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Born Jermaine Lamarr Cole on 28 January 1985, but known by his musical alias J. Cole, this hip-hop artist grew up in North Carolina. He has a German mother and African-American father.
Cole was interested in music at the tender age of 12 and began working on his rapping skills during his teen hood. He moved to New York City to study at St. John’s University just so he could find more opportunities to grow his music career. He released several mixtapes following graduation: “The Come Up” in 2007 and “The Warm Up” in June 2009. Cole persistently sought the attention of hip hop artist and producer Jay-Z and his efforts were rewarded soon after.
J. Cole collaborated with several high profile hip hop artists in the next years including Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, and B.o.B. After gaining some experience and cementing a deal with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation, J.Cole dropped his single “Who Dat” in 2010. The single was a prequel to his third mixtape entitled “Friday Night Lights” which debuted the same year. J.Cole began supporting hip hop superstars Rihanna and Drake on tour, which helped to increase his fanbase.
Roc Nation produced J.Cole’s debut album “Cole World: The Sideline Story” and it dropped on 27 September 2011 to rave reviews. The album jumped to the top of the Billboard 200 and features big names like Drake, Missy Elliott, Trey Songz, and of course Jay-Z. His success led to a nomination for “Best New Artist at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
J.Cole’s sophomore album “Born Sinner” followed in the footsteps of his first album. It was released in 2013 and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The album features guest artists TLC, Miguel, and Kendrick Lamar. J. Cole has since established his own label called Dreamville Records.
J.Cole cites Canibus and Eminem as his musical inspirations. He also grew up listening to his father’s favorite artists 2Pac and Ice Cube and his mother’s favorite genres: folk and rock.