After being silent for nearly two years, J.Cole has definitely made sure his return was felt. He started by silently uploading a title, 4 Your Eyez Only, album artwork, and 10 unnamed tracks to iTunes, and then put out a mini-documentary on Tidal. It seems in his two years off he's grown pretty unhappy with where hip-hop has gone, though, because new music featured in the documentary takes some not-so-vague shots at a few of his fellow rappers.
One of the songs, called "False Prophets(Be Like This)," has an entire verse dedicated to Kanye's recent struggles, and then the second verse, people have speculated, takes constant jabs at Wale.
In the Kanye verse, Cole talks about how 'Ye's ego has gotten out of control because he's surrounded himself with the wrong people. He says:
"Ego in charge of every move, he's a star/And we can't look away due to the days that he caught our hearts/He's fallin' apart, but we deny it/Justifying that half-ass shit he dropped, we always buy it/When he tell us he a genius but it's clearer lately/It's been hard for him to look into the mirror lately."
But, despite the shots at his ego, Cole also follows it up by saying:
It seems Cole understands his struggles, and is saying we should help him rather than continue to bash him.
It's also worth mentioning Cole rips on himself in this same verse for idolizing rappers when he was younger.
But, in sticking with the theme of the song, he then follows it up with a few lines about how rappers don't write their own lyrics, and how they bite new styles that start to "bubble up." This is a pretty obvious shot at Drake, who's been called out numerous times for not writing original lyrics and, more recently, for ripping off the Jamaican Dancehall culture in songs like "Controlla."
The second verse, who people think is in reference to Wale, follows a similar layout to the first verse. He calls Wale out for obsessing over things like fame, accolades, and love from his fans, claiming he's become too obsessed with it. But again, this verse starts off as a diss only to then evolve into words of encouragement. He talks about relating to this obsession with wanting people to love him, then gives the advice:
The other song Cole released is different, which becomes extremely obvious just from reading the title - "Everybody Dies." In this one Cole is no longer offering some friendly, tough love. Nope, this time he's trying to end you.
Who's you? Everyone in the rap game who's slacking, basically. I mean just read part of the first (only?) verse:
"Clap at the fake deep rappers, the OG gatekeep rappers/the would you take a break please rappers
A bunch of words and ain't saying shit I hate these rappers/Especially the amateur 8 week rappers/Lil "whatever", just another short bus rapper/
Fake drug dealers turn tour bus trappers/
Napoleon complex, you this tall rappers/Get exposed standing next to 6"4 rappers/
The streets don't fuck with you, you Pitchfork rappers/Chosen by the white man you hipster rappers/
I reload the clip then I hit more rappers with that/Straight shitting on these piss-poor rappers/
I'm back (laughs)."
Cole obviously doesn't like what hip-hop has become, and he's here to purge it. He understandably takes shots at the "Lil whatevers" (Uzi Vert, Yachty, etc.) that talk "A bunch of words and ain't saying shit," but he even comes for the OG's who he thinks are slacking lately, short rappers, hipster rappers just making music to appeal to places like Pitchfork, fake drug dealers, rappers that put out too much music, and those who only got in the game recently (who he probably assumes are just in it for the money).
And, as if all of that wasn't enough, he literally laughs at everyone he calls out, almost as if he knows he can get away with disrespecting them. To him, there's nothing they can do. In his mind, if any one of these guys tries to come at him in response he feels he can end them. (And after these two songs it's pretty hard to argue with that logic)
It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out, but basically no one is safe. His album is set to drop next Friday, and if it's anything like these first couple of sneak peaks then it'll undoubtedly make some waves in the industry.