Happy Birthday, J. Cole!
Today, Jan. 28, marks the 34th birthday of Dreamville Records founder, J. Cole, the socially conscious North Carolina MC, producer and record exec. known for his innate ability to appeal to fans from all walks of life.
Born Jermaine Lamarr Cole on an American military base in Germany, the "Nobody's Perfect" MC spent the majority of his youth being raised in Fayetteville, NC, and began rapping at a very young age. Following the wide-spread acclaim of his mixtape, The Come Up, J. Cole rose to fame in 2009 as the first artist to sign to Jay-Z's Roc Nation.
Since then, The North Carolina MC has released five albums over the course of about seven years, all of which have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. His debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, was released in September of 2011, is certified platinum by the RIAA and paved the way for Cole to receive a nomination in the Best New Artist category at the 2012 Grammy Awards. Cole followed up the success with his second studio album, Born Sinner, in 2013. That album is also certified platinum and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards, among plenty of other accolades.
At the end of 2014, Jermaine blessed his fans with an impressive third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which dropped on Dec. 9 of that year after little to no promotion leading in. Although it was a risky move from a PR standpoint, the lack of lead singles and guest appearances on the project didn't hurt his sales one bit. In the year that followed, 2014 Forest Hills Drive won Album of the Year at the 2015 BET Hip-Hop Awards, Top Rap Album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards and served as the catalyst for the "January 28th" spitter to drop Forest Hills Drive: Live, which was recorded in front of a sold-out crowd in his hometown.
After taking some well-deserved time off to marry his college sweetheart, Cole dropped his fourth studio LP 4 Your Eyez Only in December of 2016, yet another certified platinum album that before it was released, saw very little promo time.
J.Cole upped the ante even further in 2018, having dropped one of the very best projects in a music-heavy year with KOD, an album that not only has gone platinum and reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, but also smashed streaming records on both the Spotify and Apple Music platforms.
Most recently, Cole offered up some very memorable contributions to tracks for some of the music's best this past year, including verses on Royce da 5'9'''s "Boblo Boat," 21 Savage’s “A Lot,” and 6lack's "Pretty Little Fears," among many others.
As 2018 came to a close, the Dreamville superstar kicked off the new year by making waves all across the industry, as he announced his label's Revenge of the Dreamers III compilation, which was accompanied by a monumental 10-day series of recording sessions, to which an unprecedented amount of music's heaviest hitters were invited.
As the world awaits the Revenge of the Dreamers III project, Dreamville's boss unloaded a brand new single, "Middle Child," which was produced T-Minus and undoubtedly shows off Cole's competitiveness through bars that highlight the fact that he is respected by so many across the industry.
With his quality over quantity mentality, extremely heavy touring schedule and his ability to speak to hip-hop fans of all generations, it's no surprise the the Dreamville frontman is considered one of the game's best and most respected contemporaries, and will be for many years to come.
Happy Birthday, J. Cole!
See Photos of J. Cole’s Different Looks Over the Years