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Who is J Cole?

J Cole, best known as a rapper and a producer, gained immense success in the early 2010s. One of his initial successes was his project with Roc Nation of Jay-Z. He was also a part of various worldwide tours and sold enormous records produced for Kendrick Lamar. Those records even caught Barack Obama’s attention. Besides singing, Cole is also running a non-profit foundation. Drake praised him with a compliment, “You are looking at one of the greatest, smartest, most legendary artists of our generation.”

Early Life

  1. Cole’s full name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole. He was born on 28 January 1985 at a US Army Base in Frankfurt to a father, an African-American soldier, and mother, a white German Postal worker. He, his mother, and elder brother Zach moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and they lived in a trailer park due to a lack of money.

After some time, J Cole’s mother remarried an Army person, and the family shifted to a better home. Soon, his mother’s second marriage also deteriorated, and the family again lost a home. His stepfather was abusive, especially towards his elder brother Zach. Soon after this marriage ended, Cole’s mother got addicted to Crack due to her new boyfriend.

Soon, his music passion started to find a direction, and Cole joined Terry Sanford Orchestra as a violinist. He began to learn rapping and production. Cole initially tapped as Blaza and then as a therapist. He also mentioned looking through various dictionaries for the names of raps. He then collaborated with a local group called Bomm Sheltuh.

When Cole was a teenager, he did multiple jobs for refining his production skills. He also used to dress up as a kangaroo mascot at the ice hockey rink. Cole then moved to New York and joined St. John’s University after graduating from high school. He graduated with a degree in communications.

J Cole

Image Source: PitchFork

Signing Roc Nation

Cole’s first mixtape, “The Come Up,” was launched in 2007 that was majorly produced by Cole himself. He also rapped over Beats by Kanye West, Large Professor, and Just Blaze. His second mixtape, “The Warm-up,” came out in 2009. His track “Lights Please” caught the attention of producer Mark Pitts, who played it in front of Jay-Z, J Cole’s idol. Earlier, he tried to present it to Jay-z, for which he waited for 3 hours outside his studio. However, he received a response, “Man, I don’t want that shit.”

However, when Mark Pitt made Jay-Z hear it, he was quite impressed, and Roc Nation signed J Cole. He appeared as a guest at Wale, Jay-Z, and Talib Kweli’s track. Cole released his third mixtape, Friday Night Lights, that included rejected songs from his debut album. His next album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, earned platinum certification and praises from critics. L. Times used “satisfying confidence” and “slickly inventive beats” in honor of his songs.

Songs and Albums

Cole postponed his album Born Sinner’s release date several times to avoid clashes with the albums from major artists. However, when finally released in 2013, it was a significant success. The next album, Forest Hills Drive (2014), became No. 1 on the Billboard 200, even without proper marketing. It won several awards like Billboard Rap Album of the Year and was certified as double platinum. It was a rare occasion when an album without major guest appearances achieved such a feat.

J Cole had some serious political views, and critics felt that he should include them in his albums. Critics hinted towards Cole’s visit to Ferguson in 2014 to meet protesters against the Micheal Brown shooting case.

J Cole’s fourth studio album titled “4 Your Eyez Only” also topped the charts. However, this one attracted controversy over some lyrics said to target Kanye West and Drake. As per a NY Times report, after stepping away from the restraints of some notable names in the industry, J Cole was establishing his reputation. It precisely wrote, “feels as if it were made without the slightest concession to what’s happening elsewhere in the genre.”

Creating History

After Cole established a successful name in the industry, his fans restlessly waited for his next release. And then, the next album, KOD, broke all the first-day streaming records on Spotify. It grew straight to the billboard’s top spot. With this, Cole bagged another record. He became the first artist to have debuted three concurrent singles on Billboard’s No.1 spot. The tracks were Kevin’s Heart,” “ATM,” and KOD’s title track.

His Label and Non-profit Work

Today, J Cole runs his label Dreamville Records that he’s operating along with his ex- classmate Ibrahim Hamad. He even releases music by upcoming artists like Omen, Bas, and Cozz.

The label shares the title with his non-profit organization, Dreamville Foundation. While this foundation’s primary aim is to enable youth in his hometown grab opportunities, it is also up for aiding those affected by Hurricane Florence.

Personal Life

J Cole married Melissa Holt, and they have a child together. He also purchased his childhood home some time back and named his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive over it. Cole intends to turn that house into free housing for single mothers.

Apart from his music talent, his efforts for society have earned him praise, even from the presidents. J Cole was even invited to the White House for a meeting with Barrack Obama in 2016. He mentioned some details of this meet in his track “High for Hours.” Barack Obama later commented on the meet saying, “This is the benefit of having teenage daughters, I keep up… I love J. Cole.”

Net Worth and Earnings

Earnings from Music: A significant portion of J Cole’s earning comes from his tours. After becoming a part of Jay-Z Rock Nation, Cole established his name by making just a few thousand dollars per show. When asked about opening for Jay-Z, he said that he earned in peanuts.

But after his album Cole World – The Sideline Story in 2011 and world tour participation, his price went up. He was paid $100k to perform every night. And then, his price just kept increasing. At Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers 3, he was quoted saying, “if I’m on a stage, an M is my minimum wage.”

In 2015, his album Forest Hills Drive Tour grossed $20.4 million. Others, including Your Eyez Only and the KOD Tour, earned him $35.6 million and $26.9 million, respectively. According to Forbes, his earning is approximately $35.5 million.

Cole has 19,900,339 million monthly listeners at just Spotify. And, he makes a lot of money from his verses as well. Earlier, he made approximately $300k per verse, which translates to around $2,000 per word.

Investments and Brand Collaborations: He collaborated with a high fashion brand ball and launched an exclusive line of boots and backpacks. He recently announced a multi-year deal with the brand PUMA, from which he is estimated to earn in millions. He also sells a line of merchandise and t-shirts under his company Dreamville.

Altogether, J. Cole’s earnings from endorsements, music albums, and production total to an estimated Net worth of over $117 million in 2020.

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