Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by J. Cole, is an American rapper/producer. Born in Franfurt, Germany and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 2009 he became the first artist to sign to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label.
His debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story was released in September 2011, and hit number one on the US Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums chart, selling more than 218,000 in its first week.
He received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 54th Grammy Awards.
On December 2nd, he released a documentary called Eyez exclusively for Tidal. The documentary included behind the scenes footage of the making of his next album, 4 Your Eyez Only. He also showed off two music videos for the songs, "False Prophets" and "everyone dies" which aren't on the album.
- The Come Up (Mixtape) (2007)
- The Warm Up (Mixtape) (2009)
- Friday Night Lights (Mixtape) (2010)
- Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011)
- Truly Yours (Mixtape) (2013)
- Truly Yours 2 (Mixtape) (2013)
- Born Sinner (2013)
- Truly Yours 3 (2013)
- Revenge of the Dreamers (with Dreamville Records) (Mixtape) (2014)
- 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)
- 4 Your Eyez Only (2016)
- KOD (2018)
- The Off-Season (2021)
- Bookends: The album Born Sinner has its intro "Villuminati" open with a distorted version of the chorus of the last track, "Born Sinner".
- Broken Pedestal: References this on "See World". This might be a reference to rapper Canibus, who Cole has stated he's a fan of. Canibus would later diss Cole, only to recant later.
- Broken Record:
- From "Wet Dreamz": There's "And I ain't never did this before, no".
- From "No Role Modelz": There's "Don't save her, she don't wanna be saved".
- From "Hello": There's "Shit seem so sad when you look back".
- From "ATM": There's "Count it up, count it up, count it up, count it".
- From "FRIENDS": There's "Cop another bag and smoke today" repeated 16 times.
- But Not Too Black: J. Cole is biracial and has mentioned this trope a few times, sometimes playing it straight other times subverting or deconstructing it.
- Call-Back: Does this frequently.
- "Ladies" contains references to "Split You Up"
- "Heartache" and "2Face" both contain references to "Dollar and a Dream"
- "Power Trip" contains a reference to "Dreams", he even goes as far as to build the video for "Power Trip" around this call back.
- His Pastor Kerney Thomas skit on 'Born Sinner' is a reference to the third verse of his song "Blow Up" where he criticizes televangelism.
- "Cole Summer" subtly calls back "Can I Holla At Ya".
- Cluster F-Bomb: He's a rapper, what else would you expect?
- Conspicuous Consumption: Deconstructed on "Chaining Day"
- Digging Yourself Deeper: The reaction caused by his Crosses the Line Twice lyrics on "Villuminati".
- Disappeared Dad: He has a strained relationship with his father, this is a reoccurring topic of his.
- Dream Team: Him and Jay-Z on "Mr. Nice Watch" and him and TLC on "Crooked Smile".
- Dual-Meaning Chorus: "World Is Empty", "Can I Holla At Ya?".
- Early Installment Weirdness: His earlier works circa The Come Up often contained references to guns and violence, something that he actively avoids now.
- Freestyle Version: Frequent across his earlier mixtapes, mostly over songs by Kanye West and Jay-Z, although also over Cassie's "Must Be Love", Missy Elliott's "Best Friend" and Talib Kweli's "Get By".
- Fun with Acronyms: KOD is short for either Kids on Drugs, Kill Our Demons, or King Overdosed.
- Guest Fighter: Appeared in the 2009 reboot of NBA Jam with producer 9th Wonder as an unlockable team.
- Jazz Rap: Not exclusively, but many of the beats he makes frequently utilize jazz samples.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Enchanted"
- The Mentor: His is Jay-Z. In terms of record production his mentor is hip-hop producer, No I.D., who also mentored Kanye West.
- Mundane Made Awesome: In "Foldin' Clothes", where Cole (as the character James Mc Millain) expresses undying love and dedication to his pregnant wife by doing mundane tasks like folding clothes and watching Netflix with her.
- Music Is Politics: Discussed in "Cole Summer" and "Let Nas Down".
- Murder the Hypotenuse: "Dreams", as well as the video for "Power Trip"
- Non-Appearing Title: "Before I'm Gone", "Enchanted", "Villuminati", "LAnd of the Snakes", "Sideline Story", "Lil' Ghetto Nigga", "Is She Gone Pop?".
- Raging Stiffie: Mentioned multiple times in "Wet Dreamz": "That's when my heart starts racing and my body start sweatin'/Baby, you done woke my lil' man up" and "I'm in her crib, now a nigga palms' sweatin'/With a pocket full of rubbers and an erection".
- Record Producer: The majority of the music he's released has been self-produced.
- Refrain from Assuming: "Power Trip", "Forbidden Fruit", "Premeditated Murder", "Tears For ODB", "Rich Niggaz"
- Sampling: A key part of his production style.
- "straight up now tell me, do you really wanna love me forever, oh oh oh, or is it just a hit and run"
- "Born Sinner, the opposite of a winner".
- "No I.D. my mentor, now let the story begin..".
- "Freedom or jail, clip's inserted, a baby's being born/same time, a man is murdered; the beginning and end/as far as rap goes, it's only natural I explain my plateau and, also what defines my name...
- Spiritual Successor: Arguably to an early Kanye West.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Some of his guest appearances on song by other artist put him in this position.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: KOD in general can be taken as a satire / criticism of common rap tropes and their impact on the black community and its perception in popular culture. On "1985", he discusses this specifically in regard to the "new school" of 2010s rap, which he considers to be pandering to white people's stereotypes of black culture.And plus, you havin' fun, and I respect that
But have you ever thought about your impact?
These white kids love that you don't give a fuck
'Cause that's exactly what's expected when your skin black
They wanna see you dab, they wanna see you pop a pill
They wanna see you tatted from your face to your heels
And somewhere deep down, fuck it, I gotta keep it real
They wanna be black and think your song is how it feels
- Those Two Guys: Him and Kendrick Lamar. Also Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Unexpected Character: A few... His first album had Missy Elliott (who had been on a music hiatus), whilst his second had TLC, Amber Coffman, Mike Epps and Pastor Kearney Thomas, whilst if you bought the deluxe of that album you got a song which included a chorus (for no apparent reason) by 50 Cent.
- Wolverine Publicity: Sort of averted. He does have a tendency to do lots of features, but they don't seem to give him the exposure they probably should.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: "Wet Dreamz", "No Role Modelz", "Love Yourz".