J. Cole and Burna Boy

Scott Legato / Contributor via Getty Images and Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor via Getty Images

J. Cole Likens Himself And Burna Boy To Shaq And Kobe Bryant On "Thanks"

  /  08.25.2023

Today (Aug. 25), Burna Boy released his seventh studio album, I Told Them… Among the notable contributors, J. Cole stood out after he compared the pair’s collaboration to an iconic NBA duo.

On “Thanks,” the North Carolina native likened his joint effort with Burna to the legendary combination of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Notably, the dynamic force drove the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. The two players are widely recognized as one of the greatest duos in basketball history despite their feuds.

In the song, Cole rapped, “Matrimony, feelin’ like Axel Foley. In Beverly Hills, coppin’ whatever I feel. Cole and Burna, Shaq and Kobe. Winnin’ a ring, then we gon’ repeat and three-peat. Them nerds hate, they seat geeks. They peepin’ us on the low, we like the cheat sheet.”

Listen to the record below.

Burna’s collaboration with Cole came about in a memorable fashion. The Nigerian singer spoke about it during his appearance on Complex‘s “360 with Speedy.” He revealed, “I can’t really remember everything about that day because it was such a lit day, but somehow someone called someone, and someone called someone… We ended up in the studio. The rest is history. It was a crazy day. There was a bunch of basketball players in the studio.”

In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the “Last Last” hitmaker also expressed his admiration for Cole. “The truth is often hidden, but when you come across it, and you are a person of truth yourself, you can’t help but recognize it. You know what I mean? That’s really the story of me and J Cole. It’s like, I recognize it,” he explained.

I Told Them… arrived after 2022’s Love, Damini, which boasted standout cuts like “It’s Plenty” and the Ed Sheeran-assisted “For My Hand.” On the other hand, Burna’s newest LP contained 15 tracks with guest appearances from other major artists such as 21 Savage, Dave, GZA, RZA, and Seyi Vibez.


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