Fresh from his epic recording trip to Atlanta, J Cole has dropped his new single Middle Child and it’s become pandora’s box with name-drops and subliminal messages keeping fans busy. The 33-year-old rapper gives special shout-outs to the likes of Jay Z, while addressing his rumoured feud with Drake and paying tribute to late rappers Mac Miller and XXXTenatacion who died last year. Rumours are also rife that J Cole, real name Jermaine Cole, has thrown some shade in Kanye West’s direction with fans desperately trying to decipher the lyrics. Middle Child isn’t about J Cole’s family tree as the title might suggest, but rather where the acclaimed rapper positions himself in the rap game – nestled comfortably between the old and new generation.
See, Cole’s not quite on Jay Z legendary status yet but he’s not from the new mumble rap age either. Middle Child sees Cole refuse to be forgotten in the rap game like many who are nestled in between two siblings often feel – but he’s not going to beef with his peers unnecessarily either. So let’s dig into those lyrics… Jay Z ‘I’m dead in the middle of two generations, I’m little bro and big bro all at once/ Just left the lab with young 21 Savage, I’m ‘bout to go and meet Jigga for lunch.’ Cole signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label back in 2009 and has been a protege to the legendary rapper ever since. But, at the same time, he’s also looked upon as a mentor to younger musicians like 21 Savage, placing him firmly in the middle of two thorns.
Had a long talk with the young n***a Kodak Reminded me of young n****s from ‘Ville/ Straight out the projects, no fakin’, just honest I wish that he had more guidance, for real/ Too many n****s in cycle of jail Spending they birthdays inside of a cell.’ Again owning his role as a mentor for young rappers, Cole recalls his pep talk with Kodak Black, who was released from prison in August after serving seven months.
Just put the Rollie right back on my wrist/ This watch came from Drizzy, he gave me a gift/ Back when the rap game was prayin’ I’d diss/ They act like two legends cannot coexist.’ It’s long been rumoured that J Cole and Drake had a huge falling out but it seems all is good between the two camps after all. The ‘coexist’ line also leads directly onto the so-called Kanye diss…
Back when the rap game was prayin’ I’d diss, They act like two legends cannot coexist/ But I’d never beef with a n***a for nothin’, If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon’ be legit/ It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame/ It won’t be ’cause my sh*t ain’t sellin’ the same, It won’t be to sell you my latest lil’ sneakers/ It won’t be ’cause some n***a slid in my lane.’ Fans are adamant this is a clear shot at Kanye who we all know sells the Yeezy sneakers. Last year, Kanye also feuded with Drake adding fuel to the years of rumours that the Gold Digger rapper has felt threatened by the Canadian rap superstar.
The real ones been dyin’, the fake ones is lit.’ It’s believed this is a tribute to Mac Miller and XXX who passed in 2018. J Cole had a particularly close relationship with XXX and spent three hours in a FaceTime call with the late rapper back in February 2018. Mac Miller died in September after an accidental overdose, while XXX was shot dead outside a car dealership in Miami in June. Middle Child is expected to feature on J Cole’s anticipated fifth studio album.