Jermaine Lamarr Cole a.k.a. J. Cole is an American singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Read on to learn more about J. Cole the Black Sheep , his early life, upbringing, key moments, and more.
J. Cole was born in United States Army base in Frankfurt, West Germany on January 28, 1985. His mother is a white German who worked as a postal worker for the U.S. Postal Service and his father is an African-American former soldier for the United States. During his youth, Cole’s father abandoned the family, prompting his mother to move Cole and his brother to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Upon graduating high school, Cole moved to New York City and accepted a scholarship to St. John’s University where he initially studied to major in computer science but later switched to business and communication.
Cole later worked in several part-time jobs, e.g. a kangaroo mascot, a file clerk, a bill collector, and a working ad salesman for a newspaper.
Introduction to Music
Cole was introduced to rap music when he was twelve by his cousin. While visiting from Louisiana, his cousin would freestyle and joke around. He was inspired to copy him and eventually fell in love with rap music. He learned to make beats and began posting songs on internet forums when he was seventeen, under the name “Therapist”.
J. Cole released his debut mixtape in 2007 after graduating college. He labeled it “The Come Up. He rapped about everything from the carefree college days to the never-endingstruggle of scrapping for change. Two years later, he followed up with his second mixtape called “The Warm Up”. This mixtape had sharper lyrics but generally explored similar themes. Later, Cole released his third mixtape called “Friday Night Lights” which featured many songs originally plannedfor his first album.
The Road to the Roc
J. Cole always wanted to work with Jay Z. One cold rainy night, he put on a shirt that read: “Produce for Jay Z or die trying”. He stood outside of Jay Z’s studio for about three hours to give him a beat but unfortunately, Jay Z wasn’t interested. Two years later, Jay Z asked Cole if he would like to be the first artist signed to Roc Nation. In his 2009’s The Blueprint 3, he showcased his new signee on “A Star is Born”.
Cole World: The Sideline Story
After many delays, Roc Nation debut came to light in September 2011. The songs on his smash album Cole World: The Sideline Story tells his journey to the Roc. The album isall about the concept of jumping from the sideline to the spotlight against all odds.
2014 Forest Hills Drive
Cole released his third album in December 2014. Known as 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the title is derived from Cole’s childhood home address.
4 Your Eyez Only
Cole’s fourth album “4 Your Eyez Only” was released in December 2016. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming the 4th number one album of Cole.
In April 2018, Cole announced a surprise free event for fans in New York City. The event turned out to be a listening session for “KOD” – his upcoming album that was released later in the same month. On the day of its release, KOD received 64.5 million streams on Apple Music, breaking the previous record for Views by Drake.
Revenge of the Dreamers III
Revenge of the Dreamers III is the 6th consecutive number one album of Cole. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 in 2019.
Virtually every album of Cole has been a smash hit. Over the years, the artist was nominated for numerous awards and won some of them. Details are as follows:
American Music Awards• Nominated for the “New Artist of the Year” award in 2012.• Cole World: The Sideline Story was nominated for the “Best Rap/Hip Hop Album” award in 2012.• 2014 Forest Hills Drive was nominated for the “Best Rap/Hip Hop Album” award in 2015.
- Nominated for the “Best New Artist” award in 2011.
- Nominated for the “Best Hip Hop Artist” award in 2012.
- Party (Remix) was nominated for the “Best Collaboration” award in 2012.
- Nominated for the “Best Male Hip Hop Artist” award in 2014.
- Nominated for the “Best Male Hip Hop Artist” award in 2016.
- 4 Your Eyez Only was nominated for the “Album of the Year” award in 2017.
- Nominated for the “Best Male Hip Hop Artist” award in 2018.
BET Hip Hop Awards
The BET Hip Hop Awards are hosted by BET every year for hip hop performers, music video directors, and producers. J. Cole has won 8 awards from several nominations.
J. Cole is best known for Cole World: The Sideline Story which is his highly successful debut album. The album debuted at number on the US Billboard 200, Top Rap Albums, and Top R&B Albums chart.
What Makes J. Cole the Black Sheep ?
J. Cole is one of the most influential artists of his genre. Virtually all his albums broke streaming records and his music continues to gain traction every year. When Cole speaks, people listen. This level of influence and success hasn’t come overnight. Cole has worked hard to carve a path for himself, producing a number of mixtapes and studio albums over the course of last decade. His dedication and achievements over the years make him a Black Sheep of the month.
But its not just about his music, NO, in my opinion his music pales in comparison to the man himself. Throughout his career, he like Kendrick, has set the pace as an influence of both integrity mixed with story telling, much like earlier artists did like NWA. Although, he may not have the same degree of violence as they did, he continues to awe and inspire people, both young and old, through his recollections of his life, HIS story.
Overall, it’s easy to see WHY we would pick him based on his resume, he’s dynamic, not only as an artist, but as a father, husband, and pro athlete, but beyond all that I am a firm believer that his character is what makes this man great since those are a byproduct of his integrity and values. What do you think? We hope you enjoyed this month’s Black Sheep of the Month. Till next Time– The Black Sheep