J. Cole Apologizes For Autism Lyric On “Jodeci Freestyle”

J. Cole becomes the latest rapper to apologize for an offensive lyric, with the North Carolina artist penning a letter days after the Anti-Bullying Alliance called him out for his words regarding autism on his verse on Drake’s “Jodeci Freestyle.”

“Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin’ started / I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded,” was the lyric in question, which was condemned by many activists, who started an online petition seeking a formal apology from both Cole and Drake, which has received over 4,500 signatures since July 13.

Cole took to his blog to issue an apology, saying, in part, “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.” He also acknowledged other rappers who have recently gotten in trouble for their lyrics, with both Lil Wayne (Mountain Dew) and Rick Ross (Reebok) parting ways with endorsement deals over verses alluding to Emmett Till and rape, respectively.

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

Read the full letter below:

“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”

Others have responded to Cole’s lyric as well, including autistic poet Russell Lehman, who penned his own response to the song, and uploaded a video to YouTube (below).

  • BornSinnerColeWorld

    An autistic dude dissing J. Cole… Cole can’t win here but at least he stepped up an apologized. Dude dissing on cole though was not necessary. It’s like the Diggy “beef” ya know? lol

    • Droo Xavier

      I been dissed cole last year and last month nigga Im a skitz tho haha certified #factsonly

  • prof x

    i know how you get rid of autism. just put the devil on him and see who wins. smh.

  • Stone

    People need to get over there sorry ass handicaps and move on. Hell now Autism has a voice. So cause I have asthma I should go back 10 years and sue every nigga that used it in a METAPHOR oh wow. So here is the real issue how intelligent are you if you can not understand a metaphor. RETARDED. it was nice of Cole to apologize but I would not have. Kanye would NOT have apologized for shit. and he has said out right that white people dont not like black people. But nobody’s signing petitions to fix that(a real problem) A man kills a kid in cold blood with no recourse because of the corrupt law.(a real problem) lol.

  • Droo Xavier

    Fuck all that COle #FactsONly #NewRules NIggas is whack and you said it perfectly fuck them bitch ass niggas man..

  • Marcus Morris

    J. Cole. One your verse on Jodeci Freestyle was f***ing Great. FUCK what others are trying to say about the words you use in you songs. I did not hear you say anything about retarded people. I hear you say to other rappers that they are not artistic they are autistic, retarded. That is not worded towered anybody but other rappers. J.Cole you give the people line after line of a spectacular verse. You even Killed Drake on his track! What are you apologizing for? Because what happened to Rick Ross and Reebok. When you start talking about getting chicks that are Mollied then that is a different story. Calling other rappers retarded is not NO BIG DEAL! WHy? I am the C.E.O. of Bad Azz Entertainment I have all Hip Hop artists on my team right now, and looking for others. I am Gay. Yes I said It for the first time publicly. I wish it did not have to come to this however someone has to stand up for Straight people and what is being said and done in America right now. I don’t have any problem with any of my friends saying, “that’s gay” or use of the work fag. Before today I just informed the people that I worked with. Now It’s a Big ass problem I have with people making statements that I as a black man don’t care for and as a gay black man I don’t care for. If anyone has a problem with what I am about to tell the world about Gays and their sensitivity then you can take it up with me one on one. Gays and the word fag and calling people gay if you’re acting gay I am going to call it gay and I will say “stop acting like a fag”. Why Because it is true. The one thing Americans are not saying about gay men which is one of the reason I have never been with a man is because the majority of gay males lie. How? Well, think about it. You know a guy that has been gay for years that everyone knows about and yet he lies and says he’s not gay and has girl friends and what not. Then later on say yea I am gay, starts queening out and talking about how many other people are gay or who they think is gay everything that they talk about is a gay thing. If that is what being gay is about. Fuck that Ill stay alone and deal with it when I get to God. Look I don’t know about others but Gay is a choice not like black or white. I have never seen a baby born with gay tendencies. I worked in healthcare and doctors can show you brain scans of anything to get their point across the one thing that people are forgetting they have the license to Practice, meaning if more proof positive information is found they will change their opinion from the last statement they had made. Some gay men want to walk around looking at males like some males look at females in the club; like a piece of meat. I don’t do it and neither should any Gay man. The Majority of the world is straight. Respect it. As for this whole insensitive shit. Life says Fuck You all the time not because is wants to but, because the rules that are set in place. If you cannot handle life, something is wrong with you as a person. I understand that all people deserve respect. That is where Love comes in. See I don’t stand for gay rights, but if people want to fight for it fine by me. You like it I love it. When we as a people in a Free America with the right of free speech can’t use words against people something is wrong. I know, what about being called a Nigger or a Bitch. The real question is this: Are you one? From every american business to every american FREE speech should be given and respect, and should be given to those that chose to express themselves. See when people were marching for civil rights they were called every name in the book but a child of God. To stop and get to the point, as for myself, I do not have any gay friends due to the fact I don’t want to talk about gay shit all the time. I like my straight friend and respect them and will ride and Die for all of them. I don’t like that gay men want to be able to hit on straight men and not get cussed out for it. I respect males like Frank Ocean that aren’t running around promoting some fake gay agenda. Yes I said it G.L.A.D. I do not apologize for it either. I can’t stand that people can’t speak their minds in America anymore without someone crying about it instead of looking at it as a grown-up. Words are words. The pen is mightier then the sword when it comes to writing Laws and the Bible, etc. What ever happened to the statement, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”? — via XXL Magazine