J Cole


Liam O'Toole, Reporter

Jermaine Lamarr Cole is a game changer in the hip hop industry and many people do not recognize it. Cole was born on January 28, 1985, on an army base in Frankfurt, West Germany. After eight months in Germany, Cole and his family returned to the states but his father left the family soon after. Cole grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with only his mother and brother. He recalls his original raps being about drugs, woman, and being fake, which he describes as him “fronting.” When he turned fourteen, he turned to battle rap and at the age of 15 his mother bought him a beat machine that changed everything for Cole. He had a new appreciation for music and understood the challenge involved in making a real song; a story.

While giving a tour of his childhood home, Cole speaks about the role producing music in his home played in his development as a young man, “All the bottles they be popping, its temporary. The love was important, the love I had for the music, the love I had for raping, the love I had when I made my very first song, the feeling I got, that was very important.” Cole released his first independent project in 2007, a mixed tape titled The Come Up. His popularity automatically skyrocketed and he was contacted by rapper Jay Z and became the first artist signed to his label Roc Nation in 2009. Shortly after singing, he released his second mixed tape The Warm Up followed by Friday Night Lights in 2010.

Jermaine Cole went to St Johns University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Cole is a unique artist that contradicts the stereotypes of hip-hop music. One of his most popular songs, Crooked Smile, is an inspiring song about young adults struggling with their image. Cole raps about his crooked smile, and although he has the money to fix it he does not because it is unnecessary. The focus of the song turns to women and their immense struggles with image; “You wake up, put makeup one, stare in the mirror, but it’s clear you can’t face what’s wrong. No need to fix what God already put his paintbrush on.”

Cole’s unique style and genuinely meaningful lyrics played a vital role in his first three albums debuting at number one on Billboard 200. Jermaine Cole is a highly respected artist in the music industry, creating a clean sound with powerful lyrics. Cole sings about the struggle of blacks in America, people struggling with their image, and his first time having sex. Cole’s music is a true reflection of his life and what he is experiencing. He understands that his music may not change the world today but it will spark the mind of people that might change the world. Cole wants to create lyrics that will last forever, something that people will always be able to relate to. I highly recommend that everyone checks out his music especially Friday Night Lights, his most recent album 2014 Forrest Hills Drive and a single Be Free.

An eye-opening interview to check out is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1FqxcfnWi0