Artist Spotlight: J. Cole


Jermaine Lammar Cole (J. Cole) was born on January 28, 1985 to Kay Cole, who was a postal worker in Frankfurt, Germany at a United States’ Army base. He has 1 sibling, Zach. After leaving the Army base he and his family later moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina where he was raised. After graduating high school, Cole attended St. Johns University in New York where he graduated in 2007 with a degree in Communications.

After graduating, Cole began focusing a lot of his time on his passion which was music. In 2007 he released his debut mixtape entitled ‘The Come Up’ which was positively received by audiences and critics. Following the mixtape’s success, Cole was contacted by Jay-Z and signed to the record label Roc Nation. Cole released his second mixtape called ‘The Warm Up’ on June 15, 2009. His first single from ‘The Warm Up’ was “Lights Please” which peaked at #9 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop single’s chart.

Cole didn’t rest on his laurels as he began touring and promoting his music and attempting to build a bigger fanbase. He released his third mixtape, ‘Friday Night Lights’ on November 12, 2010 to mixed reviews. Not to be detoured, Cole released his debut studio album entitled ‘Cole World: The Sideline Story’ on September 27, 2011. It debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200 with first week sales of 218,000 copies. The first single from the album “Work Out” peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. ‘Cole World: The Sideline Story’ was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Cole continued his genius by releasing his second studio album entitled, ‘Born Sinner’ on June 18, 2013. The first single released from the album, “Power Trip” peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a platinum certification from the RIAA. Not to be outdone by his past accomplishments, Cole released his third studio album ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’. The album sold 353,000 copies in its first week and became the first rap album in 25 years to be certified platinum in the US with no guest appearances.

On December 9, 2016 Cole released his 4th studio album called, ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ which was his first release with Interscope Records. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 selling 262,000 copies in its first week. The album primarily explored topics concerning the African American community such as mass incarceration, gang violence, depression and discrimination. Cole released his 5th studio album on April 16, 2018 entitled ‘KOD’. The album broke the previous record for views by Drake in 2017 by receiving 64.5 million streams on Apple Music. It accumulated 36.7 million streams on Spotify in its first 24 hours as well.

Cole is married to Melissa Heholt and the couple have one child together. They currently reside in Fayetteville, North Carolina.