J. Cole’s “Snow on tha Bluff” Lyrics Meaning

J. Cole is considered one of the utmost woke rappers in the music industry. So when social unrest gripped the streets of America in the wake of the seemingly racist-police murder of George Floyd, many people, as alluded throughout this song, were waiting for him to respond. And “Snow on the Bluff” is said response.

A Humble Approach to the Issue

First off it must be stated that for the most part he takes a very-humble approach. In fact what he basically says from the onset is that despite being perceived as a conscious artist, he actually needed a wake-up call before springing into action concerning the aforementioned issue. And fandom has concluded that the singular person who most provided this impetus is a fellow rapper called Noname who, in a roundabout way, criticized Cole and other rappers whose “whole discographies be about Black plight” for their inactivity amidst the protests. 

And throughout the first half of the song, Jermaine seems to acknowledge Noname in this regard, without ever actually namedropping her. Instead he addresses a “young lady” who, amidst criticizing certain celebrities, he feels is ‘talking about him’. And upon realizing that her criticisms are indeed “valid”, he gave them his ear.

However in acknowledging her sentiment he also seems to imply that the situation at hand is not the type which calls for spontaneous, emotionally-driven action. In other words, the whole scenario is steeped in a deep, centuries-long history. Or as the rapper metaphorical puts it, “freedom [is] like trees” which “can’t grow… overnight”.

Injects in some Aggression

And whereas Cole, as aforementioned, takes a humble disposition at first, by the time all is said and done, we can say he is rather passive-aggressive. For he counter-criticizes Noname and others who have basically accused him of being a hypocrite. And what he fundamentally says in that regard is that instead of focusing on his actions, they should rather be concerned with their own. Or stated otherwise, he realizes that a lot of work needs to be done in the name of acquiring true freedom and edification for Black people.  Therefore he feels that’s where their energies should instead be vested. Moreover he seemingly recognizes that such massive level of protesting is something new to them all and as such is a learning experience for him as well as others.

Meaning of “Snow on tha Bluff”

And his concluding sentiment brings us to the title of the song. And that is internally J. Cole does in fact feel as if he “ain’t doing enough” for his people. Yes, he may run into the occasional fan who bigs him up like some type of icon of Black freedom. But in his heart, he doesn’t perceive himself as such. This is largely due to the fact that his income inherently puts him above the masses. So he concludes his lengthy verse by exclaiming that he “feel(s) faker than Snow on tha Bluff”.  “Snow on tha Bluff” is actually the name of a movie which was released in 2011. And in the context he makes that statement, he is basically saying that just as some viewers thought the movie was real even though it was fictional, he likewise feels the same in relation to the aforementioned types of fans.

Bridge and Outro

As for the bridge, we can say it serves as a passage based on positivity thinking. Simply put, the vocalist is acknowledging that “the sun is shining today”, despite the negativity which permeates throughout the song.

And then the outro once again re-introduces the idea of J. Cole being cognizant of his own shortcoming and limitations, as in someone who understands he still has some significant growing to do. Moreover he seemingly re-acknowledges the type of negativity, i.e. “painful memories”, which Black people in general have to deal with on a regular basis.

Facts about “Snow on tha Bluff”

“Snow on that Bluff” was written and produced by J. Cole along with Kelvin Wooten.

Roc Nation and J. Cole’s own label, Dreamville Records, put this song out, as a standalone, surprise single on June 16th, 2020. And it actually marks the first solo track which Cole dropped in 2020.

For the record, J. Cole had in fact been involved in protesting in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. And based on the timing of his participation, it may have very well been in direct response to Noname’s aforementioned criticisms.

Also interesting to note is that Cole and Noname actually collaborated before, on a 2015 track entitled “Warm Enough”.

Two days after the release of this song, Noname responded directly to it via a song titled “Song 33“. A significant percentage of lyrics of said song saw Noname severely criticizing J. Cole.

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