100 Greatest Songs of the 2010’s #68 J Cole – Fire Squad

Released : 2014

The diss is one of the oldest promotional tools in rap, so when Fire Squad leaked ahead of J. Cole’s ambitious third album 2014 Forest Hills Drive it looked from a distance that somebody’s people were trying to get a head up in a crowded market.

“History repeats itself and that’s just how it goes/ Same way that these rappers always bite each other’s flows/ Same thing that my n—a Elvis did with rock and roll/ Justin Timberlake, Eminem and then Macklemore”  it went, but the words weren’t some jump off to a contrived, publicity rich beef (Cole said) but instead a wry observation on the theft of culture and ideas in amongst the rubble of America’s dream. Perhaps you don’t need to call out some of the industry’s most famous people to raise awareness of that, but the fact that Fire Squad didn’t care gave it just the cutting edge needed.

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