In the past, J. Cole has been heavily criticized for his support of XXXTentacion, Kodak Black and other artists accused of abuse. While Cole has never condoned their specific actions, his outward support on social media has rubbed many fans the wrong way. But according to Cole, everyone, even those accused of the most awful offenses, deserves some sort of healing.
The “Middle Child” artist addressed the backlash concerning his previous co-signs of Kodak, XXX, and Tekashi 6ix9ine in the Apr. 2019 cover story for XXL. Cole sparked outrage after he made a series of statements praising their music skills or encouraging others to pray for them during tough times. “I get it, there’s some people out there that do things that a person can’t fathom loving anybody that can do that,” he admitted. “But nobody becomes that way overnight. Nobody is born that way. That sh*t is a product of unfortunate circumstances and mishaps in the person’s life, too many to count. Sh*t that they may not even remember that, in my opinion, causes someone to be as sick as they would be to be a fucking murderer, to be dumb enough to just take a life.”
He continued: “N***a, I know many murderers. I still speak to them. These dudes have committed the ultimate crime in God’s eyes, or whatever, where they’ve taken a life. These people I still speak to, love and have compassion for. I see how in their life that happened, how you became a murderer. Maybe some of them don’t even know, don’t even have a chance to process why they become the monsters that they are.”
Cole also explained how he would’ve confronted XXXTentacion about those abuse allegations. Prior to X’s death in June 2018, the rapper was accused of beating and sexually assaulting his then-pregnant girlfriend. Cole previously tweeted about how “talented” he thought X was.
While he wasn’t aware of the allegations at the time, he said if the late rapper was here today, he wouldn’t turn his back on him. “Even if I [initially] knew what [XXXTentacion] did, I wouldn’t have cut him off, like, ‘Hey, man, why are you putting your hands on women or why the fuck did you do these sick things to this girl?'” He explained. “I would’ve asked a series of questions that hopefully would’ve sparked something in his mind. It would’ve been towards the direction of healing. It wouldn’t have been in the direction of punishment, judgment, cancellation. Because he deserves healing. Especially the girl that he did all that shit to—she absolutely needs healing. It’s like, I’m just going to discard you and throw you in the trash and forget about you? That’s what they doing in the prison system. That’s what we’re actually fighting to stop. We’re trying to fight the fact that prisons offer no rehabilitation and that people come out even worse off than they went in.”