Nearly a month after its release, critics have finally caught on to an offensive reference during J. Cole's guest verse on Drake's "Jodeci Freestyle." Representatives from the Anti-Bullying Alliance and autism-awareness figure Anna Kennedy have lashed out against a line that associates the condition with mental disability.
The offending lyric: "I'm artistic/ you n----s autistic, retarded."
The organizations mentioned above have started a petition on change.org requesting that the rappers apologize for the lyric. As of the time this was written, it had garnered 2,500 signatures, well on its way to its goal of 5,000.
"It's time we recognised (sic) people with autism for the exceptional human beings that they are and make a stand," Kennedy said in a statement. "Give us a Break!"
Using the term "retarded" has largely become accepted as politically incorrect, but J. Cole made some basic errors in fact when he compared it with autism. Many celebrities have excelled while displaying symptoms of autism, including Mozart and Andy Warhol.
Cole isn't the first rapper to draw ire over a reference to a disability during 2013. Immediately following the release of "Yeezus" last month, Kanye West was challenged for his allusion to Parkinson's disease in the song "On Sight."
"A monster about to come alive again / Soon as I pull up and park the Benz / We get this b---- shaking like Parkinson's."
Who knows how many forced apologies it will take before rappers learn their lesson and come up with similes unrelated to disorders.