Royce Da 5'9" weighs in on J. Cole's "Fire Squad", where he mentions Eminem's name in a line about white privilege.
It's a combination of rap fans' thirst for beef and media's thirst for clicks that often turns ordinary statements into "shade". In the case of J. Cole's "Fire Squad", the speculation around a line made the rounds before many even heard the song themselves.
If you're not familiar by now, Cole addressed white privilege in rap, name-checking Iggy Azalea, Macklemore, and most notably (only due to the respect he holds with hip hop heads), Eminem. While Cole himself has gone on record saying the song was not a diss, and has always been vocal about his Em fandom, it seems some fans still took the line personally.
The most recent rapper to weigh in on the verse is frequent Em collaborator Royce Da 5'9", who also felt that perceived animosity in the line was most projected by listeners.
"It got blown out of proportion before I could hear the record," Royce told Vlad TV. "You know what I mean? The fire-fuelers got a hold of it before I could actually hear it. So by the time I heard it, I actually read the line and Tweeted about it before I even heard the song. It sounded to me like an observation, an observation of an artist being vocal with something he's observing. He may not have used the best words."
While he revealed that he had not spoken to Shady about the song, Royce was not personally offended, and he seemed to think Em would feel similarly. "I haven't spoke to Marshall about the song at all," he said. "If there was to be some offense taken, I could see why. Did I listen to it and get offended by it? No. Also, did I feel like he was trying to diss my guy? Absolutely not. If there was some offense taken or if there's anything that leaves any kind of question or doubt as to what whether he meant something by it, then maybe an apology may be in order. But that's not for me to decide."