Violence Has Always Been A Classical Anthem

From our latest Mighty Writer, Steven L. Scott II: J. Cole is raw, strong and controversial

Steven L. Scott II is in 10th grade at Mastery Charter School (Thomas Campus) and involved with Mighty Writers, a nonprofit writing program for city kids seven to 17. The Philly Post occasionally features the work of Mighty Writers students.

J. Cole is one of the most lyrical artists of the new generation of rappers. This Fayetteville, N.C., native started rapping at age 11 and by age 15 he had notebooks filled with lyrics. Without beats to lay his new material on, he started producing his own music using a beat machine that his mother brought him.

He doesn’t make music that praises guns and drugs, or make ignorant anthems or fast-tempo beats, and he doesn’t make standard club music. Instead, his music is raw—with soulful melodies and an anthem people can relate to.

J. Cole has gotten some bad reviews on websites from people who say his material isn’t classical enough. But throughout history, violence has been a classic theme of life. In the song “See World” (from his mixtape, Friday Night Lights), he states: “That girl was five years old that they just murdered / and did some wicked s#!+ to her that was unheard of / you f@%$ing coward / ain’t got to tell them go to hell / cause that’s the s#!+ that make them other n!%%@s sick in jail / so you gon’ feel it.”

This quote describes the anger J. Cole feels toward a mother that prostituted her five-year-old daughter to a grown man who ended up killing the little girl and leaving her body on the side of the road. His song makes people think about their younger sibling being in the little girl’s position, and that makes people angry and upset.

I believe J. Cole was brave to address this particular type of violent situation because it could be happening anywhere, and a song like “See World” makes him somewhat of an activist against child abuse and molestation. Rapping about a five-year-old being raped and murdered may make some people upset, but it has also set J. Cole apart from other artists. Because his lyrics are true to life, I still believe that J. Cole has put out classic material.