everybody Dies” from the North Carolina MC’s TIDAL documentary Eyez and presumably off his forthcoming album 4 Your Eyez Only.
So far, fans are speculating that “False Prophets” is, at least in part, about Kanye West, with lyrics about a “star” who “caught our hearts” but is now “fallin’ apart.” “When he tell us he a genius but it’s clearer lately,” raps Cole. “It’s been hard for him to look into the mirror lately / There was a time when this ni**a was my hero, maybe / That’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take.” The “hearts” reference has been seen as a nod to 808s & Heartbreak while his “falling apart” quote could be a possible prediction or reflection of Yeezy’s recent hospitalization.
Some have called that a diss aimed at West, particularly because he ends the verse by saying he will “never top” his old material. However, listeners have suggested that it’s merely a moment of tough love and disappointment as he acknowledges West might be “crying out for help.”
Within that same verse, fans are wondering if Drake might be another possible target. Here, Young Jermaine adds: “When come to find out these ni**as don’t even write their shit / Hear some new style bubbling up, then they bite that shit.” Of course, Drizzy has been criticized for both of those things since ghostwriting allegations surfaced last year and with “Hotline Bling’s” likeness to D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha,” among other similar instances of alleged wave-riding.
More speculation surrounds “False Prophets” and its second verse. It’s about a rapper who “wants to win bad” but claims “ni**as don’t fuck with him” despite his fans and major platform. “You too anxious livin’ life,” raps Cole. “Always worried about the critics.” Some speculate that this could be about Wale, who often goes on tirades about critical perception.
But that’s not all. “Everybody Dies” is also filled with subliminal bars aimed at MCs. “I hate these rappers,” spits Cole. “Especially the amateur-eight-week rappers / Lil Whatever, just another short-bus rapper / Fake drug dealers turned tour-bus trappers.” Many have surmised that Cole was rhyming about Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty on this verse.
Of course, Lil Boat made waves when fans found an old 2011 tweet in which he wrote “Fuck J. Cole.” “I don’t listen to J.Cole, but I have nothing against J.Cole,” Yachty would later tell 106 KMEL. “I was young, I was talking shit, trolling. I never thought I was gonna be a rapper.” Could this be Cole’s clap back?
While the rumor mill will continue, fans can decide for themselves. Listen to both tracks in the Eyez doc and get ready for 4 Your Eyez Only on Dec. 9.