RALEIGH, NC – J. Cole has asked Kanye West to clear the sample for his fan-favorite song “Villematic.”
The North Carolina native’s plea came during his co-headlining performance alongside Drake at Dreamville Festival in his native North Carolina on Sunday night (April 2).
Towards the end of his set, Cole performed “Villematic” for the first time in over a decade, blending it with his show-stealing guest verse from Benny The Butcher’s “Johnny P’s Caddy.”
“Shout out to Kanye West,” the Dreamville boss said after running through the song. “Please clear the sample for me, my brother. I appreciate it.
Taken from J. Cole’s 2010 mixtape Friday Night Lights, “Villematic” borrows its lush beat from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy cut “Devil in a New Dress.”
Friday Night Lights was released for free to rave reviews, racking up over a million downloads on the popular mixtape website DatPiff while helping Cole land a record deal with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation.
However, the project remains absent from streaming services — not for lack of trying on Cole’s part, though. On its 10th anniversary in November 2020, the Grammy-winner said in an Instagram post: “My dream is to one day have this on DSP’s where it belongs.”
Before that, in 2013, he spoke about wanting to rerelease Friday Night Lights commercially along with his previous mixtape, 2009’s The Warm Up (which is also currently unavailable on streaming platforms).
The 20-song project features a plethora of other samples including Erykah Badu’s “Didn’t Cha Know” (“Too Deep For the Intro”), Cassie’s “Must Be Love” (“Back to the Topic”) and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” (“Love Me Not”), although it’s unclear if those have been cleared.
Kanye West, who is much less active on social media these days after almost derailing his career in 2022 thanks to his antisemitic outbursts, has yet to respond to J. Cole’s sample clearance request.
The pair have shared a rocky relationship in recent years, with many fans believing Cole subliminally dissed Kanye on his 2016 song “False Prophets.”
“Justifying that half ass shit he dropped, we always buy it/ When he tell us he a genius but it’s clearer lately/ It’s been hard for him to look into the mirror lately/ There was a time when this n-gga was my hero, maybe/ That’s the reason why his fall from grace is hard to take,” he spit.
The Fayetteville native appeared to unload more thinly-veiled shots at the fashion icon on 2019’s “Middle Child,” rapping: “I’d never beef with a n-gga for nothin’/ If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon’ be legit/ It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame/ It won’t be ’cause my shit ain’t sellin’ the same/ It won’t be to sell you my latest lil’ sneakers/ It won’t be ’cause some n-gga slid in my lane.”
Ye finally responded the following year by demanding a “public apology” from Cole during one of his famous Twitter tirades.
I need a publicly apology from J. Cole and Drake to start with immediately,” he wrote. “I’m Nat Turner … I’m fighting for us. I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal…On God…in Jesus name…come and get me.”
He added: “I have the utmost respect for all brothers … we need to link and respect each other… no more dissing each other on labels we don’t own.”
However, the Hip Hop heavyweights appeared to have patched things up when they shared a pleasant exchange on social media last February following the release of Kanye’s jeen-yuhs Netflix docuseries.
“Thank you for this @kanyewest @coodierock phenomenal vulnerable powerful sad inspirational insightful wonderful masterful. Grateful to have watched,” Cole wrote on Instagram.
That’s love family,” Ye wrote back while sharing a screenshot of Cole’s post on his own Instagram page.