Tuesday night, J. Cole surprised his fans and released some new music and his first single of the year, “Snow On Tha Bluff.” The track addresses activism particularly on social media amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, as well as police brutality, and racism.
In the song, Cole recounts scrolling through someone’s timeline. “She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police / She mad at my n******, she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve / She mad at the celebrities, low key I be thinkin she talking bout me.”
He continues, acknowledging the frustration thats prompted her to speak out. “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 bothering me.”
Many fans have guessed that Cole is referencing Noname, a Chi-town native who called out big-name rappers for their silence following the murder of George Floyd in a since deleted tweet. “Poor black folks all over the country are putting their bodies on the line in protest for our collective safety and y’all favorite top selling rappers not even willing to put a tweet up.”
And while Cole understands Noname’s frustration, he goes own to express a few grievances of his own. “These shackles be lockin' the mental way more than physical, I look at freedom like trees/Can’t grow a forest like overnight, hit the ghetto and slowly start planting your seeds,” he raps. “F*** is the point of you preaching your message to those that already believe what you believe?/I’m on some ‘f*** a retweet,’ most people is sheep/You got all the answers but how you gon reach?”
Certain fans have taken an issue to a portion of the track's lyrics where Cole describes a Black woman angered by the system and ignorant members of her community. Cole, who is no stranger to rapping about controversial topics, responded to the bit of backlash over the new single with a tweet.
However, as this portion of the track goes on, J. Cole simply suggests the notion of choosing the path of enlightenment rather than talking down to those around her. “This change is inevitable but ain’t none of us seen this before/Therefore we just gotta learn everything as we go,” he raps. Cole internally questions whether he is doing enough and closes out the song with words of hope. “Fill me up with wisdom and some courage/Plus endurance to survive help mine thrive.”
“Snow On Tha Bluff” is expected to feature on J. Cole’s upcoming album The Fall Off, which does not yet have an official release date.