Let Go My Hand

Album: The Off-Season (2021)
Charted: 19

Songfacts®:

  • Here, J. Cole looks at his life so far as he looks back to his habits and attitudes growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In particular, he wonders what effect his youthful attempts to adopt a hard and confident persona had on him:

    I kept a tough demeanor on the surface but was mostly just pretendin'
    Luckily my bluff was workin' way more often than not


    Cole adds that sometimes he got accused of being a fraud and he would start scrapping "just to save face." Some fights he won, some he lost.
  • Cole recounts his altercation with an intoxicated Diddy at an MTV Video Music Awards. The scuffle started with Diddy confronting Kendrick Lamar over calling himself the "king of New York" in his verse on Big Sean's "Control." When Diddy attempted to pour a drink on Lamar, Cole intervened; this led to a brawl between Cole and Diddy's entourage.

    Diddy ends the song with a prayer, suggesting that the pair have buried the hatchet.
  • The song's title comes from Cole recounting an incident when his son asked his father to stop holding his hand so he could walk on his own.

    Today my son said, "Dad, let go my hand"
    Reminded me one day he's gonna be his own man
    And my job is to make sure he's equipped


    Cole wonders whether his youthful memories of pretending to be tough are making him overprotective to his son. He must learn to let his little boy find his own way.
  • Dreamville Records rapper Bas and Atlanta singer 6lack contribute additional vocals. Cole previously featured on 6lack's's 2018 hit, "Pretty Little Fears."
  • DJ Dahi and Frank Dukes supplied the beat, with Cole and Kelvin "WU10" Woolten credited with supplying additional production. Cole recounts in the song how his manager, Ibrahim Hamad, originally sent him the instrumentation. Inspiration did not hit him straight away, but a year later he came across the beat stored away on his phone while on vacation. Having had another 12 months of living, he had fresh ideas, and this time he came up with some rhymes.

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