J. Cole's Final Song on 'KOD' Has Fans Thinking He's Referencing These Rappers

Let the theories stack up.

J. Cole dropped his new album KOD Friday. Though it is indeed 4/20 and the thought of meticulously parsing through lyrics sounds like a bit of a stretch in that context, fans have wasted no time doing so. "1985 (Intro to 'The Fall Off')," specifically, is receiving quite a bit of attention for its closing moments.

Though Cole opens the final KOD track with a nod to his own birth year and some encouragement for the latest wave of rap stars, Cole eventually takes a more critical tone. Cole doesn't call anyone out by name, of course, but fans quickly pointed to lyrical excerpts that they feel show Cole is talking about a specific assortment of fellow artists, including Lil Pump.

Some have even theorized that Cole is also sharing words of criticism and/or wisdom for Lil Uzi Vert and Smokepurpp. Below, because hey why not, we've broken down the fan theories surrounding "1985." Who, exactly, is Cole trying to reach?

Lil Pump

Lil Pump

Is it me or J cole just dissed the fuck outta lil Pump

— Denzel Curry (@denzelcurry) April 20, 2018

Lil Pump listening to J Cole's "1985" like...
Should have left the man alone, pump. pic.twitter.com/3OfH01qrA2

— Sup (@TSSxJason) April 20, 2018

This is the most seemingly obvious one. Pump, as you recall, dropped a preview of a track tentatively titled "Fuck J. Cole" last April. Pump has also spent time slamming Cole on social media. "FUCK J COLE & FUK DAT LYRICAL SHIT," he once said. In "1985," Cole speaks of being surprised by someone who dissed him before then advising them to stay on the road if they want to earn money:

I ain't trippin', listen good to my reply

Come here lil man, let me talk with ya

See if I can paint for you the larger picture

Congrats 'cause you made it out your mama's house

I hope you make enough to buy your mom a house

As others have noted, later lines in the song—like "but I love to see a black man get paid"—would not apply to Pump. Still, Pump seemingly responded later Friday:

Lil Pump reacts to J Cole supposedly dissing him on his new album ‘KOD’ 👀 @lilpump @JColeNC pic.twitter.com/7ya0hn17AN




Lmfaooooooooo j cole dedicated a whole song to @smokepurpp

— zion gueroson (@guerotron) April 20, 2018

Smokepurpp, who feels that Pump is a better artist than Cole, clarified to Montreality back in January that his and Pump's Cole-related actions were merely part of an intentional trolling. Still, Smokepurpp just one year earlier issued a public challenge to both Cole and Kendrick Lamar. As Genius notes, the aforementioned "but I love to see a black man get paid" line could be interpreted as being aimed at Smokepurpp instead of Pump:

I must say, by your songs I'm unimpressed

But I love to see a Black man get paid

And plus you havin' fun and I respect that

But have you ever thought about your impact?

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert

I can still love @LILUZIVERT and love @JColeNC for bodying all “lil” rappers...

Calm y’all asses down #jcoleKOD

— ϛϛ| S. VADY | ϛϛ (@malikaiiinoue) April 20, 2018

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