Kendrick Lamar Used J Cole’s Vocals During “Pop Out” Show

Everything Kendrick Lamar does is by design. The rapper already had a reputation for being fastidious, due to his ambitious concept albums. The battle with Drake, however, took things to a new level. Lamar is now hailed as the most dangerous artist on the planet, as evidenced by the legendary “Pop Out” show. Kung Fu Kenny got an entire stadium (basically an entire coast) to sing along to his scathing diss tracks. Hidden amidst all the hatred, though, was a hidden message for the other rapper in the Big Three.

The X (formerly Twitter) account Cole World spotted a crucial detail during Lamar’s performance of “Alright.” The song sounds just like it does on To Pimp a Butterfly, but at the five second mark of the video, the voice of J Cole can be heard. Cole clearly says the word “yeah” before K. Dot digs into the chorus. What does this mean? Well, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole swapped instrumentals back on Back Friday 2015. The former rapped over Cole’s “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” while the latter rapped over “Alright.” Both artists did their thing, even if the general consensus is that Lamar washed his fellow superstar.

Kendrick Lamar Snuck In J Cole Ad-Libs On “Alright”

It appears as though Kendrick Lamar used ad-libs from J Cole’s version of “Alright” in his recent live performance. It’s a minor detail, but it carries major implications. Lamar challenged both Drake and J Cole’s supremacy on his “Like That” verse. He claimed that neither rapper could hold a candle to him, and Cole even dropped a response, “7 Minute Drill.” The way J Cole handled the aftermath is going to haunt him for the rest of his career, but the bottom line is: he apologized. Lamar and Cole seem cool once more. Lamar collaborators Daylyt and Ab-Soul even appeared on J Cole’s recent album.

Kendrick Lamar has not made any public statements about the Big Three battle. He’s let his music and his live shows do the talking. It’s unlikely he will address his relationship with J Cole directly, but placing his vocals in the mix of his LA-centric “Pop Out” show certainly implies that Lamar is showing love to the Dreamville icon. The decision to do is also another dig against Drake, who spent most of 2023 linking up with Cole on tour and on record. Diabolical.

About The Author

Danilo is a writer based out of San Diego. He graduated from the Art Institute of Tucson with a B.A. in digital media, and has since forged a career as a pop culture journalist. He covered hip-hop for, Rhyme Junkies and PopMatters prior to joining Danilo’s top five is constantly changing, but Biggie and Slug from Atmosphere remain permanent fixtures. His favorite rap album of all time is “Late Registration” by Kanye West, and that stays the same.