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Friendly competition should always be encouraged in hip-hop. There will always be a debate of who’s the best of this generation, and it’s always better when artist’s embrace it, instead of running from it. The discussion of the top three, for the most part, has been narrowed down to Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole, in whatever order you desire. There has always been some fan-made speculation that the trio of hip-hop’s superstars didn’t get along from the lack of collaborations, and some intellectual bars that may have been taken out of context, while the people ran with it.
With J. Cole dropping his album The Off-Season in May of this year, and Drake releasing his highly anticipated Certified Lover Boy earlier this month, the debates are at an all-time high. A track off CLB is “Pipe Down”. The track is produced by former Nickelodeon star, Leon Thomas as well as FaxOnly, JEAN BLEU, and Anthoine Walters.
On September 21, J. Cole released a remix to the Outkast-sampled track, with an accompanying music video titled “Heaven’s EP”. You can tell off the bat, Cole had things he needed to get off his chest. Fresh off performing at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas, Cole addresses the debates of the hip-hop hierarchy with:
“Some people say that I'm running third, they threw the bronze at me
Behind Drake and Dot, yeah, them n****s is superstars to me”
Cole also touches on similar topics he touched on throughout The Off-Season, such as still staying in touch with today’s problems with regular everyday people. He raps, “But lately I’ve been questioning, second guessing, whether or not I’ve got something to offer since I done eluded poverty”. Despite this seeming like a mess-around type of track, Cole displays his clever word play, lyricism, and a different approach to this instrumental than Drake.