Many on Twitter jumped to the conclusion that Mike Dean was referring to J. Cole's "False Prophets," a track that is aimed at Kanye West.
Mike Dean just asked a question that most of us have likely pondered recently: "Why do artists who are lacking always make a diss song just before their LP comes out?" Indeed, with hip-hop beefs hogging up so many headlines these days, one needs to look at the diss track as not just the main artillery in a showdown between emcees, but also as a potentially successful promotional tool.
Dean's question, though seemingly a very reasonable one, has become the source of controversy, as many on social media believe that the producer is specifically implicating J. Cole, who, ahead of his upcoming album, shared a track called "False Prophets" that was something of a diss record aimed at Kanye West.
why do artists who are lacking always make a diss song just before their LP comes out??— MIKE DEAN! #MWA (@therealmikedean) December 6, 2016
Now "False Prophets" didn't find Cole coming for Ye with the Draco or even maligning his rap skills, for that matter. As the track's title suggests, he painted Ye as a fallen idol of his, who no longer commands his allegiance. Still, the song undoubtedly gained widespread attention for its resemblance of a diss, especially as Kanye had suffered a shocking mental breakdown before its release.
It's easy to see why Dean, arguably Kanye's most trusted producer, could be alluding to J. Cole with his recent tweet. Upon seeing the tweet, Cole fans have been firing back at the veteran producer, declaring to him that their man -- who dropped a double platinum featureless album two years ago -- is in no way "lacking."
@therealmikedean COLE AINT LACKING HE WENT DOUBLE PLATINUM WITH NO FEATURES AND KANYE NEEDED 27 FEATURES & 42 GHOSTWRITERS FOR TLOP— The Kid That Did (@HoodrichMenace) December 6, 2016
@therealmikedean Cole ain't lacking— Steven (@seserkoo) December 6, 2016
@therealmikedean Cole lacked features and still went platinum— KEMBA 4 MVP (@JeremyWorrell1) December 6, 2016
After all the backlash, Dean confirmed that he was not referring to "anyone in particular." Rather, he simply sees the diss-before-album strategy as a "pattern in the industry." In an effort to further shake off all of the "hype beasts," he lists off the names of artists who have employed this trend -- most recently as Soulja Boy last night with his Quavo diss, and as far back as the famous album sales between 50 Cent and none other than Kanye West (it's unclear which song he's referring to in this scenario, though the beef certainly contributed to higher album sales for both artists). And for the record, Soulja Boy's next album is supposedly dropping in March 2017.