Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American rapper and producer. In 2009 he was the first artist signed to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation. His debut album titled Cole World: The Sideline Story was released on September 27, 2011.
Cole, was born in Frankfurt, Germany on January 28, 1985. At the age of 8 months old, he relocated to Fayetteville, North Carolina where he was raised by his white mother, aunt and his cousin. His father is african american, but left him at a young age. Cole attended Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville and graduated in 2003. He decided that he had a better chance of getting signed in New York City, so he chose to attend St. John's University on an academic scholarship where he majored in communication and minored in business, graduating magna cum laude (allegedly). J Cole used to believe that you had to go to New York or somewhere where there is a music scene in order to get signed to a record deal. However, with the dawn of the internet and its infinite sources, he now believes anyone can make a name for themselves anywhere.
 Early career
J. Cole started rapping at the age of 14 when J. Money put him in the rap game and his cousin showed him the basics of rhyming and word play. Inspired by rappers such as Nas, Canibus and Eminem, Cole developed a love for telling stories in his lyrics. At age 15, J. Cole had notebooks filled with rhymes but no beats of his own to record them with. His mother bought him an 808 beat machine so he could produce music himself. By the age of 17, he was posting songs on various internet forums under the moniker "Therapist" J. Cole stood outside of Jay-Z’s place of business for three hours in order to give him a beat he sampled by Idris Muhammad, so that his mentor to be could use it. However, when Jay-Z came out of his building he shunned the up-and-coming rapper. Before J. Cole was signed to Roc Nation, he worked a job as a bill collector. One morning, he turned on his cell phone and noticed that he received a text from an associate asking him to call the associate back. When Cole returned the call, the associate informed Cole that he received a call from Jay-Z’s associates and that he had to meet with them as soon as possible. J. Cole decided not to stay at work and left to go back home to change and get ready for his meeting.
 2007–2011: Mixtapes, features, accolades and nominations
Cole released his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in late 2007 after graduating college. The mixtape, hosted by DJ On Point was cited as including "soul filled sound beats, raw, energetic drums and an endless range of topics; everything from the carefree days of college to the seemingly endless plight of those have-nots scrapping for change"  Jay-Z signed Cole after hearing one of the songs, "Lights Please." Prior to releasing his second mixtape, Cole released the song, "Show Me Somethin'" for promotional purposes. He released his second mixtape, The Warm Up, on June 15, 2009 to critical acclaim.
Cole appeared on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 3 (2009), on the track "A Star Is Born." He is featured on both Wale's debut album, Attention Deficit (2009) and mixtape Back to the Feature (2009) respectively.
In early 2010, Cole was chosen as one of Beyond Race Magazine's "50 Great Breakthrough Artists," he ranked 49, resulting in the cover story of the publication's #11 issue, as well as a Q&A for the magazine's site. He was also featured in XXL magazine 2010 version of Top Ten Freshmen.
In January 2010, Cole, along with label mate Jay Electronica and Mos Def appeared on Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek's single, "Just Begun" for the follow-up of Reflection Eternal's album Train of Thought (2000), titled Revolutions Per Minute (2010). Cole has also appeared on B.o.B's mixtape May 25th (2010) on the song "Gladiators. On March 31, he performed a new song titled "Who Dat", which was once the first single off of his debut album. He later released the song on April 27, 2010. Cole was also featured on Young Chris' song "Still the Hottest" as well as Miguel's debut single "All I Want Is You." Additionally, Cole was featured on titled "We On", a song that failed to make final tracklist for DJ Khaled's Victory LP.
J. Cole began a college tour from March 19, 2007 to April 30, 2010 concluding in New Brunswick, NJ at Rutgers University's annual Rutgersfest. The tour also featured a stop at Syracuse University for a show with fellow rapper, Wiz Khalifa.
To celebrate the anniversary of the release of The Warm Up mixtape, J. Cole released a freestyle entitled "The Last Stretch" on June 15, 2010. On June 21 of that year, J. Cole premiered the music video to his first single "Who Dat" on BET's 106 & Park. In August 2010 J. Cole, was awarded the UMA Male Artist of the Year thanks to his heralded The Warm Up mixtape and a high profile deal with Jay-Z's label Roc Nation at the 2010 Underground Music Awards. In an interview, J. Cole revealed three song names from his upcoming album, including "Wet Dreams", "Won't Be Long", and "Never Told", which was produced by No I.D. On October 30, 2010, a demo titled "I'm Coming Home" was leaked onto the internet, Cole recorded the song as a reference track for Diddy, which later became "Coming Home" off Last Train to Paris (2010).
On November 12, 2010 J. Cole released his third official mixtape titled Friday Night Lights. The tape included features from Drake, Wale & Omen with most of the production being handled by Cole himself.
Cole served as a supporting act for Drake, on the Light Dreams and Nightmares UK Tour, January 5–21, 2011. Cole will return to the UK in the Autumn to support