TDE’s Reason Weighs In On Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole Comparisons, Foresees Shift in Dynamics

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In a recent discussion on the New Rory & Mal podcast, TDE artist Reason provided his perspective on the ongoing comparisons between Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. Reflecting on the 10th anniversary of Lamar’s notable “Control” verse, the Carson native recalled how the Compton rapper’s stature was arguably superior to several of the artists mentioned in the verse, barring Drake. “I think Cole and him was around tied at that point, but you could argue he was bigger than Cole because he had good kid, m.A.A.d city. Cole didn’t have Born Sinner out yet,” Reason explained.

Reason then turned his focus toward the evolving trajectory of the two artists. He ventured into forecasting a potential shift in the balance of influence, suggesting that J. Cole could emerge as the more prominent figure following the release of his forthcoming album, “The Fall Off.” Reason attributed this forecast not to a matter of superiority but rather to the cumulative impact of Cole’s consistent activity and engagement with his fan base.

“I think when The Fall Off drops — ’cause TDE fans are f*cking crazy — not ’cause he’s better than Dot, but just because he’s been more active. I feel like when The Fall Off drops, the fruits of his labor from being so active are gonna show.”

Reason further suggested that ongoing debates among fans regarding the artists’ relative greatness could be subject to change with each new album release.

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“But they’ve done this for years, though. To me, they’ve kinda like — Dot is bigger at this point, Cole [is bigger at another point]. They’ve kinda done that for a long time.”

Kendrick Lamar shook the hip-hop world to its core with his guest verse on Big Sean’s “Control” in 2013. He boldly called out a roster of fellow rappers, declaring himself the “King of New York” and challenging his peers to step up their game. The verse ignited a firestorm of debates, reactions, and responses, sparking conversations about artistic competition. 

Lamar released his last album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers in May 2022, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 295,000 album-equivalent units in its first week.

As for J. Cole, his most recent LP The Off-Season dropped in May 2021, and also went straight to No. 1 after earning 282,000 first-week units. The Fayetteville rapper has contemplated retirement in the past, but is now working on the release of his next album, reportedly titled “The Fall Off.” 

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