Watch: Black Thought Weighs In on J. Cole’s Apology to Kendrick Lamar

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In a recent appearance on the “This Week In White Supremacy” podcast, The Roots frontman Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought shared his thoughts on J. Cole’s surprising decision to apologize after releasing a diss track aimed at Kendrick Lamar. However, he went in applauding Cole’s move as an unprecedented display of humility and self-awareness.

When asked by host Jasiri X about Cole’s apology to Kendrick, Black Thought admitted that although he hadn’t heard the music in question, he viewed the apology as “a beautiful thing.” He explained that his students at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music had inquired about his opinion on the matter, to which he responded positively.

“I thought that’s what’s unprecedented,” Black Thought said, contrasting Cole’s approach with the often-violent history of rap beefs. “What we’ve seen, time and time again since the ’80s, are MCs going back and forth, like battling out. Sometimes they keep it to the records, sometimes it gets physical and it gets crazy.”

Black Thought commended Cole for taking the high road and nipping the beef in the bud, showcasing “humility, nobility, and a sense of elevation that you don’t see too often across the board.” He further praised Cole’s “trajectory of self-revelation”, stating,

“When the plane’s going down, you gotta situate your own oxygen mask first. He’s been on a trajectory of just that, self-revelation, and investing in himself. His mind, spirit, body, soul, music, everything is better for it.”

While Black Thought admitted to not knowing Cole personally, he revealed that the two had discussed collaborating on a joint album in 2018. However, their musical visions didn’t align at the time, with Black Thought potentially “scaring off” Cole by requesting a different batch of beats, as he sought to step outside his comfort zone with The Roots.

“At the time, I was trying to sort of step outside of what I’d done with The Roots, and I just didn’t feel like we were lining up,” Black Thought explained. “So I think I asked him to do a different batch. I gave him an explanation, and in my explanation, I think I scared him off. Maybe some of the trigger words that I was using, like, ‘I want something hard! This beat ain’t aggressive enough.'”

The feud between Kendrick Lamar and Drake has been an intense exchange, with both artists firing verbal shots at each other. Lamar’s scathing diss tracks, such as “Euphoria” and “Meet the Grahams,” leveled serious allegations against Drake, accusing him of dishonesty about his family life and making claims about unsavory behavior within his inner circle.

Drake, in turn, responded with his own diss tracks, including “Push Ups,” “Taylor Made Freestyle,” and “Family Matters,” defending himself against Lamar’s accusations and firing back with his own verbal assaults.