Black Thought Calls J. Cole’s Apology to Kendrick Lamar ‘A Beautiful Thing’

The Roots frontman Black Thought appeared on the This Week In White Supremacy podcast and was asked about J. Cole’s infamous apology to Kendrick Lamar by host Jasiri X. Interestingly enough, the emcee had no issues with Cole taking that route and actually applauded his decision.


The Philly rapper, who’s also an adjunct instructor at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, mentioned his students asking him what he thought about the apology. “Some of my students at NYU asked me a week ago asked me how I feel about J. Cole’s apology to Kendrick a day or so after putting out a diss record,” he said. “Though I hadn’t heard any of the music, I thought it was a beautiful thing. I thought that’s what’s unprecedented.”

He continued by bringing up rap’s violent history when it comes to beef, saying, “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.”

So, he applauded Cole for looking at the bigger picture. “What we’ve yet to see is somebody nip that in the bud, right? That’s what I felt like he was in effect doing. I felt like it just showed humility, nobility and a sense of elevation that you don’t see too often across the board.” He then added, “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.”

Thought admitted he doesn’t know the Carolina rapper very well personally, but is familiar with his music and revealed that back in 2018 they almost did a joint album together. However, he feels like he might’ve scared Cole away. “He sent me a batch of beats and they all just felt so close to, I guess, something Roots-centric. 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.” He then asked Cole for a different pack of beats adding, “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. He wasn’t on that. He was on a peaceful journey.”

Check out the clip below and watch the entire podcast here.

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