Features: J. ColeAight, listen up. “First Person Shooter” isn’t just another track; it’s a lyrical flex, a power move by one of the game’s heavy hitters, J. Cole. This joint sounds like it’s straight from the studio with J. Cole and Drake – two titans of rap – going bar for bar, schooling the masses on what true skill sounds like.
We kick things off with Cole likening his lyrical prowess to a shooter in a video game, blasting away at the competition and turning their tracks – their attempts at originality or challenge – into nothing but a memorial service. He throws shade at those who misconstrue his intentions, saying if they’re talking about ‘offing’ him, it better be by way of a mundane office job, not in the rap game. Cole ain’t playing; he’s confident he’s unlocked the combination to success while others are stuck debating his position – he claims he’s numero uno.
The G.O.A.T. talk – a common theme in hip-hop where MCs argue about who’s the Greatest Of All Time – is a dinner table debate for him. Cole knows his worth and ensures everyone knows it’s a two-man race between him and Drake, nothing short of the hype a Super Bowl generates. Yet, he cringes at the pettiness in the scene, with everyone looking to stir up some beef or overanalyze his words for hidden disses. Amidst all these, he still aims to collaborate with the likes of YB and warns that if he ever comes for you, you’ll know it clear as day.
Then Cole comes heavy with self-assertion, comparing himself and the other top dogs, K-Dot (Kendrick Lamar) and Drizzy (Drake), to forming a new league in the rap game. He feels like he’s in his Muhammad Ali prime, the one they call for tech support when nothing’s connecting, a play on words showing his indispensability and cleverness. Cole goes on to lament the loss of emphasis on bars in rap, positioning himself as the vanguard bringing back lyrical depth. He doesn’t shy away from his elite status, touting himself as the G.O.A.T. with the “golden pen,” ready to dust crops with his rhymes and exert pressure like he’s the boss of the game.
As for the hook – it’s all about being ready to snap, to switch it up at any moment. Cole ain’t just talking computers; he’s clicking like high beams, a metaphor for shining bright or taking shots with precision. He’s been in the game since a youngin’, flexing luxury cars before heading into adulthood. Cole name-drops like he’s scrolling through his phone contact list, illustrating the depth of his reach and impact. He ain’t about that staged life, he’s got the youth getting paid off streams, not just fronting for the ‘Gram. He calls out industry fakeness, essentially saying he’d own the publishing rights to their dreams if he could.
Finally, Cole throws some personal jabs, using the analogy of a high school crush to describe the shallow admiration he receives from the industry. They won’t acknowledge his accomplishments because that conversation would be too painful for the envious ones. Drake, referenced here as “The Boy,” is painted as a pariah – a necessary evil that the industry loves to hate on. Cole’s so nonchalant, a GRAMMY is just a doorstop to him. Towards the end, the game is likened to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” suggesting that like MJ, Cole only needs one more hit to reach ultimate legend status.
So, in essence, “First Person Shooter” is Cole coming correct, staking his claim as a lyrical titan, one that can’t be ignored or bypassed. He’s asserting his dominance, not just in the game but in the culture, and reminding the world why his pen game is something to be revered. It’s braggadocious, full of technical prowess, and above all, it’s Cole playing chess while others are stuck playing checkers.