After stating that he stands behind "every word of the song," Cole acknowledged that fans had taken up the task of theorizing on the subject of the track's lyrics.
"That’s fine with me," Cole said Wednesday. "It’s not my job to tell anybody what to think or feel about the work. I accept all conversation and criticisms. But let me use this moment to say this."
From there, he urged his fans to follow Noname, whom he loves and honors "as a leader" in this current era.
"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," Cole said. "Meanwhile a n**** like me just be rapping." He added that he respects Noname "and others like her" for challenging his beliefs.
Back in May, Noname—though she didn’t mention any artist specifically—shared some words of criticism about "top selling rappers" amid the protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd.
"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," Noname said at the time.
On Tuesday, Noname posted a message of support in honor of 19-year-old protester Oluwatoyin Salau, who was killed this month shortly after tweeting an account of sexual assault at the hands of someone "disguised as a man of God."
For a rundown of info on how to get involved with protests, as well as a curated collection of reading resources and info on where to donate, click here.