J. Cole has been in the spotlight recently, and not always for the best reasons. But he’s turning heads again for all the right reasons with his verse on Tems’ new track ‘Free Fall,’ from her debut album ‘Born in the Wild,’ released on June 7, 2024.

This collaboration has quickly started to curb some of the criticism that Cole has faced in the past few months. The song, a tender ode to the highs and lows of love, is produced by P2J and features J. Cole handling the guest verse duties.

In his verse, Cole reflects on a relationship that has gone sour, capturing the emotional nuances of heartbreak: ‘Toxic, who would’ve thought what’s comin’ was a plot twist/ Soon as you let me in, you start huntin’ for the locksmith/ Now the key I once had to your heart does not fit/ I got three choices, batter your door or lock-pick/ Or walk away confused at your logic,’ he raps. His verse continues with vivid imagery: ‘Back at my crib, cleanin’ your clothes and your shoes out the closet/ Thinking to myself, ‘We supposed to be in pools by the tropics/ Soakin’ up the views but you choose to blow it up’/ No, you ain’t used to goin’ Dutch/ So you refuse to see the truth ’bout who was out of pocket.’

Fans took to social media to praise J. Cole’s contribution. ‘Fire ngl this the type of shit i want from cole yall can stop acting like hes washed now,’ one enthusiastic listener posted. Another commented, ‘J. Cole is one of the most underappreciated artists of our generation, he has gone 2 of 2 with Afrobeats giants as he did on Burna Boy’s ‘Thanks’ and now on Tems ‘Free Fall.’ A more optimistic fan even claimed, ‘This track will sweep the Grammys’ come next February.

‘Free Fall’ also comes after a period where J. Cole faced considerable backlash. His previous appearance on New York rapper Cash Cobain’s ‘Grippy’ was widely ridiculed for its awkward and raunchy lyrics. The track saw a wave of negative reactions, with one fan pleading, ‘This message is for Jermaine Cole. Please take the ‘Grippy’ song back like you took ‘Seven Minute Drill’ back. It’s not too late.’ Another fan speculated, ‘Y’all know how J. Cole has been teasing ‘The Fall Off’ dropping? What if bro was talking about himself the whole time?’

Adding fuel to the fire, Cole had also faced scrutiny for his response to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Like That’ verse with ‘7 Minute Drill,’ which many viewed as subpar. Cole eventually deleted the track and issued an apology to Kendrick.

Despite these past criticisms, J. Cole’s verse on ‘Free Fall’ is receiving widespread acclaim and may just signify a turnaround for the North Carolina rapper.

J. Cole’s collaboration with Tems on ‘Free Fall’ appears to be a step in the right direction, earning him praise and potentially putting past criticisms to rest. With its heartfelt lyrics and Cole’s emotional delivery, the track is resonating well with fans and critics alike.

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