J. Cole was born Jermaine Lamarr Cole in Frankfurt, Germany in a US army camp on 28th January 1985, where his father was stationed at that time.
His father is of African descent while his mother is German origin.
She worked for the postal service of the United States. His father turned his back on his family soon and Cole’s mother brought him and his brother
Zach to the US, North Carolina.
Cole was brought up in a multi-ethnic environment and says that his upbringing makes him totally against racism. Cole was a shy kid and was immensely
attracted to music and basketball.
J. Cole played violin for some time and this was the time when he got addicted to music and started dreaming about being a musician someday.
Rapping came natural to Cole and he started doing it quite often by the time he was 12.
Upon receiving a music sampler one Christmas from his mother, Cole became hooked to music production. He joined a few local small time groups and started
practicing rapping and making beats.
Cole thought that a move to New York would let his musical ambitions breathe and he found the right excuse by expressing the desire to study there and
majored in computer science, and kept working on his music side by side
J. Cole’s career started at a very young age when he and cousin started to learn the basic tricks and nuances of music production on their own.
They wrote lyrics together and upon receiving a drum machine from his mother, Cole started refining his music production skills, and by the time he turned 16,
J. Cole was sending out his mixtapes to some of the best known names in the business such as Jay Z and Eminem, but to no avail.
Cole had already released his first mixtape ‘The come up’ in the hope of getting noticed but got disappointment instead. He would stand outside Jay Z’s
office for hours and when he finally got a call from the man himself, he knew his time had come.
Jay Z was initially not impressed with Cole, but understood his passion and gave him a chance to feature in one of the songs for his album ‘The Blueprint 3’,
which received critical acclaim and thereafter, Cole started collaborating with more artists and released his second mixtape in June 2009.
‘Beyond Race’ magazine chose him as one of the ’50 great breakthrough artists’ in 2010 and in the same year he embarked on a college tour where he
performed several times with Wiz Khalifa. In June, Cole released a freestyle album titled ‘The last stretch’.
Later in 2010, Cole came up with his next mixtape titled ‘Friday Night Lights’ which included collaborations with Drake, Omen and Wale. Drake and Cole became
buddies and Cole ended up as a supporting act for Drake’s UK tour. In the next few months, Cole supported Rihanna on her tour.
It was now the time for his first studio album ‘Cole Story: The Other Side’ in 2011 and it immediately climbed to the top spot in the Billboard 200 chart
in the very first week of its release.
J. Cole followed the success of his first album with another one in 2013 titled ‘Born Sinner’ which featured names such as Kendrick Lamar, TLC and Miguel.
The album made its debut on the Billboard at no.2 spot and went on to sell more than 250000 copies in the first week alone.
In the third week, the album gained more popularity and reached the top spot in the much coveted chart.
The very next year, Cole made a comeback with yet another solid album titled ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’. According to him, it was a little bit autobiographical.
Despite being not promoted well enough and announced just a couple of weeks before its release, the album became a massive hit as soon as it hit the markets
and debuted at number 1 spot in most of the charts. One single from the album titled ‘Apparently’ was nominated for the Grammy awards in the Best Rap
Performance segment and the album also ended up grabbing a nomination for the Best Rap Album award.
His biggest work till date arrived in 2016 in form of ‘4 your eyez only’, and it debuted at the number one spot in the Billboard 200 charts.
J. Cole met Mellisa Heholt during college and they started dating, but nothing was heard of their marriage. In a 2016 interview Cole finally
revealed that he has a wife and a baby daughter who was born in the same year.
Cole has founded the Dreamville Records and Dreamville foundation. While the former works towards promoting new talent in the music industry,
the latter works towards improving the living standards of youths residing in the ghettos.
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