J. Cole, the cover artist for the latest issue of Billboard, has made no secret of his admiration for rap icon Nas, even going so far as naming a song from his 2013 sophomore album “Let Nas Down” in reaction to Nas’ disappointment in some of his musical choices. Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot as Cole expresses his own disappointment in Nas’ actions — namely, the recent accusations of abuse against the elder rapper from his ex-wife, “Bossy” singer Kelis.
“It feels weird because I f*ck with Nas, but I just have to be honest,” Cole admitted. ” I came up seeing too much f*cked-up sh*t for that to be acceptable. I don’t care who it is. I don’t f*ck with people abusing women, and I don’t f*ck with people not taking care of their kids.” When asked if he foresaw any legitimacy to so-called “cancel culture” which has supposedly claimed the careers of other accused abusers, Cole gave a measured response:
That’s tough because we’re talking about black women. If it was a white woman involved with these allegations, then sadly — I’m realizing as I’m talking to you — maybe people wouldn’t cancel them just as quick, but labels would be forced to cancel, because white outrage is way more powerful than Black outrage, unfortunately. When white people start getting outraged about this type of sh*t, then maybe something will happen.
Intriguingly, though, J. Cole had previously tweeted in praise of accused abuser XXXtentacion as well as admitting a fascination with Tekashi 69, both of whom had been dealing with the legal ramifications of mistreatment of women in court (XXXtentacion was accused of battering his then-pregnant ex girlfriend, while Tekashi faces charges of use of a minor in a sexual performance for a video he posted of an associate having sex with a then-13-year-old).
Cole addressed this incongruity in the interview, saying: “When I found out [about the abuse allegations against XXXtentacion], my first response was, ‘Man, I hope maybe one day I’ll get a chance to talk to this kid and figure out if there’s any place that I can help.’ Because anybody who would do the sh*t that he did…. Hurt people hurt people. I’ve walked through prisons and talked to these dudes who got life. They took someone’s life at 16 or 17 years old. You haven’t had the chance to process your trauma at that age. I’ma be sympathetic to a kid who has clearly been through so much fucked-up shit that he inflicted this on someone else.”
And while he’s right — hurt people hurt people, and these young rappers would get far more out of therapy than being “canceled” — his responses may give fans pause when considering his previous statements against his new stance on Nas. Meanwhile, Nas himself denied the allegations against him in a series of lengthy posts on Instagram, which you can read below.