Drake joins J Cole in autism apology

Rappers say outrage over lyric on leaked track Jodeci Freestyle was 'learning lesson'

Drake has joined J Cole in an apology for mocking autism on their new single. Calling it "a learning lesson for both of us", Drake said that the offending lyric will be removed from the official release of Jodeci Freestyle.

Cole, not Drake, was the one who dropped the song's controversial lyric: "I'm artistic," he rapped. "You niggas is autistic, retarded." Representatives for Autism Speaks were among those who spoke out against the line, accusing Cole of perpetuating negative stereotypes against people with autism.

Over the weekend, Cole published a full apology: "Recently there's been a trend that includes rappers saying something offensive, only to be attacked for it in the media and pressured to apologise." he wrote on his blog, alluding to incidents involving Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. "I do not believe that an apology is needed every time someone is offended, especially when that apology is really only for the sake of saving an endorsement or cleaning up bad press. With that said, this is not the case today. This letter is sincere. This apology IS necessary."

"Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realised right away that what I said was wrong," Cole continued. "I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better ... People with this disorder and their loved ones have to go through so much already, the last thing they need is to hear something as ignorant as what I said."

Yesterday, Drake weighed in on his own blog, saying that autism campaigners "were understandably hurt" by Cole's verse. "I share responsibility and offer my sincerest apologies for the pain this has caused," he wrote. "Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted ... J Cole and I believe that it is the right, responsible and respectful decision to remove the lyric from the song."

Leaked online at the end of June, the track Jodeci Freestyle is expected to be on Drake's upcoming third album. Nothing Was the Same is the follow-up to 2011's Take Care, which reached No 5 in the UK and sold more than 2m copies in the US.

J Cole's new album, Born Sinner, debuted at No 7 in the UK. In the States, Born Sinner has outsold Kanye West's Yeezus, which was released on the same day.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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