“You are looking at one of the smartest, greatest, most legendary artists of our generation”-Drake. J. Cole, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, is an unbelievably talented rapper who uses his past experiences and social issues in order to express himself as best as possible. His musical style represent various elements that range from classical music to hip-hop and interludes. J. Cole is a one-of-a-kind rapper because he tries to communicate a message in every single one of his songs. He does not glorify guns, drugs, and sex, the way that other rappers do nowadays. However, that is not to say that he does not talk about drugs or sex because he definitely does, but it is the way he talks about those issues that has captivated my heart. As a college graduated rapper, J. Cole is breaking barriers and stereotypes through the sounds of his music and the lyrics that he thoughtfully composes. Looking to rappers such as Nas, Tupac, Jay Z, and Eminem, J. Cole has developed his own signature style that separates him from the rest of the rappers out in the media today.
I remember being in high school when I first listened to one of his biggest hits, “Work Out” from his 2011 album Cole World- The Sideline Story. “Work Out” became one of his biggest mainstream songs simply due to its’ catchy beat and lyrics. Since this song was playing everywhere I went and on every radio station, I decided to look up J. Cole and see what other types of songs he had. To my amazement, I fully emersed myself in the “Dreamville”. Dreamville is the record lable that was founded by J. Cole after he had been extremely successful in the media. Since J. Cole composes his own songs, he did not want anyone to have any input in the creation and execution of his unconventional songs, therefore he branched out and started his own recording label.
Jeremaine Lamarr Cole was born on January 28th, 1985 in Frankfurt, West Germany. That makes him more special to me because my cousin, whom I consider a sister, was also bon on January 28th. He was born to an African-American father who severed in the U.S Army and to a white German woman who met his father while he was stationed in Germany. His family returned to the States shortly after Jeremaine was born and settled in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Being a part of a multi-ethnic family shaped J. Cole’s outlook on the world because he could never assimilate easily with either race. Growing up, his father used to listen to a lot of Tupac and old school rap, however his mother used to listen to a lot of rock songs, which inspired his unconventional music style that ranges vastly. While having great interests in rapping, ever since the early age of 12, J. Cole continued to focus on his grades and getting into a good school. He graduated high school at the top of his class with a 4.2 GPA and went on to St. John’s University in order to pursue a degree in computer science. He ended up graduating St. John’s with a degree in business and a GPA of a 3.8. J. Cole is different than any other rapper because he decided to get a degree in case his rapping career did not work because he was realistic in a sense.
One of my favorite songs from J. Cole is from his 2011 album Cole World: The Sideline Story. “Nobody’s Perfect”, which features Missy Elliot, speaks to me because he talks about how he made it in life when he says, “ Your son out in Barbados, cheese eggs and potatoes”. In the song he makes several references to Jay Z, considering that Jay Z was the first to sign J. Cole and help bring him to fame. Although the song isn’t considered to be a “clean” song because he uses dirty words, it is so catchy. There’s also a lyric when he talks about a girl in college and how he wants to go over but he needs her to make sure that her roommate isn’t there. It just speaks to so many people, who went to or are in college and dorm, because people have had those moments when they want to lock their doors so their roommates do not bother. The song is extremely sexual, however it is the way he raps and sings that makes it different. He doesn’t discriminate or put women down, he simply sings about having a good time. Whether it be that he has a good time on vacation or whether it be that he has a good time with his girl. Either way, J. Cole is a genius.