J. Cole Apologizes For Autism Lyric

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The rap game is not the same as it was five years ago. Saying something controversial is still a proven marketing tactic, but more and more often there are groups coming out of the woodwork to attack rappers who choose to cross political/moral/decency lines when spitting rhymes. Rick Ross came under a ton of fire earlier this year for allegedly encouraging rape in a lyric, and ever since an increasing number of rappers have begun trying to get ahead of any controversy their words may spawn. J. Cole is the latest to do this, and his response may be the most authentic to date.

Last month, J. Cole partnered with Drake on a wildly popular freestyle entitled, “Jodeci.” While fans of both rappers were excited to see them finally sharing the spotlight (and on a free track, no less), some took offense from a line delivered by Cole that claims “I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded.” Cole caught wind of the displeasure, and has now written a lengthy open letter apologizing for the line. You can read his words, which originally surfaced on Cole’s blog, below.

Cole’s new album, Born Sinner, is available now wherever music is sold.

Recently there’s been a trend that includes rappers saying something offensive, only to be attacked for it in the media and pressured to apologize. I have to be completely honest and say there’s a part of me that resents that. I view rap similar to how I view comedy. It’s going to ruffle feathers at times. It’s going to go “too far”. I do not believe that an apology is needed every time someone is offended, especially when that apology is really only for the sake of saving an endorsement or cleaning up bad press.

With that said, this is not the case today. This letter is sincere. This apology IS necessary.

In a recent verse on the song “Jodeci Freestyle”, I said something highly offensive to people with Autism. Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away that what I said was wrong. I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better.

To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a unit. I have now read stories online from parents about their struggles and triumphs with raising an Autistic child and I admire how incredibly strong you have to be to do so. It’s touching. It also makes what I said even more embarrassing for me. I feel real shame. You have every right to be angry.

To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry. I’m bound to make mistakes in my life, but in my heart I just want to spread Love.

I want to educate myself more on Autism, and I’ll gladly own my mistake and serve as an example to today’s generation that there’s nothing cool about mean-spirited comments about someone with Autism. People with this disorder and their loved ones have to go through so much already, the last thing they need is to hear something as ignorant as what I said. I understand.

To the parents who are fighting through the frustrations that must come with raising a child with severe autism, finding strength and patience that they never knew they had; to the college student with Asperger’s Syndrome; to all those overcoming Autism. You deserve medals, not disrespect. I hope you accept my sincere apology.

Much Love -Cole

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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