J. Cole-Artist Project

By: Kaia Bruce

Who is J. Cole?

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, J. Cole, is an American Hip Hop artist born to Kay Cole on January 28, 1985 in Frankfurt, Germany. J. Cole and his brother Zach were raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina by his mother after his father left when he was still a baby. Growing up, Cole watched his mother struggle financially. He held multiple jobs as a teen and moved to New York City after graduating high school for a fresh start. Cole attended St. Johns University and graduated with a degree in communications in 2007 which is the same year his musical career started.

Professional Career

Early

Along with graduating in 2007, Cole released his debut “The Come Up” with beats included by Kanye West. After sharing his work with Jay-Z, Cole signed to Roc Nation in 2009. After signing, Cole was featured on track with popular hip hop artists such as Jay-Z and Wale and by 2010, Cole had released “The Warm Up” and “Friday Night Lights” with the label.

                                                                              Middle

In 2011, J. Cole released “The Sideline Story” which was his first hit album and hit the top of the Billboard 200. In 2014, Cole released “2014 Forest Hills Drive” which reached no. 1 on the Billboards 200 list. Since then, Cole has won a number of BET, Billboard, and Youtube awards for his music. 

Late

Dreamville Records, his own established record, produces music from artists on the come up. Cole still releases music as of today, and has received several grammy nominations in his upcoming years. In 2020, Cole won his first grammy along with 21 Savage and their song “A lot”. Recently, Cole finished his tour for his latest album “The Off Season” which was produced in the beginning of 2021. 

Contemporaries & Influences

One day as a child, Cole came home to find the album 2Pacalypse by Tupac. He immediately connected to Tupac and his passion for Hip Hop had begun. Likewise, in an interview with Steve Lobel, J. Cole also talks about Jay-Z being his mentor before he even signed to Roc Nation in 2009. Cole was inspired by his moves, his experience, and his music. Since Cole has started rapping, he has created features with a number of popular artists such as Miguel, TLC, 50 Cent, and the rapper he most relates to, Kendrick Lamar. 

Social Involvement

In much of J. Cole’s music, he speaks on societal issues such as self-esteem, racism, drugs, and other conflicts that have played a big factor in the Black community. Through his music, Cole provides a safety outlet for those who struggle with any of these problems and gives people something to relate and connect to. Furthermore, through one of his most recent songs “Snow on Tha Bluff” released in 2020, J. Cole addresses systematic racism issues following George Floyd’s murder. Following this, Cole participated in a protest in his hometown to show his anger towards the system and his support for the community.  Aside from music, in 2018, J. Cole founded the Dreamville Foundation which was a nonprofit organization that has provided aid to those affected by hurricane Florence. The mission statement reads, ” to reveal to the urban youth, their limitless potential, through positive life-altering experiences”.

Personal Favorite

In J. Cole’s song “Love Yourz”, Cole raps about the struggles he endured growing up, and how important it is to be grateful of what you have and what you went through. He explains this is the only way to be happy in life; to accept, love, and remain appreciative.

Always gon' be a whip that's better than the one you got
Always gon' be some clothes that's fresher than the one's you rock
Always gon' be a b* that's badder out there on the tours
But you ain't never gon' be happy 'til you love yours
No such thing as a life that's better than yours

J Cole

Awards

2011

    BET Hip Hop award for best mixtape

2013

    BET Hip Hop award for best impact track 

2015

    BET Hip Hop award for best live performer

    BET Hip Hop award for best album of the year

    Youtube music award

    Billboard music award for top rap album

2016

    BET Hip Hop award for best impact track 

2019 

    BET Hip Hop award for Sweet 16: Best featured verse    

    BET Hip Hop award for best impact track 

    BET Hip Hop award for best lyricist of the year

2020

     Grammy award for best rap song

2021

     BET Hip Hop award for best lyricist of the year

Discography

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