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Breaking Down J. Cole’s Questionable “Control” Response/Kendrick Diss

Posted by Nathan S. on 12/02/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Downloads, Opinion, Debates, J. Cole

This one got mentioned in our Thanksgiving Re-Up and at first I was happy to just keep it there. After all, I'd placed a self-imposed moratorium on "Control"-related talk about seven years ago. (Ok, more like a few months, but it feels like seven years. More on that later.) But in typical Nathan S. fashion, I found myself quasi-obsessing over J. Cole's new maybe/kinda/sorta "Control" response/Kendrick Lamar diss; I'm more confused than anything. And when I need to sort some shit out and get answers, I turn to RefinedHype Nation. So here we go. 

First, the facts. J. Cole's verse on the remix to Justin Timberlake's "T.K.O." dropped last Friday/ Ironically, considering this is exactly what happened on "Control", even though A$AP Rocky and Pusha T, who were also named in "Control", also had verses, the only verse people really want to talk about is Cole's, because he comes the closest to actually naming names, or in this case a name (Kendrick Lamar), although doesn't. 

See, this shit shouldn't be that complicated, but someone it is. Maybe I need to switch to a question and answer format...

Why Now? 

"Control" dropped almost four months ago now. FOUR MONTHS. In internet time that might as well be the  Mesozoic Era. Responding now, even this is even really a response, is like Costanza coming back with his "hey, the jerk store called..." line weeks after getting owned during the shrimp incident. Ok, maybe that's a good response, but.....now it just feels uneccesary and slightly desperate. You either come back within a week, two weeks tops, or you just let it go. 

Of course, Cole might have recorded this months ago and it just took forever for JT to put it out, that shit's par for the course in hip-hop. Although that's exactly why you don't respond via someone else's remix, it's kind of like this. (In this comparison JT would be Nia Long. Man, my '90s TV show reference game is outstanding today.)

And that's assuming this is even a response at all. Moving on....

So What Does He Actually Say? 

Cole to the rescue, never save a ho / Hoes like to hide their behavior though / Thought you was a down-ass bitch / 'Til I found that shit a couple days ago / I was home alone, next thing I know / That long ass verse from a song called 'Control' was on / The room got nearer, the tune got clearer / That's when I seen the shit playin' on your phone / Girl, what is that, ringtone?

To recap, Cole's home alone, except by "alone" he means with a ho. As the story goes, he first heard Kendrick's "Control" verse via the afformentioned ho's phone, which feels like the most "famous rapper in 2013" situation ever. Ok, so now he's set the stage

Shit, not you too / Man that hype done got you too / Everybody and their momma gassed / Even my momma asked what I'mma do / Decisions, decisions / In case this is war, then I load up on all ammunition / If a nigga want problems, my trigger's on auto / I'll make sure that nobody miss him / Now pack up your shit, you don't believe in me / I don't need you, I got me, bitch /

Pretty clearly about Kendrick, although he never actually says the man's name. Cole debates about whether to respond or not, even his moms is pressuring him, finally decides to go into full-on war mode four months later via a JT remix and some pretty thoroughly played out verbal ammunnition metaphors. Related question - who's gun talk threats are more believable, Drake's body catching or Cole's auto trigger? Cole seems slightly more likely to personally pull the trigger, but Drake's surrounded by more people with gun charges. Either way, yawn.  

Although....he does adopt the Migos "Versace" flow for a solid portion of those bars, which is the first hint that maybe this is more of a joke than a serious threat. 

(Side note: Let that be a lesson to you hos. If you're found playing "Control" in the vicinity of J. Cole, you'll be promptly dismissed. Act accordingly.)

Same nigga moved to N.Y.C., bitch / Got a record deal and a college degree, bitch / Two gold plaques, I produced all the tracks / And I never-ever-ever lean on Jay Z, bitch / And after all that achievement / Real nigga never even went and got his teeth fixed / Now you try to play me, bitch / You try to fuckin' play me / I ought to knock your ass out." 

 So...now we've moved on from the "Control" response/Kendrick diss and we're on more of Cole's argument for why he's still over-rated. Out of context, just reading the lyrics, it might seem like the "you played me / knock your ass out" is aimed at Kendrick, but Cole's actually still mostly salty over the ho who played "Control" on her phone. Which means we can except an apology from Cole to domestic violence groups within the week. 

But again, the fake crying at the end can't possibly be serious. Is Cole making fun of rappers who got emotional over "Control"? If so, what's the mean for all that gun talk, was that a joke too? Or is he making fun of guys who get emotional over what random hos think...although he spent more time in this verse on that ho than Kendrick. If you're not going to really respond, why bother responding at all, especially after all this time? This shit makes no fucking sense to me. WHY DO I SPEND SO MUCH TIME THINKING ABOUT THIS SHIT WHEN IT'LL BE FORGOTTEN BY THE END OF THE WEEK?!?!?!?

A lot of questions, let's see if RefinedHype Nation has any answers... 

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