A new potential feud emerged in the rap world between J. Cole (real name: Jermaine Lamarr Cole) and Noname (real name: Fatimah Nyeema Warner) on Twitter after the “Middle Child” musician dropped a new track called “Snow on tha Bluff” on Tuesday, June 16. The song seemingly called out Noname for her “queen tone” regarding her Black Lives Matter activism and questioned her ability to “lead” the movement. But who is Noname and what exactly went down? Get the details on the beef below.
Who is Noname?
Noname, 28, is a poet and rapper who broke onto the scene in 2013 when she started collaborating with artists like Chance the Rapper and Mick Jenkins. Originally, she performed and recorded under the stage name “Noname Gypsy.” However, she dropped the second half of the moniker in 2016 when she learned about the word gypsy’s negative connotations and its use to oppress Romani people.
After that, she started going simply by Noname, which she explained in a 2016 interview with Fader. “I never intended to offend anyone, so I took it out. Now, I’m just Noname. … I try to exist without binding myself to labels. I’m not really into labels at all, even the way I dress; I usually don’t wear anything with a name brand. For me, not having a name expands my creativity. I’m able to do anything. Noname could potentially be a nurse, Noname could be a screenwriter. I’m not limited to any one category of art or other existence, on a more existential level.”
That same year, the rapper also dropped her first mixtape, Telefone. Her first full album, Room 25, dropped in 2018. In January 2020, she promised her second album, called Factory Baby, is due later this year.
What went down between Noname and J. Cole?
On June 16, J. Cole, 35, dropped a new track called “Snow on tha Bluff.” Though he didn’t name anyone in particular, fans quickly came to the conclusion he was referencing Noname in the lyrics. “My IQ is average, there’s a young lady out there, she way smarter than me / I scrolled through her timeline in these wild times, and I started to read / She mad at these crackers, she mad at these capitalists, mad at these murder police / She mad at my [n-words], she mad at our ignorance, she wear her heart on her sleeve / She mad at the celebrities, low-key I be thinkin’ she talkin’ ’bout me,” he rapped.
Later on in the song, he takes aim at her “queen tone” and continues, “Just ’cause you woke and I’m not, that s–t ain’t no reason to talk like you better than me / How you gon’ lead, when you attackin’ the very same [n-words] that really do need the shit that you sayin’? / Instead of conveying you holier, come help get us up to speed.”
Did Noname respond to J. Cole’s song?
After the song dropped, Noname took to Twitter to respond. Initially, she simply tweeted the words, “Queen tone!!!” in all caps. She later deleted the tweet — but a retweet also seems to reference the track. The rapper shared another user’s post with information about learning how to plan a protest and what to do if you’re arrested while at a demonstration. How’s that for helping people get up to speed?
Did J. Cole apologize to Noname?
On Wednesday, June 17, the “Lights Please” singer also took to Twitter to reveal he “stands behind every word,” calling them “honest” even if they’re right or wrong. However, he also encouraged his fans to follow Noname on the social media platform. “I love and honor her as a leader in these times,” he wrote. “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. Meanwhile a [n-word] like me just be rapping.”
He continued, “I haven’t done a lot of reading and I don’t feel well equipped as a leader in these times. But I do a lot of thinking. And I appreciate her and others like her because they challenge my beliefs and I feel that in these times that’s important. … We may not agree with each other, but we gotta be gentle with each other.”
For more information, visit BlackLivesMatter.com.