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J. Cole

By

J. Cole

J. Cole at the 2011 BET Awards

Photo © Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Name: Jermaine Lamarr Cole
Born: January 28, 1985

Interesting Facts:

  • J. Cole was born in Frankfurt, Germany. At 8 months old he and his mother moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole often shouts out his hometown dubbed "the Ville."
  • Attended St. John's University and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
  • Was working as a bill collector when he got the call that Jay-Z wanted to meet with him. He went into the bathroom to listen to the message. He decided to leave work in order to prepare for the meeting.

Introduction to Music:

J. Cole’s cousin introduced him to rap at the age of 12. While visiting from Louisiana his cousin would joke around and freestyle, Cole was inspired to copy him and fell in love with rapping. Drawn to storytelling rap and inspired by rappers such as Nas, Canibus and Eminem, began filling notebooks with rhymes. Cole learned to make beats on an 808 drum machine his mother bought for him and started posting songs on internet forums by the age of 17, under the name, “Therapist”.

Mixtape Marvel:

After graduating college J. Cole released his debut mixtape, The Come Up in 2007. The mixtape, hosted by DJ On Point was cited as including "soul filled sound beats, raw, energetic drums and an endless range of topics; everything from the carefree days of college to the seemingly endless plight of those have-nots scrapping for change". 2009's The Warm Up explored similar teams with sharper lyrics. Friday Night Lights featured many songs originally intended for Cole's debut, including "Before I'm Gone" and "In the Morning."

Road to the Roc:

Early in his career J. Cole set his sights on working with Jay Z. One cold rainy night in 2007, wearing a t-shirt that said “Produce for Jay-Z or die trying”, Cole stood outside of Jay-Z’s studio for three hours in order to give him a beat he sampled by Idris Muhammad. Unfortunately for Cole, Jay-Z wasn’t interested, simply responding, “Man, I don’t want that.” Two years later, after hearing "Lights Please," Jay-Z asked J. Cole if he'd like to be the first artist signed to Roc Nation. Jay-Z showcased his new signee on "A Star Is Born," off 2009's The Blueprint 3.

Cole World: The Sideline Story:

After several delays, J. Cole finally saw his Roc Nation debut come to light on September 27, 2011. The songs and skits on Cole World: The Sideline Story chronicle Cole's journey from the "Ville" to the Roc. It's a concept album about leaping from the sideline to the spotlight against all odds.

J. Cole In His Own Words:

"I'm here to spread a message of hope. Follow your heart. Don't follow what you've been told you're supposed to do."

J. Cole's Discography

Mixtapes
  • The Come Up (2007)
  • The Warm Up (2009)
  • Friday Night Lights (2010)
Studio albums:
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