Within hours of J. Cole releasing his new song, “Snow On Tha Bluff,” many fans were convinced that the song referred to Chicago rapper Noname.
In the lyrics, Cole refers to “a young lady out there, she way smarter than me” who tweets often about sociopolitical issues such as capitalism and police brutality but whose tone “bothers” him. Noname’s timeline certainly would seem to fit the bill; since 2019 many of her tweets revolve around activism and subjects like defunding the police and she certainly hasn’t been shy in sharing her disdain for opposition to her ideas.
However, in Cole’s view that approach undermines her stated goals. “How you gon’ lead, when you attackin’ the very same n****s that really do need the shit that you sayin’?” he wonders. He also doubts the efficacy of online activism, pointing out how it may not help to spread the message. “Fuck is the point of you preaching your message to those that already believe what you believe?” he raps. “I’m on some ‘F*ck a retweet,’ most people is sheep / You got all the answers but how you gon’ reach?”
Unfortunately for J. Cole, not everyone agrees with his position. As one observer pointed out, “Noname started a whole ass book club around dismantling white supremacy and capitalism and J. Cole wants this woman to spell it out for him like he can’t read.”
noname started a whole ass book club around dismantling white supremacy and capitalism……….and j cole wants this woman to spell it out for him…………like he can’t read……..
— negro carrie bradshaw (@abitchisback1) June 17, 2020
Others noted that his words for similarly controversial rappers were more accepting, despite their offenses being inarguably worse. “You told your audience to pray for 6ix9ine and caped for XXXtentacion but want to critique Noname?” wrote one incredulous listener.
If J.Cole is sending shots at Noname, fuck him.
First of all, say her name.
Second of all, you told your audience to pray for 6ix9ine and caped for XXXtentacion but want to critique Noname? Noname?! Her tone is bothering you?!
— Charles Preston (@_CharlesPreston) June 17, 2020
While J. Cole has his defenders, the general sentiment that seems to be brewing is that Cole “coulda sent that in a DM and spared everyone” or even “kept that one in the notes app and talked it out with a therapist.”
Everybody tryna defend NoName and villanize j Cole where was y’all when she was basically saying an app that hasn’t been around longer than these issues have been shows how much you care ab your people🧐 shits crazy to me idk if she a woman he had every right to make a song ab it pic.twitter.com/aehZY2fexI
— MBD Bari (@MBDBari1) June 17, 2020
J cole coulda sent that in a DM and spared everyone
— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) June 17, 2020
jermaine should have kept that one in the notes app and talked it out with a therapist
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) June 17, 2020
While the older rapper clearly intended to offer some friendly advice to his younger peer the way he had on “1985,” he got a similar result: Some fans just weren’t having it. Hopefully, as with that situation, this one can lead to meaningful and productive dialogue between the two rappers, producing more favorable results and a semblance of unity.
See more responses to “Snow On Tha Bluff” below.
Cole saying to treat people online like children and nurture them is how I know he don't be on Twitter like that. An hour of that will drive you to drink.
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) June 17, 2020
J Cole was like “educate me don’t talk down on me” to a woman who started a book club
— awkward connoisseur (@RaychJackson) June 17, 2020
j cole swear he malcolm x nigga u not even in malcolm in the middle
— roald (@AYANLAVANZANT) June 17, 2020
The funniest part about this all is that Noname was publicly and directly dragged and chose to educate herself.
J Cole felt like he was indirectly called out and makes a passive aggressive song about how BW need to teach him and be more patient.
— baby artist 🌱 (@fairyflossfro) June 17, 2020
not j. cole crying about noname not being a mindreader and not going out of her way to preemptively educate random niggas who dont even care enough to reach out or look at the books she literally recommends on her twitter. what are Black women to y'all exactly https://t.co/ERYHSMMjkx
— disney was a mistake except for Lilo & Stitch (@aiukliAfrika) June 17, 2020
J. Cole did not read the room at all.
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 17, 2020
“help us get up to speed.”
sir. all you niggas got wifi.
— CHIKA 🕹 (@oranicuhh) June 17, 2020
J.Cole really lurked a Black woman's timeline and wrote a verse about her tone. We're in a pandemic and fighting for Black women. A goofy.
— Charles Preston (@_CharlesPreston) June 17, 2020
Nah dead ass I’m listening to this new J. Cole and I thought he was talking about me 🤣 I’m sitting here like damn… pic.twitter.com/B6dF7M012m
— Talcum X (@evelynvwoodsen) June 17, 2020
Lol J. Cole has upset Black women at the wrong time. You’re asking us to calm down and be patient when a Black woman just lost her life at the hands of a Black man and a group of Black men just threw a Black woman in a dumpster? Read the room…
— Courtney ✨ (@CTateonTV) June 17, 2020
UPDATE: Noname herself responded to Cole’s song, writing quite simply, “QUEEN TONE!!!” It seems she has no plans on changing her approach anytime soon.
— Noname (@noname) June 17, 2020