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. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he would go on to release two additional mixtapes after signing to Jay Z's Roc Nation imprint in 2009.
Cole released his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in 2011. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was soon certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next two releases, 2013's Born Sinner and 2014's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, received mostly positive reviews from critics, while being both certified platinum in the US. The latter earned him his first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album. 2014 Forest Hills Drive was also the first rap album in over 25 years to gain platinum certification without any guest appearances or features.
Self-taught on piano, Cole also acts as a producer alongside his hip hop career, producing singles for artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson, as well as handling the majority of the production in his own projects. He has also developed other ventures, including Dreamville Records, as well as non-profit organization, the Dreamville Foundation. The Dreamville Foundation isn't the only non-profit gesture Cole has put forth. In January 2015, Cole decided to house single mothers rent free in his childhood home, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
J. Cole Quotes
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
I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think something's not good enough, and I won't stop until I feel like I've made it. I'm never satisfied. - J. Cole
I feel like this: Whatever is in your path and in your heart, you need to do. - J. Cole
There was the time I bought three cars in the span of three or four weeks. It was crazy; it wasn't greedy. It was mine, my girl's, my mom's. I got Benzes for my ladies. But I felt crazy. You have to understand I come from a world where we're very modest. But that's not greedy. That's nice, right? - J. Cole
Anything I do, I want to do it well. - J. Cole
I'm half-black, half-white, so I basically put it like this: I can fit in anywhere. That's why I write so many stories from so many different perspectives, because I've seen so many. - J. Cole
I actually started off majoring in computer science, but I knew right away I wasn't going to stay with it. It was because I had this one professor who was the loneliest, saddest man I've ever known. He was a programmer, and I knew that I didn't want to do whatever he did. So after that, I switched to Communications. - J. Cole
J. Cole Songs
J Cole - No Role Models (2014 Forest Hills Drive)
J. Cole - Apparently
J. Cole - Wet Dreamz
J. Cole - Crooked Smile ft. TLC
J. Cole - Power Trip (Explicit) ft. Miguel
J. Cole - G.O.M.D.
J. Cole - Work Out
J. Cole - Lost Ones
J. Cole Albums (discography)
Forest Hills Drive: Live from Fayetteville, NC
, 4 Your Eyez Only
, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
, Revenge Of The Dreamers
, Born Sinner
, Truly Yours 2
, Truly Yours
, Truly Yours 3
J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar
Fans of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole will be unhappy to hear that the rappers' upcoming joint project is experiencing some delay.
It was reported that fans will see a delay in the collaboration of Lamar and Cole, due to their busy schedule. Lamar has been busy with his recent song with DJ Khaled
. The two were said to be working on a new song called "Holy Key"
, which will feature Big Sean
. Khaled expressed his excitement for the song and commended Lamar for his work.
J. Cole Best Songs
- Now recognized as a J. Cole cla**ic, "Dreams" derives from The Warm Up. Featuring Brandon Hines
, "Dreams" narrates the story of J. Cole finding himself the "girl of his dreams," despite not knowing her incredibly well. Cole goes on to later reference "Dreams" in his smash single, "Power Trip" with the line, "Had a thing for you / even wrote the song dreams for you / 'cause I had dreams for you / thoughts of a ring for you."
9. "Let Nas Down"
- Portraying himself with vulnerability, J. Cole depicts letting down his role model, Nas
, with "Let Nas Down". As Cole previously noted, the song narrates what was to follow, after J. Cole released his single, "Work Out." The song, reportedly, disappointed Nas, as it strayed from Cole's standard, strong lyricism. After having extreme pride in being a Nas fan, J. Cole was immensely upset after hearing that Nas was disappointed with it, with "Let Nas Down" being his vulnerable response to those emotions.
8. "Crooked Smile"
- "Crooked Smile" served as the second single off of J. Cole's widely-successful album, Born Sinner. The track not only features a vocal appearance from TLC, but also samples Jennifer Hudson's "No One Gonna Love You." The single sold well over 500,000 copies in the U.S. and ended up peaking at the #4 spot for Billboard's U.S. Hot Rap Songs charts.
7. "Before I'm Gone"
- Though J. Cole is known for releasing personal tracks, one of the most personal he's released, thus far, includes "Before I'm Gone" off of Friday Night Lights. Over a slick beat and bright piano tones, Cole spits about his own personal struggles in his hometown, along with the violence viewable throughout the city, that others also face. Amid his personal struggles of living it all "dirt-poor in a trailer," as the lyrics reveal, Cole claims his spot in the rap game, standing as a role model for those also hailing from his hometown, "So meet the newest role model who don’t know how to fake this sh**."
6. "Power Trip"
- Serving as the lead single off of Born Sinner, "Power Trip" featured an infectious vocal contribution for Miguel
, on the Cole-produced track. Originally, Cole presented the track to Jay-Z, Roc Nation founder, with solely Cole singing the single's melodies. As Cole recalled to Billboard, "When I played it for Jay-Z, his first words were, 'Yo, you should get Miguel on this." A romantic, heartfelt track, "Power Trip" earned J. Cole and Miguel a nomination at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
5. "Lights Please"
- After hearing "Lights Please," Jay-Z immediately signed J. Cole to Roc Nation, catalyzing a shift in his career, according to Complex. The track originally appeared on Cole's The Warm Up, only to later reappear on Cole World: The Sideline Story. According to Cole, the song has a double-meaning, not solely applicable to referring to a girl he's involved with. In Dec. 2013, during an interview with Hard Knock TV, J. Cole confirmed that "Lights Please" had a double meaning, as the second layer refers to the relationship between him and hip-hop.
4. "I Get Up"
- Off of The Warm Up, "I Get Up" is frequently cited as the track that demonstrates Cole's capabilities and illuminates him as the one at the top of the modern rap game. Filled with bra**y instrumentation and a solid beat, "I Get Up" has Cole "urging those in the many neglected hoods of America to keep their heads up, before begging fathers to raise their kids so that they could overcome the bullsh**,' according to Complex. Proving a source of positivity and inspiration, Cole spits, "Show the sons how to lead not to follow / The present is our gift but our seeds got tomorrow."
3. "Be Free"
- "Be Free," released in 2014, might not showcase J. Cole's sk**ful lyricism or dynamic flow, but it's captivated by prominent emotionalism and vulnerability. When J. Cole released "Be Free," while grieving over the d**h of Michael Brown, Cole included, on Sound Cloud, the message: "Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free." Expressing his pain and grief, J. Cole can hardly push through the song, without breaking down. It may not be the standard J. Cole track, but it's one of his most emotional tracks, capturing pain and grieving in the most tangible form.
- Full of confidence, J. Cole started off his series of Simba-based tracks with the release of "Simba," off of his 2007 mixtape, The Come Up. "Simba" depicts a younger Cole, full of hunger, ready to exude his sk**fulness and flow in the rap game. Boasting confidently, Cole raps, "I just ma**acre the streets / I'm a master of the beats and the rhymes / I'm rappin' for the freaks and the dimes / and I shine like a mothaf*ckin diamond."
1. "Lost Ones"
- Referring back to Cole's constant, consistent portrayal of emotionalism and vulnerable tracks, "Lost Ones" easily stands out as the realest, most personal Cole song, to date. By any way, "Lost Ones" is a serious song, as the narrator and his muse find themselves in a debacle, as the narrator's significant other reveals she's pregnant. In an interesting manner, "Lost Ones" shows multiple sides of the situation, presenting the man's viewpoint; the pregnant woman's perspective, along with what the man's friends have been telling him, amid the debacle. The song's chorus is most revelatory of the man's perspective, spitting out, "And I ain't too proud to tell you / That I cry sometime, I cry sometimes about it / And girl I know it hurt, but if this world was perfect / Then we can make it work but I doubt it."
J. Cole Best Lyrics
, Let Nas Down
, Crooked Smile
, Before I'm Gone
, Power Trip
, Lights Please
, I Get Up
, Be Free
and Lost Ones