J Cole's 'Let Go My Hand' Confirms a Long-Rumored Fight With Diddy at An MTV VMAs Afterparty

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Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's 2013 single "Control" is widely considered a game changing moment in modern hip-hop. It's a verse in which Lamar ignited a generation of hip-hop feuds, while staking his claim as an all-time great. It's a verse so important that even now, eight years later, we're feeling the reverberations of his words in J. Cole's new track “Let Go My Hand,” from his latest album The Off-Season. The track references a long-rumored altercation between him and Diddy at a 2013 MTV Video Music Awards after-party in New York City. But to really understand the weight of this hip-hop thread we have to go all the way back to the beginning.

How Did Kendrick Lamar's "Control" Verse Set All This in Motion?

In August of 2013, Big Sean dropped the single "Control," which never appeared on an album and was never sold on iTunes, Amazon or any streaming service. It's possible that the song would have remained a forgotten gem, had it not been for Lamar's verse, which comes around the three-minute mark. This was right after good kid, m.A.A.d city, when Lamar was first emerging as a singular new voice. This was also a docile time in the genre, where rappers were comfortably making hits and there was no real competition amongst the biggest names in hip-hop. Lamar, realizing this, came out swinging in his "Control" verse, calling out "Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale / Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake / Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller / I got love for you all, but I'm tryna murder you." Here he is not only calling out the biggest names in music, but also two people who were on this track with him. "What is competition? I'm tryna raise the bar high
Who tryna jump and get it? You're better off tryna skydive," Lamar challenged.

What Was the Response to Lamar's "Control" Verse?

The verse rattled hip-hop to its core, inspiring dozens of response freestyles, feuds, Twitter rants, and more. It also lit a fire under the asses of hip-hop's leading stars, who stepped up to the gauntlet that Lamar threw.

What Happened With Diddy and J Cole at the MTV VMAs?

Though Diddy wasn't directly called out in Lamar's "Control" verse, he posted an Instagram shortly afterward of himself and Jay-Z laughing at Kendrick's claim that he's the "King of New York." Then, according to rumors, things came to a head when Diddy, J Cole, and Lamar all ended up at the same VMAs afterparty in late-August 2013. As Complex reported at the time:

1. Diddy was visibly intoxicated.
2. He tried to confront Kendrick over the “King of New York” claim in his “Control” freestyle.
3. Diddy allegedly attempted to pour a drink on Kendrick, and J. Cole intervened.
4. The two started arguing and Cole allegedly put his hands on Diddy, which then led to problems between their respective crews.
5. After a brief scuffle, both crews separated.

None of the parties ever confirmed that any of this took place, though all were definitely at the same afterparty at the same time. Last year, Cole's manager debunked these rumors, saying none of this happened.

What Does J Cole Say About Diddy On “Let Go My Hand”?

Though his manager debunked the rumors last year, Cole claims the opposite on his new song "Let Go My Hand".

My last scrap was with Puff Daddy, who would've thought it?
I bought that n---- album in seventh grade and played it so much
You would've thought my favorite rapper was Puff
Back then I ain't know shit, now I know too much
Ignorance is bliss and innocence is just ignorance before it's introduced to currency and clips

This seems to be a clear confirmation that something did go down back in 2013. But it does also offer a positive conclusion. On the song, Cole talks about his own growth as an artist, a man and a father. And in the outro, Diddy appears to offer a prayer: “Lord, please guide our steps / Watch us, cover us / So that every move we make is in alignment with your will.”

It seems that in the last eight years Cole and Diddy have patched things up, which really puts a tidy bow on one of the most infamous feuds in post-2010 hip-hop.

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