In the era of “fake news,” “fan theories,” and release rumors sweeping social media, Stan Twitter has turned out to be especially susceptible to falling for hoaxes and unverified speculation. Partly out of wanting their faves to serve their desires and partly out of a lack of media literacy, Twitter stans have been known to freak out over pranks, repeating big lies ad nauseam until they become accepted as truth. As the saying goes, “a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.”
The latest fanbase to fall into this trend is J. Cole‘s. After Zane Lowe promised that a big star would release something overnight on his show, fans began speculating right away. One prankster played right into the buzz to generate some attention for their account, impersonating J. Cole’s “media director” and writing, “Just landed in Raleigh with @KingOfQueenz [Ibrahim Hamad, president of Dreamville Records — who already had to shut down release rumors once this year]. Jermaines Album has been cleared for streaming services. The Fall Off 2020 will be dropping tonight, December 9th.” December 9 is a somewhat significant date for J. Cole, who released a handful of his fan-favorite albums on the date, beginning in 2014 with Forest Hills Drive, the first to “go platinum with no features.”
Despite the dubious nature of the account and tweet in question (both of which were deleted as of press time), fan accounts on Twitter let their passion override their logic and repeated the information from the tweet as fact, stoking the fervor for the supposedly imminent release.
THERE’S RUMORS OF J. COLE DROPPING TONIGHT pic.twitter.com/EnvSLgTCQ7
— SHREK KNOWS RAP (@SHREKRAP) December 8, 2020
According to J. Cole’s media director his album ‘The Fall Off’ will be released tonight🔥💽 pic.twitter.com/RdgEAm4hxW
— Talk2theStreetz (@talk2thestreetz) December 8, 2020
% chance J. Cole drops The Fall Off tonight?
I got 57.83%
— Hip Hop By The Numbers (@HipHopNumbers) December 9, 2020
Naturally, when midnight rolled around with no new project from their fave, J. Cole fans melted down, despite having no one to blame for their assumptions but themselves.
to whoever whoever said j cole was dropping tonight pic.twitter.com/Jwcf9udiZT
— َ (@strainfuI) December 9, 2020
J Cole dropping the Fall Off tonight got me thinking about how we fell off too soon pic.twitter.com/SOyJ93CwrC
— brown (@BrownRapFan) December 9, 2020
How I look waiting for J.Cole to drop The Fall Off pic.twitter.com/oqN7jPFOh3
— glo.matt (@Awgematt6) December 9, 2020
— ivan👁 (@illspeaks) December 9, 2020
Who was the first person to say J Cole was Dropping The Fall Off tonight 🤨 I just wanna talk to them pic.twitter.com/wYIcIpzbg8
— QuanToxic🎅🏿🌨❄️ (@quanisfunny) December 9, 2020
— Jasiah Beazer (@Ponyboy_Jai) December 9, 2020
“LMAO, YALL FR BELIEVE J. COLE DROPPING TONIGHT?!?! COULDN’T BE ME!” pic.twitter.com/a5TaqoeHrd
— Oreo Frito (@OreoFrito) December 9, 2020
Why’d I actually believe J. Cole was finna bless us w the album tonight… pic.twitter.com/uPf2GZJUIV
— Cam⚒ (@cam7981) December 9, 2020
Hopefully, many will take this opportunity to learn not to trust random accounts and over-the-top speculation — but then again, there’s that other famous saying: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” On the internet, that aphorism has never proved more true.