Jermaine Lamarr Cole, professionally known as J. Cole, was born on January 28, 1985. He started his musical career at the age of 12 when he learned how to use wordplay to tell stories through rap. Since releasing his debut mixtape, “The Come Up,” in 2007, the star has been on an upward journey to fame and is not showing any signs of slowing down. Now considered one of the most influential rappers of his time, J. Cole has undoubtedly made a name for himself in the music industry.
Jermaine Lamarr Cole
January 28, 1985
Cole was born on a military base. His father, an African-American army veteran, and mother, a European-American postal service official, were separated soon after he and his brother were born. After being abandoned by his father, Cole’s mother moved him and his brother to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Being multi-ethnic, he could identify with his mother’s race and family but was more comfortable identifying as black. He then became interested in rapping and started doing it at the age of 12. In 2000, his mother bought him an ASR-X musical sampler, which propelled his career. Drawing inspiration from Eminem, Tupac, Nas, and other great rappers of his generation, Cole learned how to tell stories and incorporate wordplay into rap. It was not long before he began to post his songs on internet sites, gaining popularity through his moniker ‘Therapist.’ His career then really started to take off through featuring on the albums of other stars. On June 15, 2009, after the release of his second mixtape – “The Warm Up” – Cole featured on Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3” (2009) and Wale’s album, “Attention Deficit” (2009).
He also collaborated with Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek, Reflection Eternal, and B.o.B. These partnerships helped him gain further popularity. In 2010, Cole was named one of “Beyond Race” magazine’s 50 Greatest Breakthrough Artists. During this period, he went on college tours to publicize his music, after which he released his single, ‘Who Dat,’ on April 30, 2010. In August of that year, he got signed to Jay-Z’s prestigious label, Roc Nation, and won the UMA Male Artist of the Year award. He released his first album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” on September 27, 2011, which immediately debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard Charts. With the release of his second studio album, “Born Sinner,” Cole proved that he wasn’t in the music industry for fame. For this album, Cole was more focused on making a social commentary and channeled human nature’s rawness and aggressiveness into his music. This was when Cole became dubbed the ‘conscious rapper’ because of his confessional delivery. Cole carried on with this persona and released his third album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” which went on to become double platinum. “4 Your Eyez Only” and “KOD,” his fourth and fifth albums, debuted at number one on the Billboard Charts, broke streaming records, and touched on social topics such as drug abuse, parental abandonment, depression, and greed.
Cole took to Twitter to announce “Revenge of The Dreamers III,” a compilation album of the American record label Dreamville. Later, he released his sixth studio album, “The Off-Season,” in 2021. A prolific songwriter, Cole has released six studio albums, one live album, two extended plays, three compilation plays, three mixtapes, and 56 singles. A very private man, Cole has revealed that he is married to Melissa Heholt, with whom he has two children.
“Cole World: The Sideline Story” debuts at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200.
This goes on to become double platinum and tops the Billboard charts during its debut.
For his album “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” he gets nominated for Best Rap Album.
This becomes his fifth studio album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200.
His collaboration with 21 Savage, ‘A Lot,’ wins the Best Rap Song.
Why We Love J Cole
His music is relatable
Cole has a great ability to express himself through music, making it an extension of himself. He raps about topics anyone across the globe can relate to, including greed, human nature, politics, and love.
He is an avid activist
Cole is not afraid to use his platform to do good for society. He speaks out against injustices committed in America and the world at large.
He is a philanthropist
Using his influence, Cole has touched many lives. He has housed single mothers in his childhood home and has donated to many charities.
5 Surprising Facts
He graduated magna cum laude
Cole was a brilliant student, graduating with a 3.8 grade-point average from St. John's University.
He worked at a skating rink
As a teenager, Cole worked as a skating rink official where he had to wear a kangaroo costume.
He has major star power
Since his debut, all his albums have topped Billboard Charts and have gone platinum or better.
He loves to try new hairstyles
The worst hairstyle he has ever worn is a Bobby Brown fade with a rat’s tail.
He prefers doing things the old-fashioned way
For his “Born Sinner” album, Cole composed exclusively on a notepad.
J Cole FAQs
When did J. Cole get married?
He tied the knot with his high school sweetheart, Melissa Heholt, in 2016.
Where is J. Cole's house?
It is located in his hometown, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Where was J. Cole born?
The rapper was born in Frankfurt, Germany.
J Cole’s birthday dates