J. Cole

Producer and MC J. Cole was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. Born in Germany but raised in North Carolina, Cole grew up with a mother who loved rock and folk, while his father was a fan of hardcore hip-hop artists like 2Pac and Ice Cube. Graduating high school, his grades were good enough to earn a scholarship, but hip-hop had taken hold of his life. He quickly decided that N.Y.C. was where artists went to get signed. As such, he attended the city’s St. John's University on an academic scholarship. After numerous days standing outside Jay-Z’s office in hopes of giving him a demo, Cole finally ran into his idol, but the reception was well below chilly. He was shocked then when he received a call from the man weeks later, and even more shocked when he got a chance to contribute to Jay-Z’s 2009 effort The Blueprint 3. That same year he released the mixtape The Warm Up, while 2010 saw the appearance of the Friday Night Lights mixtape, with Cole handling most of the production. In 2011, Roc Nation released his official debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, which debuted on top of the Billboard 200. Featuring the single "Power Trip," Born Sinner followed in 2013 with guest appearances from Miguel, TLC, and Kendrick Lamar. The title of his 2014 release, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, was the address of Cole's childhood home in North Carolina.

Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer. Cole first received recognition in 2007, following the release of his debut mixtape The Come Up. Shortly after the release of The Come Up in 2009, Cole was contacted by American rapper Jay Z and subsequently signed to his record label Roc Nation. In that same year, Cole released his second mixtape, The Warm Up, which was itself followed by Cole's third mixtape, Friday Night Lights, in 2010.nHis debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, was released on September 27, 2011. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums chart, selling more than 218,000 in its first week. He received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 54th Grammy Awards. Cole's second album, Born Sinner, was released on June 18, 2013. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200; however, Born Sinner later rose to number one, giving Cole his second number one on the chart. His third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, was released on December 9, 2014, and also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, giving Cole his third number one album. As of February 2016, it has sold over 1.1 million copies in the U.S, and was certified Platinum by the RIAA on the 9th of that same month. As a result, J. Cole became the first rapper in 25 years to have a platinum-selling album without any guest appearances or features.

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  • 21 Aug

    Billboard Hot 100 Fest: J. Cole Brings '2014 Forest Hills Drive' to Jones Beach

    As the sunshine gave way to moderate rain showers, the real storm was brewing on the Billboard Hot 100 stage on Sunday (Aug. 21) night as headliner J. Cole unleashed throwback gems and fiery cuts from his platinum...

  • 11 Aug

    5 People Who Love J. Cole, From Jay Z to President Obama

    While J. Cole has never needed validation in his career ("I promise, baby, you can bet the bank on me/ 'Cause can't nobody tell me what I ain't gonna be no more," he rapped on 2011's "Sideline Story"), the North...

  • 10 Aug

    Fire Squad: J. Cole's 10 Best Collaborations

    Despite going double-platinum with no features with his 2014 studio effort 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J. Cole is a team player. Logging collaborations with DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Wale to name a few, the...

  • 09 Aug

    The Come Up: 10 Motivational J. Cole Lyrics

    After turning his dreams into Dreamville, rapper J. Cole's catalog has served as an uplifting soundtrack to those in struggle. The St. John's University graduate, who dished out mixtapes for free (see: 2007's The Come...


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