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#J. Cole Spits Verse Of The Year Contender On Lil Yachty Collab

J. Cole has extended his hot streak of show-stealing verses on a surprise new collaboration with Lil Yachty, delivering what some fans are already calling the verse of the year.

“The Secret Recipe” arrived without warning on Friday (September 29), and hears the Atlanta and North Carolina rap stars trading verses over an ethereal beat that evokes Harry Fraud‘s “Bird on a Wire” (but was actually produced by Rawbone and Yachty himself).

Lil Boat kicks things off with one of his most focused lyrical displays thus far, declaring himself “the secret recipe” behind some of your favorite rappers’ sound and style while also addressing the critics who “refuse to act like I ain’t shift the sound, like I ain’t push the culture.”

Cole World then picks up the baton and spits a clever yet cutting verse that takes aim at everything from the media and fake woke activists who “profit off of racial stress” to studio gangstas.

“Studio steppers moving extra on songs, fakin’ rep/ Only breaking bad in the lab, thought y’all was making meth/ N-ggas making threats and I laugh, that’s ’cause you ain’t a threat/ Don’t ask how I feel about no rappers, shit, they okay, I guess,” he raps.

Injecting some humor into the bars-fest, the Dreamville leader jokingly admits that his popularity isn’t quite on par with that of his close friend and competition, Drake, before referencing Cam’ron and Ma$e‘s dedication to the “pause” game.

“Incoming call, press the button, the one that say accept/ He FaceTimed to ask for a feature and saw the face of death/ I’m on your song, your streams going up, not quite the Drake effect/ But don’t complain, bitch, take what you get and cut the label check,” he spits.

“My table set, I dine on your favorite, one verse will take his breath/ I probably put more n-ggas on pause than Cam and Mason Beth.”

Cole signs off his standout verse by declaring himself “the greatest yet.”

While that lofty claim is up for debate, plenty of fans — including prominent Hip Hop figures and journalists — are already making the case for J. Cole’s “The Secret Recipe” verse being the best lyrical performance of 2023.

“J COLE WENT CRAZYYYYYYYYY on this Secret Recipe Track. That n-gga need to DROP MORE OFTEN,” Akademiks wrote on X shortly after the song’s midnight release.

“J. Cole is on a what… 4 or 5 year streak now of just absolutely disgusting verses, especially features,” GQ‘s Frazier Tharpe noted.

Billboard‘s Carl Lamarre added: “This is the same man that’s considered third place behind Drake and Kendrick. Shit crazy. It’s unfortunate because any other class, he would be the top n-gga and deservingly so. Regardless, Cole a first ballot hall of famer and top 10-15 ever to do it.”

“No exaggeration this could be one of Cole’s best verses ever,” another listener claimed.

While J. Cole has yet to put out any solo music this year outside of his contributions to the Dreamville-curated Creed III soundtrack, “The Secret Recipe” is just his latest cameo in ’23 following Lil Durk’s “All My Life,” Gucci Mane’s “There I Go,” Bas’ “Passport Bros,” Burna Boy’s “Thanks” and J-Hope’s “On the Street.”

He also gave Summer Walker a sweet “audio hug” on the intro to her Clear 2: Soft Life project, which dropped in May.

Cole’s collaborative streak dates back to 2019, when he shunned the “no features” approach he had taken on albums like 2014 Forest Hills Drive, 4 Your Eyez Only and KOD. Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation, released that summer, featured everyone from T.I. and DaBaby to Vince Staples and Smino.

In an editorial he wrote for The Players’ Tribune the following year, the Grammy-winner explained what inspired his change of heart when it comes to working with his peers.

“A combination of a competitive ego mixed with a deep fear of rejection had kept me from collaborating with peers that I respected all of these years and prevented me from building real friendships with them,” he admitted. “I had spent my career closed off. I didn’t want that to be the case forever.”

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