Everything you need to know about the feud between J. Cole and Noname

Rappers feud all the time.

But the fallout between Chicago musicians J.Cole and Noname has more weight behind it than simply being a marketing ploy.

The rappers are battling over their respective approaches to the Black Lives Matter discourse, with Cole being heavily criticised for his “patronising” track "Snow on Tha Bluff", released on Tuesday, that appears to take aim at Noname’s activism.

Now Noname has responded, in her first solo song of the year, "Song 33", with lyrics seemingly referencing J. Cole’s comments, as well as highlighting the murders of 19-year-old Oluwatoyin Salau, George Floyd and the killing of trans women like Dominique Fells.

Here’s a quick reminder of how we got here.

Why are J. Cole and Noname feuding?

On Tuesday, J. Cole dropped "Snow on Tha Bluff", which examines Cole’s response to the current Black Lives Matter protests and conversation.

In the track he talks about a woman, who he feels shamed by for his lack of direct action.

Cole takes a defensive tone, criticising the woman for her “queen tone”, rapping:

I scrolled through her timeline in these wild times, and I started to read

She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police

She mad at my n****s, she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve

She mad at the celebrities, lowkey I be thinkin' she talkin' 'bout me

Now I ain't no dummy to think I'm above criticism

So when I see something that's valid, I listen

But s**t, it's something about the queen tone that's botherin' me

The rapper also says that Noname should be teaching him, instead of “preaching” and implies her approach is one of the reasons slavery continued for so long (hmm), saying:

Just 'cause you woke and I'm not, that shit ain't no reason to talk like you better than me

How you gon' lead, when you attackin' the very same n****s that really do need the shit that you sayin'?

Instead of conveying you holier, come help get us up to speed

Shit, it's a reason it took like two hundred years for our ancestors just to get freed

These shackles be lockin' the mental way more than the physical

Noname has been an outspoken voice on racial inequality, both throughout the recent Black Lives Matter resurgence, and before, launching projects like a book club dedicated to works by people of colour while also speaking to fans about topics like prison abolition and misogynoir.

Recently she has criticised other musicians who don’t speak out about the BLM movement.

Which is why both Noname and others believed Cole’s lyrics were in reference to her, an allegation he hasn’t denied.

What was the response to J. Cole’s track?

Noname immediately tweeted – then deleted – a post reading “QUEEN TONE!!!!!”

J. Cole began to receive criticism from social media users but doubled down on his comments, staying he stood by them.

The rapper encouraged fans to follow Noname, admitting he hadn’t “done a lot of reading” and didn’t feel “well equipped as a leader”.

Apparently this wasn’t enough to stop him criticising a black woman who had done the reading.

Chance the Rapper, another Chicago musician who has collaborated with the pair on separate occasions, weighed in to call Cole’s comments “gaslighting”.

Chance elaborated when questioned by a fan on his stance.

What has Noname said?

Today, Noname apparently responded fully to Cole’s track, with a release of her own: "Song 33".

In it, she asks why the rapper is focusing on her when there’s so many other things happening that he could devote his attention to, if he really wants to learn as he claims, rapping:

But n****s in the back quiet as a church mouse

Basement studio when duty calls to get the verse out

I guess the ego hurt now

It's time to go to work, wow, look at him go

He really 'bout to write about me when the world is in smokes?

When it's people in trees?

When George was beggin' for his mother, saying he couldn't breathe

You thought to write about me?

Noname also appears to call J Cole’s beef a “distraction’, saying:

Yo, but little did I know all my readin' would be a bother

It's trans women bein' murdered and this is all he can offer?

And this is all y'all receive?

Distracting from the convo with organizers

They talkin' abolishin' the police

And this the new world order.

Consensus broadly seems to be that Noname’s track is a hit.

Fans think Noname’s offering has more weight.

Some have seen parallels from their own lives reflected in the sparring.

But there’s plenty of J. Cole fans who are ardently defending his corner.

For fans at least, the debate still rages.

For Noname? Looks like the chapter is closed.

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