Who Is J. Cole Taking Shots At On ‘1985’?

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J. Cole’s new album K.O.D. is out and it’s already making waves in the online discussion thanks to its closer, “1985 (Intro To ‘The Fall Off’).” The song finds Cole lecturing a younger rapper about the impact his music may be having on his impressionable fans. Now, listeners are frantically digging to discover which rapper he’s referring to — if he is indeed speaking to a specific rapper directly.

The trouble is, of course, that his description of his young antagonist fits pretty much any “Lil” rapper who’s blown up on Soundcloud lately, from Lil Uzi Vert to Lil Skies to Lil Pump to Tekashi 69 to Lil Peep to Lil Xan, most of whom have been deluged with criticism over everything from declining to rap over DJ Premier beats to calling Tupac’s music “boring.” Cole describes his target as “tatted from your face to your heels,” which describes just about all of the above, some notoriously so.

However, there’s a critical clue early in the verse, where J. Cole admits “I heard one of em’ diss me, I’m surprised,” which may narrow down the search considerably. Of all the rappers above, only one has openly dissed Cole musically; Lil Pump is credited with an unreleased track titled, “F*ck J. Cole.” It’s less of a song than a goofball musical experiment that probably wasn’t supposed to ever actually see the light of day. It’s only around 30 seconds long, during which Pump simply repeats the refrain of “f*ck J. Cole” eight times, calls him both a “b*tch ass n—-” and an “ugly ass n—-” on the bridge and concludes “I ain’t ever f*cked with J. Cole. F*ck that pussy ass n—-.”

So, it seems understandable that Cole himself would not only take issue but also take a few shots on “1985.” From slapping down Pump with a backhanded rebuke (“I’m hoping for your sake that you ain’t dumb as you look”) to predicting the ignominious end of the fuschia-haired rapper’s career (“In five years you gon’ be on Love & Hip-Hop“), Cole goes from concerned elder to bully at the speed of light, reminding the boisterous young Soundcloud spitter that they’re not really in the same weight class when it comes to career accolades and lyricism, with Cole a decade in and Pump just starting out.

We’ll see if Pump really does end up on Love & Hip-Hop, but for now, he seems to be on the come up in a big way, and even without a direct mention by name, this may be just the thing that raises his profile among fans of both. Check out “1985” below. K.O.D. is available now through Cole’s own Dreamville Records. Read our review here.