By: Adam Pasternak
Do me a favour. Before you read the rest of the article, listen carefully to J. Cole’s second verse (posted below) , as it’s essentially what this article is all about, and then listen to Wale’s response to J. Cole in his song (posted below that).
When J. Cole’s False Prophets came out two months ago (along with the music video), many (including myself) were surprised to hear Cole spit an entire verse talking negatively about his good friend Wale. He essentially just said how he’s tired of hearing Wale’s complaining about negative critics, rapping at the start of the verse:
“I got a homie, he a rapper and he wanna win bad
He want the fame, the acclaim, the respect that’s been had
By all the legends, so every time I see him, he stressin’
Talkin’ ’bout, niggas don’t fuck with him, this shit is depressin'”
The verse then went on about how Wale has the “platform to make a classic rap song” but he just gets distracted by the critics. Cole was giving his good friend some constructive criticism, and I guess Wale saw it as that too, because the next night they were seen together watching top draft prospect, Dennis Smith Jr., at an NC State basketball game:
Their relationship definitely didn’t seem any different than before the song came out. But then Wale came out with his response in Groundhog Day. He goes right after Cole, calling him out many times throughout the entirety of the song, and today, just released his music video for the song. If you watch both videos, one after the other, you see that Wale is mocking J. Cole in both his lyrics and his visuals. Just like J. Cole rode a bus around New York in his video for False Prophets, Wale rode around a bus in what looks to be L.A, except his bus is topless.
In my opinion, I think Groundhog Day is Wale’s best song in a while. His flow reminds me of my favourite song by him, Legendary, and his lyrics and sports metaphors are definitely on point, even shouting out Maryland’s point guard Melo Trimble. He’s rapping with a purpose, and doesn’t flinch for a second. While him and J. Cole remained friends through this whole process, he shows that he will never back down from a critic – almost proving Cole’s point. Regardless, J. Cole awoke the beast and unleashed some of Wale’s best lines in a long time. I mean even the intro is spot on. Before the song even starts, he’s already addressed every aspect of Cole’s verse. He’s accepted that he has his flaws, but he won’t accept that he’s a “false prophet”; that he’s not one of the best in the game. Before the song even starts, he’s already thrown in a couple sports references, comparing himself to great fighters: “Cassius, Muhammad, McGregor, Conor of these rap artists“. Then, he just starts going off. I mean, he has four different ways of mentioning J. Cole…without even mentioning J. Cole (until the very last word of the song). The first way is when he uses the title of one of Cole’s songs, Crooked Smile, to explain how he feels that he’s underrated and that Cole sometimes give him “crooked smiles”, or fake love, and actually “neglect to embrace” him. The second way is when he talks about Cole and how when he made it big with Jay, he forgot about his boy Wale, saying: “Every day a star is born, I guess I died in the womb”. Amazingly enough, “A Star is Born” is a Jay-Z song featuring a young and still up-and-coming Cole, and by saying “I guess I died in the womb/I ain’t make it on Blueprint/so made me a blueprint”, Wale is saying, “So instead of me staying pissed off, I went and made my own way”. And then, just for good measure, he uses another J. Cole song, “Nice Watch”, to address Cole without using his name for a third time. The fourth way, and final way, that he addresses Cole without using his name is definitely my favourite. He goes: “I just heard a song about me on a hip-hop blog from a kid I know/Some niggas say a hip-hop God”. Just the flow of those words and how quickly it rolls of Wale’s tongue- it just stuck out to me and instantly became my favourite line in the song. He talks how he just heard False Prophets and the verse about him on a “hip-hop blog” (probably HotNewHipHop or WorldStar) by a friend of his who some people think is the best rapper alive (a.k.a., J. Cole). It’s just the way he says “…from a kid I know/Some niggas say he a hip-hop God” like the statement that Cole is the best in the game is a joke. It’s amazing.
In the last little bit, he wraps up the song (and really the whole ordeal between the two) by putting in that aforementioned Melo Trimble line and talking about how when his album, SHINE, comes out to beware because he’s coming for that number one spot. Finally, and most importantly, he assures us that him and Cole are good, saying: “I love my brother though/I love my brother though/That’s why it’s rest in peace to Tommy we still bumping Cole”.
J. Cole lit a fire under Wale, and it resulted in some great music. The only thing that could top this right now is a new Wale and J. Cole collab. Just to be clear, I haven’t heard of any collaboration between the two happening and my intent is not to start any rumours, but would it be so crazy to think that this “feud” could lead to one? They’ve released a couple really good songs together in the past with Beautiful Bliss, Winter Schemes and Bad Girls Club, and it’s pretty clear this whole situation was made to seem bigger than it actually was my everyone but the two of them. But until that day comes, this will have to stay a theory/fantasy of mine.
All lyrics were taken from:
What do you think of the two songs and their corresponding music videos? Comment your thoughts below!