J. Cole is being called a ‘misogynist’ after surprise-releasing a critical song about female rapper Noname — but he says he ‘stands behind every word’

J. Cole, left, confirmed that his new song addresses fellow rapper Noname. Jeff Kravitz/Mark Horton/Getty Images
  • J. Cole surprise-released a new song Tuesday night, “Snow on Tha Bluff,” named after a 2012 film about a dangerous neighbourhood in Atlanta.
  • In the song, Cole raps about an unnamed woman who’s more “woke” than he is and mocks her “queen tone,” suggesting instead that she exercise “patience” when trying to educate people.
  • Many fans speculated that Cole is addressing Noname, who has criticised high-profile rappers for their silence following the murder of George Floyd.
  • Some have called Cole a “misogynist” for expecting Black women to patiently teach ignorant men.
  • “I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night,” he tweeted on Wednesday morning, adding, “Follow @noname. I love and honour her as a leader in these times.”
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J. Cole is getting backlash for a new song surprise-released on Tuesday night, in which he criticises an unnamed woman for using a “queen tone” on Twitter.

The standalone single, “Snow on Tha Bluff,” is apparently named after a 2012 docu-drama about a dangerous neighbourhood in Atlanta.

The 35-year-old rapper begins by scoffing at fans who think he’s “deep, intelligent, fooled by my college degree.” Much of the song is dedicated to “a young lady out there,” who Cole believes is “way smarter than me.”

Cole raps about seeing this “young lady” on his Twitter timeline, a platform she uses to critique capitalism, police brutality, and celebrity culture. In turn, he criticises her for acting “holier” and not exercising enough “patience” when discussing social issues.

“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—, it’s something about the queen tone that’s botherin’ me,” he raps.

“Just ’cause you woke and I’m not, that s— ain’t no reason to talk like you better than me,” he continues. “How you gon’ lead, when you attackin’ the very same n—– that really do need the s— that you sayin’?”

“If I could make one more suggestion respectfully / I would say it’s more effective to treat people like children / Understandin’ the time and love and patience that’s needed to grow.”

Many fans speculated that Cole is addressing Noname, a 28-year-old Chicago rapper who is vocally anti-capitalist online and has criticised high-profile rappers for their silence following the murder of George Floyd.

After the song was released, Noname posted then quickly deleted a tweet that read, “QUEEN TONE!!!!!!”


Cole confirmed this speculation on Wednesday morning when he doubled down on the lyrics and gave Noname an explicit shout-out

“Morning. I stand behind every word of the song that dropped last night,” he wrote. “Right or wrong I can’t say, but I can say it was honest.”

“Some assume to know who the song is about,” he continued. “That’s fine with me, it’s not my job to tell anybody what to think or feel about the work. I accept all conversation and criticisms. But,” he continued in the Twitter thread, “Let me use this moment to say this.”

“Follow @noname . I love and honour her as a leader in these times. She has done and is doing the reading and the listening and the learning on the path that she truly believes is the correct one for our people. Meanwhile a n—- like me just be rapping.”

“I haven’t done a lot of reading and I don’t feel well equipped as a leader in these times,” he wrote. “But I do a lot of thinking. And I appreciate her and others like her because they challenge my beliefs and I feel that in these times that’s important.”

“We may not agree with each other but we gotta be gentle with each other.”

Cole continued to get backlash, however, with critics calling him a ‘misogynist’

Cole has been criticised for perpetuating the idea that Black women should patiently teach ignorant men, spending their own emotional energy and watering themselves down to do so.

Many critics took particular issue with the line about Noname’s “queen tone,” which critics called offensive and tone-deaf.


Freelance journalist and Jezebel writer Justice Audre called J. Cole “a classic misogynist.”

“He really thinks we won’t notice him being sexist if he calls us queens while he does it,” she wrote on Twitter.

The New Yorker’s Doreen St. Félix quipped: “the hot thing right now is to pretend like you always cared about black women, so at least we know jermaine isn’t an opportunist.”


Some pointed out the irony that Cole is asking Noname to thoughtfully “educate” people, even though she founded Noname’s Book Club for that very purpose.


Zoé Samudzi, a writer and PhD student, criticised Cole for getting defensive when Noname asked male rappers to step up.

“Black women been like ‘hey black men how’re you showing up for us,'” she wrote in a Twitter thread, “and instead of swallowing the bitter pill and stepping up to the plate you wanna get mad because sis said ‘f— celebrities’ and it hurt your feelings? Jobless behaviour, Jermaine.”

The New York Times’ Astead Wesley wrote simply: “noname makes entirely better music than j cole.”