Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known as J. Cole, is a rapper and producer who was born in Frankfurt, Germany (January 28th, 1985) and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He gained a passion for rap at a young age and first went by the names Blaza and Therapist (the latter was given to him by Bomb Sheltah, a respected rap group from Fayetteville) before settling on his own name.
He first started getting recognition in 2007 with the release of his début mixtape The Come Up. He would later come to the attention of Jay Z after he heard Cole’s song “Light’s Please”. Jay Z would go on to make J. Cole his first signing to his then newly formed record label, Roc Nation in 2009.
Since then he has become one of the biggest names of the “new school” era, with the release of three platinum certified albums. His debut release Cole World: The Sideline story defied industry expectations by selling over 200,000 copies in its first week without a top 40 hit single at the time and his sophomore Born Sinner, saw him go head-to-head with Kanye West in a now iconic sales battle in Hip-Hop. His third LP, 2014 Forest Hills Drive was released without any radio single promoting it and would subsequently go on to become the first featureless platinum rap album in 25 years.