Strife is humanity, to be human is to experience conflict. Nowhere is this more apparent (besides geopolitics for some stupid reason) than in hip-hop, and no conflict incites more reaction than that of the generational war between “real rap” and “mumble rap.” J. Cole’s “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’)” became the rallying cry this year for those who contend that Lil Pump and other young Soundcloud rappers are ruining the genre, and it prompted Cole’s fans to chant “Fuck Lil Pump” at Cole’s shows. Cole’s position was never one of starting beef, though, and signs that he and Pump were actually cordial with each other have now led up to an hour-long interview between the two.
The conversation isn’t really about anything, as the 17-year-old “Gucci Gang” star and the 33-year-old conscious rap figurehead (just so you get an idea of the age difference here) in general kick back and talk about life. Cole opens the interview complimenting Pump for his intelligence, saying that “The more I watched your videos I thought, ‘Yo, this kid is smart. … He knows more than what… his image portrays.'” They share their stories of getting into rapping, which goes something like this:
J Cole: *Shares long story of living through Tupac’s murder in 1996, which prompted a period of going through “real shit” before finally putting all of that experience into music after being inspired by a friend to start freestyling.*
Lil Pump: “I started rapping a year-and-a-half ago?”
Like I said, generational differences.
In actuality, Pump’s story involved getting kicked out of school, discovering weed, and dealing with his divorced parents (“[My dad] used to look at me like ‘he ain’t gonna be shit.'”) so he has his own narrative. A lot of this interview honestly seems like a very chill therapy session for Pump, with Cole playing the role of mentor for the teenage rapper.
Even on the topic of “1985,” perceived by many to be a condescending warning/diss against Lil Pump and his peers, everything is relaxed. (“Lil Pump: I fuck with your shit, man. Your shit is hard.”) Cole even says that though he was initially worried upon seeing the current generation of rappers make their mark in one of the recent XXL Freshman Freestyles, (I thought, “Damn, this shit is over”) he admits that “I know now that I was wrong. All I was doing was being afraid that the thing that I fell in love with was no longer relevant or respected.” If these two can find common ground in this most heated of culture wars, maybe we’ve found our recipe for reaching peace in any conflict. Watch the entire interview above.
Phil is on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.