When J. Cole apologized for returning fire against Kendrick Lamar on his song "7 Minute Drill" in April, his own fans collectively rolled their eyes. Now, it seems they might be changing their tune. J. Cole is far from the first rapper to apologize in the midst of a brewing rap feud, but his decision to wave the white flag at the 2024 Dreamville Festival in April jeopardized his credibility as a top-ranking MC in the eyes of many supporters.

"I was conflicted because I know my heart and I know how I feel about my peers," Cole told the roaring Dreamville crowd at the time. "These two n***as [Kendrick Lamar and Drake] that I've been blessed to stand beside in the game, let alone chase they greatness. So, I felt conflicted, because I know I really don't feel no way, but the world wanna see blood...So, I say all of that to say, in my spirit of trying to get this music out, I'm not even gonna lie to y'all, I moved in a way that I feel spiritually feel bad on."

J. Cole Is Criticized by His Supporters

Cole faced the wrath of his fans almost immediately from, with some of his own peers even turning against him. Joe Budden and Rapsody both said the apology was unacceptable, and Game blamed Cole's apology for helping to water down rap. Meanwhile, some rappers, like Jadakiss, expressed a mix of confusion and pride over the decision.

"The MC with a competitive nature part of me is upset at that young man while the mental wellness, 'take care of your spirit' part of me is very proud of him," Jadakiss said while a guest on The Stephen A. Smith Show in April. "He just confused the s**t out of my frequencies, but I'ma always go with the take care of you spirit and please y'all self before you worry about pleasing others."

Meanwhile, podcast host Mal of New Rory & Mal was furious over J. Cole's apology, claiming the apology would "destroy his brand." "Everything you have is because n***as believe you one of them n***as," Mal said in April. "We believe you one of the elite."

Additionally, there's an ongoing rumor that ScHoolboy Q spoke with Cole at Dreamville Fest, and that he seemingly warned Cole the beef was going to get nasty very quickly. While just a rumor, it's true that Kendrick Lamar and Drake's vitriolic feud became consumed by disturbing allegations of domestic violence and pedophilia within a matter of days. Now fans are starting to change their minds about Cole's early departure.

Read More: Kendrick Lamar's "Euphoria" Is in Line With the Great Diss Tracks 

J. Cole Fans Appear to Support Cole Backing Out

As rap fans watched in awe as Drake and Kendrick Lamar traded dozens of shots over the weekend, from May 3 to May 5, the rap beef became embroiled in a very personal and disturbing allegations very quickly. Kendrick said Drake was once again hiding another child, this time an 11-year-old daughter, while Drizzy accused K-Dot of beating his fiancée. Kendrick called Drake a pedophile on multiple occasions and claimed the Canadian rapper liked to have sex with teen girls. The feud has become increasingly acrimonious, which has caused J. Cole fans to start to admit that their favorite rapper may have dodged a bullet.

"J.Cole probably praying to that one spiritual being that told him to apologise because f**k me the bullet he dodged is in-f**kin-sane," wrote one supporter on X, formerly known as Twitter, in May.

"J Cole I would like to humbly apologise to your apology," wrote another fan that same month. "You made the right decision backing out… this is PANDEMONIUM."

The collective verdict seems to stem from the idea that Cole wouldn't necessarily have gotten lyrically bested by Kendrick, but that some unsavory aspects of the Dreamville leader may have come to light if he decided to step into the ring. J. Cole may have realized if he got into a heated lyrical battle with K-Dot, that the skeletons in his closet could be exposed.

"Kendrick now is a wife beater, Drake now is a pedo and has a secret daughter," wrote one supporter. "J.Cole nothing on his name just a friendly apology so them don’t expose his a$$ too. smart move."

The sentiment also stems from the collective shock and awe rap fans experienced over the weekend. As Kendrick and Drake's feud quickly spiraled from a friendly battle of lyrical wits into direct criticism of the other person's character and morals (let's not forget that Kendrick told Drake's mom he wished his son would die on "Meet the Grahams"), it's left many fans uneasy about who they're supporting.

"kendrick beat women and drake is a pedo???" wrote one critic on X. "I need to know. Also women being abused as punch lines in a rap beef continues to show the ways people are complicit in this violence and what’s going on in the industry. the whole world is listening to this and yet…"

These monumental allegations need to be investigated and addressed in a more critical light, but in the meantime, Cole fans are relieved their GOAT gets a clean slate, for now.

Read More: Easter Eggs in Kendrick Lamar's Drake Diss Track Explained

Revisit J. Cole's divisive apology to Kendrick Lamar below.

Watch J. Cole Apologize for Kendrick Lamar's Diss Track

Listen to J. Cole's "7 Minute Drill"

See All the Visual Easter Eggs in Drake and Kendrick Lamar's Lyrical Battle

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