Tyler, The Creator may have taken home HipHopDX‘s 2021 Rapper of the Year honors, but J. Cole begs to differ.
On Friday (January 28) — his 37th birthday, no less — the Dreamville rapper joined forces with Benny The Butcher on “Johnny P’s Caddy,” the first single from the Griselda goon’s upcoming album Tana Talk 4.
At the tail end of his chest-beating, show-stealing guest verse, Cole makes it loud and clear who he thinks the best rapper on the planet is.
“Eureka, Einstein on the brink of the theory of relativity/Really no MC equal, feel me?/Cole pen be lethal, crib like an old MTV show/On God, the best rapper alive/Headshot, now go and ask the best rappers that died/They tell you he never lied, n-gga,” he raps over The Alchemist‘s propulsive, drum-heavy production.
The Fayetteville native spends the rest of his almost two-minute cameo strengthening his case, rapping, “N-gga want me on a song, he gon’ see the wrath of the reaper/I’m prolly gon’ go to Hell if Jesus ask for a feature.”
Benny The Butcher, who doesn’t lack confidence on the mic either, demands his own flowers while running point on the heavyweight collaboration.
“They wanna know what I brought to Griselda, I say validity/They askin’ what work y’all n-ggas put in, I’m like, ‘What didn’t we?'” he spits, before adding, “Besides Con’ and West, tell me who else I gotta respect/’Cause I’m kinda perplexed, it’s ’bout time that I got my respect.”
J. Cole‘s “best rapper alive” boast comes off the back of a big year for the Roc Nation rep, who released his sixth studio album The Off-Season in May. The project topped the Billboard 200 and went platinum while receiving a Best Rap Album nomination at the forthcoming 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
The album also earned three more Grammy nominations (Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance and Best Melodic Rap Performance) thanks to the Lil Baby-assisted “Pride is the Devil” and “My Life” featuring 21 Savage and Morray.
However, Cole’s bold claim somewhat runs counter to the sentiments he expressed on the vulnerable “Pipe Down” freestyle he dropped in September, which heard him conceding to Drake and Kendrick Lamar‘s greatness.
“Success is in the effort/So if a n-gga tried his hardest/I’m at peace knowing God ain’t deal it in this group of cards for me/Some people say I’m running third/They threw the bronze at me/Behind Drake and Dot/Yeah them n-ggas is superstars to me,” he rapped over Drizzy’s Certified Lover Boy beat.
Up next for J. Cole is The Fall Off, which will conclude “The Fall Off Era.” As for Benny The Butcher, his eagerly anticipated Tana Talk 4 LP is set to arrive later this year via Def Jam/Griselda.
Much like the previous installment that arrived back in 2018, TT4 is produced entirely by The Alchemist and Daringer. With a host of other respected names likely to appear on the tracklist, Benny is already looking ahead to 2022’s year-end awards.
“Album of the year. Who wanna bet me right now?” he said in a recent Instagram clip. “Album of the year for consideration before it came out, before you heard one single. I got 10 bands to anybody’s five, I got 20 bands to anybody’s 10. Who wanna take that bet?”