Both songs were released on December 3, 2016 and will appear on J. Cole’s upcoming album.
False Prophets is the longer of the two songs. It seems to make reference to Wale and Kanye West. The latter has been embroiled in his own controversy and mental health issues which makes J. Cole’s attack feel a little bit like kicking a man when he’s down. J. Cole raps that he idolized Kanye and wanted to be like him. It was his idolization that blinded him from Kanye’s true character. It feels a little bit like creative revisionist history. If he knew Kanye was “like this” all along, why didn’t he say something before the rapper was hospitalized?
As for Wale, J. Cole’s airing of grievances is little more than what one would say directly to their friend’s face which is why it’s weird that it had to be included in a song. Apparently Wale isn’t as appreciative of his success as he should be or as J. Cole thinks he should be. Wale wants the fame (as J. Cole admits everyone does) and the respect that hip-hop legends receive. J. Cole thinks Wale, and himself, should focus on making music for music’s sake.
Wale responded with his own track, Groundhog Day. The song doesn’t really attack J. Cole as much as it explains Wale’s troubled mindset while touching on issues of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
The video for False Prophets is more or less unremarkable. The colors saturation is interesting, but beyond that the video is largely nonsensical. Ostensibly the video is supposed to show what a regular guy J. Cole is; he rides the bus, he peruses fabric stores while talking to mannequins (totally normal!) and he chats up local restaurant owners while sitting on the sidewalk. What a man of the people he is!
The second song has two titles Everybody Dies (Everybody Gotta Die) and is much shorter than False Prophets. The two titles thing is a bit of a puzzler. Perhaps the thinking was that “Everybody Gotta Die” by itself might be misconstrued as some kind of violent, gangster rap song. Certainly the song does suggest some violence as J. Cole claims that he’s more real than these new rappers that have been chosen “by the white man.” His lyrics seem to implicate Lil’ Yachty and others as not having any street credit.
The video for Everybody Dies is extremely straightforward. J. Cole rides in the back of a pickup truck and raps directly into the camera. The song showcases J. Cole’s flow and comes off a lot better than his Kanye and Wale inspired tune; it’s always easier to diss the youngsters than it is a legend or an established artist.
J.Cole’s new album, 4 Your Eyez Only, will be out December 9th.