Sat next to her in the back of the class
Cheated off of her test and I'm grabbing her ass
She like "Don't you know this shit already?
Nigga, ain't you rich already?"
Yeah, but I got dumb as shit
Hanging 'round these rappers cause they dumb as shit

from J. Cole – Trouble Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Worded a little strangely, these lyrics are about the future. The girl is saying “Don’t you know this shit already?” to Cole because he already graduated (from St. John’s University, Magna Cum Laude). She says, “Nigga ain’t you rich already?” because he’s already made it in the rap game. She thinks he should already know the material and should be focusing on his rap career. He says he should, but the rap game made him dumb.

The scenario he paints (flirting and cheating off a girl in class) reflects Cole’s past behavior, which he discusses in 2007’s “College Boy”:

And if your ass is dumb you won’t even get a chance
Cuz I gotta chick in every class that give a nigga answers, yea

She sounds like the same girl form “I’m a Fool”

She told me “Cole, I love you rode with you way before the riches
But you way too educated to be calling women bitches
And calling brothas niggas, pardon if I cross a line
But all this time knew you was different than all them other niggas"
I responded to her "please don’t put me on a pedestal
Cuz I know better and I’m still a fool”

This also could refer to the his songs with smart lyrics, but then to get famous he made a “dumb” song called “Work Out” to sell records.

Cole has lost the knowledge and intellect he had from graduating college in recent years. Hanging around with all these rappers has made him dumb, which is why in recent interviews you hear Cole say “I’m going back to college”, which would mean getting smart again and writing real lyrics instead of things for the radio now that he is famous.

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