J. Cole in 2011
|Birth name||Jermaine Lamarr Cole|
January 28, 1985 |
Frankfurt, West Germany
|Origin||Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.|
|Occupations||Rapper, producer, Songwriter|
|Instruments||Vocals, sampler, keyboards|
|Labels||Roc Nation, Columbia Records|
|Associated acts||Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar|
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is a German-born American hip-hop recording artist and record producer from Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 2009, he became the first artist to sign to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label. His long-awaited debut album, entitled 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.
1985–2008: Early life 
Cole was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, on January 28, 1985. His father is African-American and served in the United States Army, and his mother is white. At the age of 8 months, Cole relocated to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he was raised by his mother, aunt and cousin. His father left the family when Cole was still young.
Cole started rapping at the age 12, becoming serious about it at the age of 15 when he hooked up with a local group called Bomb Shelter, at which time he added production to his repertoire.
Cole grew up in a multi-ethnic environment. His childhood revolved around a love for both basketball and rap music. He attended Terry Sanford High School and decided to study guitar under the well-known artist Mark Ebert. Cole eventually graduated from high school in 2003. He concluded that he had a better chance of getting a record deal in New York City, so he chose to attend St. John's University on an academic scholarship. There, he majored in communication and minored in business, graduating magna cum laude.
|“||I can identify with White people, because I know my mother, her side of the family, who I love. I've had White friends. I know people from high school that I might not have hung out with outside of high school, but I think I got to know them pretty well, so I know they sense of humor. But at the end of the day, I never felt White. I don't know what that feels like. I can identify. But never have I felt like I'm one of them. Not that I wanted to, or tried to, but it just was what it was. I identify more with what I look like, because that's how I got treated. Not necessarily in a negative way. But when you get pulled over by the police, I can't pull out my half-White card. Or if I just meet you on the street, you're not gonna be like, This guy seems half-White.||”|
Musical career 
Career beginnings 
J. Cole started rapping at the age of 12, when his cousin showed him the basics of rhyming and word play. Inspired mostly by rappers Canibus and Tupac Shakur, Cole developed a love for telling stories in his lyrics. At age 15, J. Cole had notebooks filled with rhymes, but no beats of his own to record them with. His mother bought him an 808 beat machine so he could produce music himself. By the age of 17, he was posting songs on various internet forums under the moniker "Therapist" J. Cole stood outside of Jay-Z’s Roc the Mic Studio for three hours in order to give him a beat called "On Top of the World" he sampled by Idris Muhammad, so that his mentor-to-be could use it. However, when Jay-Z came out of his building he shunned the up-and-coming rapper. Soon after graduating Cole released his first mixtape - The Come Up (2007). The mixtape was well received but wasn't followed by significant recognition.
2009–2010: Mixtapes and Roc Nation signing 
He released his second mixtape, The Warm Up, on June 15, 2009 to positive reviews. Cole appeared on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 3 (2009), on the track "A Star Is Born." He is featured on both Wale's debut album, Attention Deficit (2009) and mixtape Back to the Feature (2009) respectively. Cole has described himself as the "First German rapper" signed to Roc Nation. In January 2010, Cole, along with label mate Jay Electronica and Mos Def appeared on Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek's single, "Just Begun" for the follow-up of Reflection Eternal's album Train of Thought (2000), titled Revolutions Per Minute (2010). Cole also appeared on B.o.B's mixtape May 25th (2010) on the song "Gladiators.
In early 2010, Cole was chosen as one of Beyond Race Magazine's "50 Great Breakthrough Artists," he ranked 49, resulting in the cover story of the publication's #11 issue, as well as a Q&A for the magazine's site. He was also featured in XXL magazine 2010 version of Top Ten Freshmen. J. Cole began a college tour from March 19, 2007 to April 30, 2010 concluding in New Brunswick, NJ at Rutgers University's annual Rutgersfest. The tour also featured a stop at Syracuse University for a show with fellow rapper, Wiz Khalifa. On March 31, he performed a new song titled "Who Dat", which became the first single off of his début album, the single being released April 30, 2010. Cole was also featured on Young Chris' song "Still the Hottest" as well as Miguel's debut single "All I Want Is You." Additionally, Cole was featured on titled "We On", a song that failed to make final tracklist for DJ Khaled's Victory LP.
To celebrate the anniversary of the release of The Warm Up mixtape, J. Cole released a freestyle entitled "The Last Stretch" on June 15, 2010. On June 21 of that year, J. Cole premiered the music video to his first single "Who Dat" on the BET program 106 & Park. In August 2010 J. Cole, was awarded the UMA Male Artist of the Year thanks to his heralded The Warm Up mixtape and a high profile deal with Jay-Z's label Roc Nation at the 2010 Underground Music Awards. In a July 2010 interview, J. Cole revealed three songs that would appear on his debut album: "Dreams", "Won't Be Long", and "Never Told"; which was produced by No I.D. On October 30, 2010, a demo titled "I'm Coming Home" was leaked onto the internet. Cole recorded the song as a reference track for Diddy, which later became "Coming Home" off Last Train to Paris (2010). On November 12, 2010, J. Cole released his third official mixtape titled Friday Night Lights. The tape included features from Drake, Wale and Omen with most of the production being handled by Cole himself.
2011: Cole World: The Sideline Story 
Cole served as a supporting act for Drake, on the Light Dreams and Nightmares UK Tour, January 5–21, 2011. In April 2011, "HiiiPoWeR", a song Cole produced for Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 (2011) was released. The single was the first of many collabortions to come from the two. On May 22, 2011, J. Cole released a song entitled "Return of Simba," the third in the "Simba series" following "Simba" and "Grown Simba." Cole purposely avoided releasing his debut album’s title for fear of inconsistency, only announcing that Jay-Z would be featured on his debut album. Cole then released his follow-up single to "Who Dat", the album's lead single, "Work Out" on June 15, 2011, in honor of the second anniversary of his highly acclaimed mixtape The Warm Up. The song, produced by Cole himself, samples "The New Workout Plan" by Kanye West and interpolates "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul. The song later became a hit single, topping several music charts.
On July 31, J. Cole took to Twitter to announce Any Given Sunday, reminiscent of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Fridays, a weekly free music giveaway. J. Cole wrote "Every Sunday til the album drops I’ll be back with something. Maybe just 1 song, maybe a video, depending on how I’m feeling." For the 3rd installment of his Sunday series, "Any Given Sunday", J. Cole hopped on Ustream to update fans about the album and play some tracks that didn't make the cut. On August 15, the music video for "Work Out" premiered on YouTube, Vevo and 106 & Park. On August 22, Cole released his debut album's cover art, designed by Alex Haldi for Bestest Asbestos, whom J. Cole recorded a song for titled "Killers", for Haldi's mixtape The Glorification of Gangster. For the fourth installment, on August 29, he released his debut album's track list, once again through Twitter.
On August 30, after an unfinished version had previously leaked, "Can't Get Enough" featuring R&B singer Trey Songz was released as the album's second single. While in Barbados for his last performance as the official opening act for Rihanna's Loud Tour, Cole shot the music video for "Can't Get Enough", with Songz and Rihanna, who provided a cameo while in her homeland. The video, directed by Clifton Bell, was released on September 14, 2011. In addition early on September 25, two days before his album's release, Cole released a music video for the iTunes bonus track "Daddy's Little Girl".
Cole World: The Sideline Story was released September 27, 2011 debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 218,000 copies in its first-week of sales. As of December 2, 2011, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments and sales of 500,000 copies. On February 7, 2012 the third and final single from Cole's debut album was released. The song, titled Nobody's Perfect", features renowned female rapper Missy Elliott, marking her return to music.
2011-present: Born Sinner and upcoming projects 
On October 24, 2011 during an interview with Hot 106’s Rise & Grind morning show, Cole revealed he had begun working on his second studio album, with hopes of releasing it in June 2012. He had also stated that the album would consist of songs that failed to make his debut: "I don’t know how many, but I got songs that didn’t make the last album that are automatically going to make this one,” he said, revealing the release date. “June. End of June, maybe June." On November 6, 7 and 8, Cole was the supporting act for Tinie Tempah, appearing at Liverpool Echo Arena; Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales; LG Arena, Birmingham, England; SECC Arena, Glasgow, Scotland; and MEN Arena, Manchester. J. Cole was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2012 Grammys but lost to Bon Iver.
J. Cole played for the Eastern Team in the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game. On February 24, 2012 J. Cole reached two million followers on Twitter, he celebrated by releasing the song "Grew up Fast." On March 1, 2012, J. Cole returned to his home town, Fayetteville North Carolina. To celebrate his return he released the song "Visionz of Home" and launched an event titled "Dreamville weekend" to inspire the youth of his hometown to achieve great things. J. Cole performed for the first time in Africa during the Big Brother Africa 7 opening ceremony on 6 May 2012, alongside Camp Mulla, P-Square, Naeto C, Flavour, Davido and Aemo E'Face.
On May 14, J.Cole announced that he is working on a collaborative album with Kendrick Lamar saying in an interview with Bootleg Kev that "I just started working with Kendrick the other day. We got it in, finally, again. We got maybe four or five [songs] together." The project will be more focused on and released once Born Sinner is released. On July 26, he returned to Twitter after a 100-day absence and went on to reveal and release his new song "The Cure" in where he hints at a new album. On October 20, he announced at a live show that his second album is complete and he's waiting until after Lamar releases good kid, m.A.A.d city to reveal it.
On November 5, Cole revealed the title of his sophomore album, and an album teaser for it, Born Sinner and the release date of January 28, 2013, via ustream. The first single from Born Sinner is entitled "Miss America" and was released on November 13. Cole said in an interview that "Miss America" is meant to shift music in a different direction and he knows it won't be a big radio hit. He went on to elaborate, saying, "To me, 'Miss America' shifts things a little bit, it changes the conversation it takes it in a more aggressive direction, more raw, more social commentary... Any type of commentary is good compared to what a normal single is these days. That's my aim, is to shift culture slightly, change the conversation. Nobody expects that for your first single." He also plans to release a short film along with the album.
On December 31, 2012, Cole Revealed that Born Sinner would not be released on January 28, as previously expected. Cole said that he, " needed a little more time than that to get things done." On February 14, 2013, he released the artwork for the first single via Instagram. The song 'Power Trip' was released on February 14, 2013, is a collaboration with Miguel. The release date is June 18, 2013, as announced by J. Cole. His reason was to compete with Kanye West's album "Yeezus".
In an article in Rolling Stone on May 2, 2013, Cole denied any rumors of a possible rift in his relationship with Roc Nation boss, Jay-Z. In the same article he wants fans to know and hear that he self-produced a significant amount of the material for the upcoming Born Sinner release.
Personal life 
J. Cole has been with his girlfriend Melissa since his freshman year of college.
- Studio albums
- Collaboration albums
- TBA (with Kendrick Lamar) (2014)
Awards and nominations 
- 2012: Best New Artist (Nominated)
- 2012: New Artist of the Year (Nominated)
- 2012: Best Rap/Hip Hop Album "Cole World: The Sideline Story" (Nominated)
- 2011: Best New Artist (Nominated)
- 2012: Best Hip Hop Artist (Nominated)
- 2012: Best Collaboration: "Party (Remix)" (Nominated)
- 2011: Best Mixtape (Won)
- 2012: CD of the Year "Cole World: The Sideline Story"(Nominated)
- 2012: MVP of the Year (Nominated)
- 2012: Producer of the Year (Nominated)
- 2012: Lyricist of the Year (Nominated)
- 2012: Best Live Performer (Nominated)
- 2012: Reese's Perfect Combo Award: "Nobody's Perfect" (Nominated)
- 2012: Woodie of the Year: Series of Popular Mixtapes (Nominated)
- 2012: Best New Artist (Nominated)
- Allen, Annika. "J Cole: Life and Beats". Flavour Magazine. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Trent Fitzgerald, J. Cole Celebrates His 27th Birthday In New York City. popcrush.com. 27 January 2012.
- Einhorn, Zack (June 15, 2009). "J. Cole: Roc Nation’s Young Gun". AllHipHop.com. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- Markman, Rob (October 2009), Hand It Down, XXL Magazine, p. 58
- Kemp, Mark. "CD Review: J. Cole, "Cole World: The Sideline Story"". Vibes. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "GermanRhymes.de – Interview with J. Cole". GermanRhymes. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- Stephanie Wash (September 19, 2009). Jay-Z Protege J. Cole Takes Unusual Path to Stardom. ABC News.
- "J. Cole: "I Never Felt White. I Don't Know What That Feels Like"". Boxden. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- J Cole Inspired By Eminem & Canibus (Video) RapBasement
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- NardwuarServiette, NardwuarServiette. "Nardwuar vs. J. Cole". youtube. GrimeDaily. Retrieved Januar 10, 2011.
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- J. Cole at Berlin – Last Call. Youtube.com (2011-01-22). Retrieved on 2012-09-17.
- Reflection Eternal – "Just Begun" feat. Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def. thatsthatish.com (January 2010)
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- J. Cole || beyondrace.com[dead link]
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- VoodooChild. "That's That...: J. Cole – "Still The Hottest" (w/Young Chris) x "All I Want Is You" (w/ Miguel)". Thatsthatish.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- VoodooChild. "J. Cole – "We On"". Thatsthatish.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- "Tune in to BET's 106 & Park TODAY 6:00 PM EST to see J. Cole debut the "Who Dat" video!". Facebook. June 21, 2010. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- "J. Cole reveals Debut Album Song Titles". Jcole.org. July 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- VoodooChild (2010-10-30). "J. Cole - "I'm Coming Home (Demo)," thatsthatish.com". " thatsthatish.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- "DOWNLOAD "FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS"!". JColeMusic. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
- J. Cole – Return of Simba Mostly Junkfood
- "GRIME DAILY MEETS J. COLE [INTERVIEW 2011]". GrimeDaily. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- J. Cole Debuts His First Single “Work Out”, Off His Upcoming Debut Album MissInfo.tv
- J. Cole's Work Out sample of Kanye West's The New Workout Plan WhoSampled
- J. Cole's Work Out sample of Paula Abdul's Straight Up WhoSampled
- Name (required) (2011-05-12). "DOPE PROJECT ALERT: The Glorification Of Gangster Art Exhibit « LIFE Pulse Blog". Lifepulseblog.com. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story (Tracklist) 2DopeBoyz.com
- "Peep This: Rihanna Hangs Out With J. Cole And Trey Songz At The 'Can't Get Enough' Shoot". VIBE. 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- Caulfield, Keith (October 5, 2011). "J. Cole Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200, Blink-182 Snags No. 2". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved October 5, 2011.
- Horowitz, Steven J. (2011-12-02). "J. Cole Receives Gold Certification For "Cole World: The Sideline Story" | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- Steven J. Horowitz, J. Cole Says His Sophomore Album Will Arrive In June 2012. hiphopdx.com. 24 October 2011.
- J. Cole Returns To North Carolina For 'Dreamville Weekend'. rapfix.mtv.com. 2 March 2012.
- "J Cole To Perform At Big Brother Africa Launch". momix.co.za. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Namibia: J Cole to Perform at Big Brother Africa". allAfrica.com. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Kendrick Lamar Says Word Of Mouth Helped Album Sales, Refers To Shyne As Being A "Good Dude"". Retrieved 19 November 2012. Text " Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales " ignored (help); Text " HipHop DX " ignored (help)
- Video: J. Cole Performs New Verses Live In Hollywood ~ All City Chess Club
- Twitter / JColeNC: Right now. Meet me here
- "J. Cole "Miss America" Single Cover Art". Retrieved 13 November 2012. Text " Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales " ignored (help); Text " HipHop DX " ignored (help)
- "AMAs 2012: Watch Red Carpet Videos With J. Cole, Linkin Park + More - American Music Awards". Retrieved 19 November 2012. Text " Billboard " ignored (help)
- "J. Cole Says "Miss America" Is Meant To "Shift Culture," Preps Short Film". Retrieved 19 November 2012. Text " Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales " ignored (help); Text " HipHop DX " ignored (help)