J. Cole, the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s, Roc Nation label—recently released his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story.

Cole, who was born in Frankfurt, Germany started rapping at the age of 14. Inspired by Canibus and Eminem, Cole developed a love for telling stories with his lyrics.

Cole always knew that he wanted to rap, but unlike many rappers, Cole opted to go to college first. When deciding which school he wanted to attend, Cole knew that he wanted to be near New York City because he thought he’d have a better chance at getting signed!
It wasn’t long before he was enrolled at St. John’s University on an academic scholarship where he majored in Communications and minored in Business, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

After graduating college, J Cole had a plan!
“I had this shirt made— it was probably like 2005, whenever 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ came out. I got a shirt that said, Produce for Jay-Z or Die Trying so I

was like, maybe I’ll just take the Kanye route and do beats first and then come with the rap!”

J. Cole stood outside of Jay-Z’s office for three hours so he could give Jay the beat he made—sampled by Idris Muhammad, to play for Jay. However, when Jigga came out of his building he shunned the up-and-coming rapper.

Fast-forward, as faith would have it, Jay-Z happened to hear Cole’s mixtape stint: Lights Please…

“The name of the song that Jay first heard, that got his interest was Lights Please and I guess his initial reaction was like, ‘wow—incredible, bring this kid to me.’ This is what I heard, I got word from people that knew him and was like ‘Jay was just talking about your song’!”

One morning, while working as a bill collector, Cole turned on his cell phone and noticed that he had a text from an associate asking him to return his call ASAP. When Cole returned the call, the associate said that Jay-Z wanted to meet him—Cole decided not to stay at work, but went home, to get ready for his meeting with the CEO of the ROC.

Soon after, Cole appeared on Jay-Z’s “A Star Is Born.” Then, while touring with various artists: Rihanna, Drake and Tinie Tempah, Cole managed to finish his own album—Cole World: The Sideline Story which debuted late September.

“All singles done. Album ridiculous. Title Perfect. Music incredible. Thank you for your patience. Let’s change the game.”

Cole’s debut was number one on the billboard charts selling 215,000 copies the first week! It’s just his first album and already his fans…

About Kasheba:

Ka’Ja Johnson is a journalist from New York City! While working closely and consistently with COMCAST Media, BET-J, MTV2, JUMPOFF.TV, C.I.N. and now HIPHOPWORLD.com, Ka’Ja has been able to pioneer, hands-on experience with education—making her an ultimate hustler. A woman on the grind, Ka’Ja has interviewed celebrities: singers, athletes, actors, models fashion designers etc.

“I definitely think that Journalists and bloggers alike should have a responsibility to report with integrity! No lies, no hype, just the facts—and the story should pretty much write itself!”

When asked, who her favorite Hip-Hop artists the game right now? Ka’Ja looks like a kid in a candy store, “Tinie Tempah, Tyga, Jay-Z, Swizz BeatZ’, Jadakiss—and YES I STILL LOVE TUPAC! Also too, I’d wish Eve would come out with a new album but I do like some of Nicki Minaj’s stuff!!

Related posts: