J.Cole Apologizes Over Autism Lyric

3rd Annual Philly 4th Of July Jam

J.Cole recently found himself on the wrong side of The Anti-Bullying Alliance. On Drake’s song “Jodeci Freestyle”, he spit: “I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded”.

Shortly afterward, the group launched a petition requesting the lyric be removed. This evening, Cole addressed the situation and apologized for his insensitivity via his blog.

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

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71 Comments
  • Jacob

    I bet he’ll still end up saying retarded though

  • CruelThing

    See that’s how you fucking handle it

  • The Association of Chronos

    Another rapper apologizing. . . . . .

    Em….

    Hurry up and drop something and show these rappers what freedom of speech still means.

  • The Association of Chronos

    Shit….

    Posted too soon without reading how Cold broke it down in the first section.

    I’ll take my L with pride.

    But still:

    That is what I meant. The minute they start censoring comedy tho is when people should really start to worry. That to me is truly the last freedom of expression. Books also but, eh. A good percent of people don’t read anymore so, its whatever….

  • Mic Tyson

    FUCK APOLOGIZING!!
    Especially to people who don’t even listen to your music! Got soccer moms n shit signing petitions cuz somebody said a fucking WORD, this oversensitivity and fake outrage being pumped by news outlets and people in general is a result of the PUSS-A-FICATION of America! Everything is an outrage, everyone is offended…FUCK OUTTA HERE!
    Wheres these people when action stars in block buster movies curse, say derogatory things and fucking KILL PEOPLE….?? Ohhhhh cuz its just a Movie right? RIGHT, its art! So now a bunch of pussy ass people who are looking to stir shit up and “boycott” every fucking thing wanna start combing thru rappers lyrics to find something they can be “upset” about….FUCK OUTTA HERE!
    I would’a told them “I aint mean it like that, BUT you can take it how you want!….I aint gonna sacrifice my artistic license to pacify a bunch of muthafuckas who get offended by WORD! *GASP* the outrage?!?!?! Listen don’t buy my album and don’t think you get to dictate who can say what…..EAT A DICK YA RETARDED BISHHHHHH YA”

    wait lemme apologize cuz someone might get offended *rolls eyes* FOH!!!

  • df

    who next

  • Nathaniel

    i appreciate the sincerity…. i do. but man, i hate seeing/hearing rappers apologize. for any lyric. it’s a slippery slope. ain’t nobody out here apologizing to these women for all the misogyny. how does a man not feel ashamed of that?

    see? that’s how it starts getting tricky. before you know it niggas will be rapping aaron carter style if everybody gets to cry foul and get an apology. but again, i do respect his sincerity, though.

    i wonder if these institutions and organizations go after the will ferrells and adam sandlers, zach galifianakis, seth macfarlane, etc. jack black. and all these types of comedians and comedic films. they have no filter whatsoever. sacha baron cohen, the borat dude. they ain’t apologizing or taking career L’s for shit they do/say/put in film.

  • Nathaniel

    if i was cole i woulda took the jay z route and never even addressed the shit until the next album came out–on wax. hov been winning his whole career with that formula. now cole gon be watching what he say.

    i’m surprised the gays didn’t come out for that “faggot” line on villuminati….

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  • oj Da Cornball

    firstly, his letter is exactly what he claim it isn.t

    2nd, uh, yeah every offense demands apology. Who the F he thinks he is?

    And if rappers have supports who comes in various forms, background and out there being reckless they must be held accountable at ALL TIMES. F this dude for thinking otherwise.

  • oj Da Cornball

    Now onto the reason why these coon rappers are forced to apologize is cause they sold themselves to corporations for deals, endorsements etc..
    Much as I despise Kanye and bump non of hsi music, he’s right in new slave (tho no one forces a rapper to sign a deal like slaves are forced) corporations own these monkeys once they make a deal with them.

    Em never had to conform or care cause he had no deal outside music. oh , he’s white too.
    You will notice the media pressure doesn’t work on brother lynch hung, NWA at one point, P.E. or other presently controversial artist that DOES NOT align themselves with corporation.
    Yet, i’m sto surprise the things come out of Jay-z mouth and still make deals. U know he hangs out a t Bohemian grove. lol

  • Devante

    Lol y’all should have posted the video of the autistic rapper dissing him..

  • http://L CAlejo

    Man rappers shouldn’t apologize for their lyrics period. There is this called the freedom speech. You get dropped by sponsors you get dropped fuck it. People need to stop taking everything out of context. Although autism doesn’t cause retardation so cole was wrong for that.

  • The Brain Trust

    What did I say guys??

    I really hate that my prediction is coming true (as far as censorship in rap).

    i don’t think it’s coincidence that only rappers are being targeted either.

    J. Cole is VERY weak for this. As far as i’m concerned, if you’re gonna say something on record, you better stand behind it.

    The saddest part about this is that, millions of Americans don’t understand the concept of ‘freedom of speech’.

  • frrank wte
  • drizzy’s right hand man

    somebody wrote that letter for him lol

  • bored at work

    Asperger and Autism are both serious menta heath probems and saying they are retarded is very disrespectful and stupid.

  • Musikal

    I really hope this censoring shit does not become a trend, Rap and Hip-Hop needs to be raw and uncut. Artists need to be able to say what they want when they want without any repercussions. It is freedom of speech.

  • thesportsreporterny

    “That’s retarded, sir!” – Rachel Jeantel

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  • The Brain Trust

    @bored at work

    Shut up you autistic retard.

  • STINKMEANER

    yeah this clearly isn’t an apology about losing a deal, which makes me think, cole did this by himself, because he really feels sorry.

    i do think lyrics/jokes, etc should be free to say whatever they want, but cole is a creator too and if genuinely feels like he said something he regrets, then it is his choice to apologize or not.

    still, like other people are saying, it is hard to take any apology seriously when every rap song, even other cole songs, say something that will offend -someone-.

    for some reason, people are so eager to get offended. its like why they wake up in the morning, looking to get their feelings hurt so they can complain about it. not sure when people got so sensitive.

  • The black robin thicke

    These niggas trying to get promo for the album!! Who gives a fuck. *never feel sorry for a white person* that’s what I was always told!! Haha little retard

  • Community Against Racism

    @oj Da Cornball ‘Em never had to conform or care cause he had no deal outside music. oh , he’s white too’. That is such a racial statement. U saw all the protests made against Em. If u can’t youtube it u can watch the cleaning out my closet video again.

    Waiting on my man Em to come out and spray the rap game with the new album.

  • 456 headCrAcK

    Ok

  • JustMyOpinion

    Imagine……Eminem apologizing……he’d be apologizing for every single on all his albums.

    Dear rappers; this is an art form and art is open to interpretation. Stop it. Some will get offended, if a WORD is in the dictionary, then guess what? It’s usable.

  • joe

    STOP APOLOGIZING, this is hip hop, if someone is offended then don’t listen, hip hop is not a fucking friendly culture and is not meant to be controlled like this, it starts with shit like this then soon the will attack you for everything you say.

  • StarFox64

    hip hop has become gay as fuck, this guy really had to apologize for a play on words?? that was a chief keef diss imo cuz he has assburgers..

  • yeaHOE

    Many of you don’t understand what freedom of speech means.

    The line was mean and insensitive, it’s not as if he was taking a stand on some issue and his opinion ruffled feathers and now he’s forced to backtrack. That would be censorship and an infringement on freedom of speech.

    Nothing wrong with rappers apologizing in this kind of situation.

  • J Nasty

    anyone who is mad about rappers apologizing completely missed the point.

    I’m glad to see that Cole is a man and not just an entertainer.

    I love hiphop, but if you think hiphop is bigger than being a descent human being, then you are ignorant.

  • Dashing

    The Rick Ross line was stupid and seemed to endorse roofie-ing and raping women.
    The Wayne line disrespected the memory of a child beaten to death for being black.

    They both were right to apologize, even though they were only doing so because of pressure from sponsors..

    I don’t think that pressure existed from the autism folks on J. Cole. Just like there’s no real pressure for Yeezy to change that Parkinson’s line. So Cole decided to apologize on his own because he realized the impact of his words after he got some feedback from fans/listeners.It’s clear that he wrote it and is sincere…There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Rap is art and artists can say whatever they want to say, but critics/fans have a right to respond also. So if you’re gonna something controversial it should at least be something worth defending and I don’t think any of the comments are worth defending….

  • Chronic

    @dashing cole didn’t apologize on his own, some mother with an autistic son made a huge deal about it when her son asked her why cole said retarded right after he said autistic. He’s trying to cover his ass just like wayne and Ross.

    And he shouldn’t apologize for anything. The definition of retarded is “less advanced mentally”. Which is exactly what Down syndrome and autism would fall under.

  • CM PUNK

    Damn that means that Eminem can’t come out with another album I guess cuz he’ll be apologizing for all his songs. Let these rappers live! smh…

  • DeAnna Smith

    I liked J. Cole’s music. While he is talented and an artist, I do not believe he is apologetic for his ignorance. I believe he simply is performing damage control. To be truly sincere, he would not have waited to apologize, furthermore he makes no mention of retracting his insult to people diagnosed as retarded. The two are not the same. As a parent of a child diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, there’s so many specific diagnosis, I am so offended beyond belief. I only wish you not to have children under those diagnosis, nor anyone close to you. Whichever label you’re on, as far as I am concerned, carries your weight.

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  • Dashing

    @Chronic, I think you would acknowledge that a mother with an autistic mom does not have the same weight as corporations like Reebok and Mountain Dew. He could have ignored her and wouldn’t have gotten any flack for it. Just like Kanye ignored the critics about the Parkinson’s line.

    The point is he absolutely didn’t HAVE to apologize for the line, he chose to. That’s the difference. There was not a crosswind of pressure on it like the Wayne and Ross situations.

    (Btw, “retarded” started out as a medical term but then got transformed and used as an insult and has since been removed from medical usage. So it only exists now for insulting people. If the man wants to apologize he can.)

  • Nathaniel

    of all the mocking disrespectful, negative, degrading, offensive, dehumanizing things black rappers say about black people–men and women…

    this nigga j. cole only feels ashamed for the autistic line. that goes to show you how little we value our own existence.

    moving forward, he’ll be more sensitive and careful about what he says about autism, and other diseases, but not what he says about the black woman. not what he says about “niggas” oh, no… all that’s justified and okay. it’s cool. harm done? so, what? it’s just a buncha niggas ill-affected.

    and you can say “but black people do… they can help this, or that”. but we have a disease, too. a psychological one. and it’s been much more destructive than autism is. this is why i say he should’ve never apologized. now, all of these truths will have to be put up for scrutiny. just a thought.

  • Nathaniel

    and i agree with dashing (i often do) but i still see a much deeper issue. i know it’s one most aren’t interested in or sensitive to. and i’m not blasting cole, because he does make effort to throw substance in his music. but the looming issue with rap still remains.

    maybe these little instances are a part of a cleansing process hip hop is undergoing and we can’t even see it yet. ultimately, these issues, the more cats get called to task and they respond this way, are going to be on the table like never before. like “well, okay… now that you’re sorry about that, what you gotta say about this??” = stress and pressure and more thoughtfulness overall in rap music.

    maybe…

  • Dashing

    @Nathaniel, word. I agree with you too. It’s definitely a slippery slope, but maybe one that needs to happen. I feel two ways about it. It’s art and sometimes it’s offensive as it is for non-black entertainment (see Tarantinto, Andrew Dice Clay, Marilyn Manson etc.) but it’s also intrinsically linked to black culture in a way that their art isn’t and when the most pervasive form of hip hop is rooted in lyrical content that is arguably way more offensive than the autism line, black people get represented that way…and we often emulate a lot of it ourselves. But we love our ignorant, ratchetness. More black people fuck with Bossip and Mediatakeout and Worldstar than Tavis Smiley or Cornel West or Melissa Harris Perry. Shit, I enjoy the ratchet nonesense too, albeit in small doses. You’re right. It’s a much deeper issue, but maybe if more artists are being made accountable for their lyrics it make the music more thoughtful. Or at least increase the balance so the thoughtful music is at least out there…

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  • Nathaniel

    @dashing

    exactly. nothing to add.

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  • Jax

    Nice professional response.

  • fh

    Drake is a legend

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  • Chronic

    I’m just saying when I first heard the song that lyric jumped out to me most. Not cause I thought it was offensive, but because it was clever ass word play and a incredible rhyme scheme

  • Johnny Ryall

    Only problem I see is it’s weak bars. How bout?

    I paint pictures with these words so I’m verbally artistic.
    You ain’t understand you’re cerebrally autistic.
    Bottom’s where I started and
    when I spit that paint drips the flow is just retarted.

  • Yeezus Christ

    my dad calls people retards on xbox, fuck outta here soft ass humans such pussies, dumbass retards

  • fastflipper

    Why he did it…smh

    The problem is that everybody is about $$$

  • Chronic

    @johny. Because what he says flows way better and is such a more intricate rhyme scheme

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  • Just Saying

    I’m sorry, there must be a mix-up
    You want me to fix up lyrics while the President gets his dick sucked?
    Fuck that, take drugs, rape sluts
    Make fun of gay clubs, men who wear make-up
    Get aware, wake up, get a sense of humor
    Quit tryna censor music, this is for your kid’s amusement (The kids!)
    But don’t blame me when little Eric jumps off of the terrace
    You shoulda been watching him, apparently you ain’t parents

  • Judge Dredd

    Faggot spineless rappers apologizing for their lack of intellect and common sense.

    Clearly his St. Johns University degree did not give him the foresight to consider and reconsider his lyrics and language prior to recording them. Meaning stop bragging about how you finished college, cause you clearly did not learn anything nor raise your moral standard.

    Secondly, it’s a rap lyric and as an artist you don’t apologize for your art. It makes you look spineless and sets the precedent that rappers can be pressured to alter or backtrack on lyrics that are meant to entertain.

    I CAN NO LONGER STAND FOR THE PUSSIFICATION OF THE HIP HOP CULTURE…

  • creo

    What happen 2freedom of speech wtf. I hate when ne body says im sorry. Cnt take back what u say.say what u mean and mean what u say. If dats the case what bout all the ppl dat lose they lives n are addicted 2drugs. I dnt c ne1 saying they sorry for bragging bout selling dope,violence n killing. When 95 percent never sold a rock or bust they gun. It is what it is. I remember when em said hate faggots the answer is yes on marshall mathers lp.nowadays he would have 2 say he sorry 4 it.fuck dat

  • creo

    Even n the NFL N NBA when u say sumthing a PR release follows. when victor cruz said the hood gonna get zimmerman he gotta apolygize. fucking corperations got mf by the nutz.hate dat shit they own mf souls for the almighty dollar. i miss groups like P.E., NWA, GHETTO BOYS. artist like pac, old school ice cube etc

  • NovaKaine

    Funny how everyone preachin about freedom of speech on this post but lose their mind when it comes to Trayvon Martin

    Funny how that works

    KR Mack ((official video)) TRUNK FULLA BANGAZ

    If you have a minute hit the like button and drop a comment

  • jayzuz

    really not feelin all deez fuckin people feelin salty over lyrics, on my fuckin nerves now actually.

  • ocizzle

    this shit is straight up retarded. and by up i mean down’s like syndrome

  • jakesask

    People say a lot of mean things in all kinds of situations. Hip hop (like all art) can reflect/represent that reality, or it can rise above it and educate. Both approaches matter, but maybe if we strive to improve reality, the reflection aspect won’t hurt as many people.

    Does Cole really want autistic people and their families to feel bad? I doubt it. So what’s wrong with apologizing when he realizes it was an insensitive remark? What on earth is so wrong with trying to be a nice guy? Everyone doesn’t have to be so bloody hard all the time. He’s not apologizing for his beliefs or even for his art–he’s apologizing for an unnecessary insult.

    Hip hop is awesome at so many things. If the stories and the emotions and the lyrical puzzles and the beats and the flows can’t survive a few apologies, I’ve overestimated the music and the culture.

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  • 456 headCrAcK
  • flllexxq

    man… DRAKE needs to sign this kid. hes making th emusic KANYE SHOULD BE MAKING smh. http://soundcloud.com/love_at_first_sound/recklessyouth

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  • B

    @ Johnny Ryall

    THAT SHIT WAS WACK. YOUR KIDDING RIGHT? FOREAL HAHAHA

  • Capricorn Religion

    @Just Saying

    Lol…..

    Man. . . .

    Can you image if Em tried to come out with “The Marshall Mathers” now in a updated fashion with everything current, yet the lyrics still the same?

    Ha. That album wouldn’t even make it out the studio

  • asdasdas

    If I were autistic… and conscious of it (idk if thats possible) I dont think I would want people getting offended like that just to promote they’re fuckin cause. Common sense should be able to dictate each individual what is right and what is wrong. Fuck the homos that “get offended” to make a buck and fuck the homo rappers who apologize.
    We went from Eminem shitting on Christoper Reeves to this bullshit. HipHop is gay as fuck these days. And gay people know what Im talking about when Im saying that so theres no need to get offended.

  • Sarge

    Another Dumb Ass Rapper that needs his ass kicked in badly.
    You suck and take the stupid clothes back to KMART you loser.

  • http://peonyisland78.wordpress.com carywashington25

    Good job, Cole.

  • That Guy

    Handled with class.