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Same Old New School 10: Noname & J. Cole Tracks PLUS New Music Roundup

Written by on June 23, 2020

Every Monday at 8:30 p.m. Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin take over Vocalo’s IG Live to look at how hip-hop intersects with culture, politics, fashion and more. It’s a half-hour of hip-hop, laughs and wisdom from some of the best guys in the game. It’s Same Old New School.

The episode started off with some pretty cute conversation about Father’s Day and smokey wings, but then our favorite duo had a lot to talk about. From all the “polite beef” between Noname and J. Cole to a roundup of some of the weekend’s new music, you can catch it all here on Same Old New School.

Watch the full episode above, or stream it below at the end of the article.

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Noname and J. Cole 

As these two will tell you (and anyone else looking in on this news), there’s a lot of levels to this latest and largest Hip Hop news. To start it off and sum it up, Kevin Coval:

“Just…yikes. Why did J. Cole really say…anything?”

Incase you missed it, rappers J. Cole came out with his first lead single of 2020, “Snow on tha Bluff.” While no one was explicitly named, it’s widely believed that he was referencing Chicago rapper Noname on the track, in which he praised her activism surrounding George Floyd’s death while simultaneously criticizing her “queen tone” while doing so.

Noname then released her own track “Song 33” (again not explicitly naming J. Cole) asking why he would take issue with her when “the world is in smokes.” Eventually though, she apologized for the song and said she regrets dropping it, as it caused “further distraction” from the moment.

Coval and Goodwin both agreed that the wordage of “queen tone” by J. Cole felt egregious. Goodwin went on to comment:

“The way in which women – female-identifying individuals [and] Black women especially – are triggered by this is something that I think we all need to be just paying attention to. It’s deeper than the lyrics, it’s deeper than the song, it’s bigger than Hip Hop.”

Our two hosts discussed if this could be classified as a battle (agreeing that if it can be, it’s the most polite battle ever seen), especially since this was about tactics on how to be a revolutionary…not about skill.

They also agreed that this intensely showcases the generational divide within Hip Hop and pointed out a problematic and insensitive flavoring in J. Cole’s assumption that entire groups of people don’t read or aren’t educated.

Finally, Goodwin and Coval kept reasserting that the level to which Black women are responding to this back-and-forth should be taken notice of. We, as people, and especially men, need to listen to Black women more. In this moment particularly, but also always.

Anderson .Paak

New Music Roundup 

There was plenty of incredible music that dropped this past week and while our hosts couldn’t get to it all, they did have time to point out a few favorites:

“Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P” by Ric Wilson (Disco Ric) – People will be dancing to this one, which also has plenty of educating in the song itself. There’s also illusions to Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, and the protest legacy throughout Hip Hop’s history.

“State of the Union (STFU)” by Public Enemy – With DJ Premier giving some bounce to the track and Chuck D on the pen (one of the top poets of the last few decades), this isn’t one you want to miss. It obliterates any doubts that Public Enemy might not still have gas in the tank.

“Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak – A funky new song dripping with substance. This is summer cruising music that still manages to have cultural and protest layers. It’s a great reminder that Hip Hop gives listeners a direct sense of what’s happening on the ground.

Tune in on IG Live every Monday at 8:30 p.m. for more episodes

Written by Shelby Kluver

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