Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is a German born American rapper, singer and record producer. In 2009, he was the first rap artist signed to Jay-Z's label Roc Nation. His long-awaited debut album titled Cole World: The Sideline Story was released on September 27, 2011. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums chart, selling more than 217,000 in its first week sales. He received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 54th Grammy Awards to be held on February 12, 2012.
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 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. 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. 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. Cole served as a supporting act for Drake, on the Light Dreams and Nightmares UK Tour, January 5–21, 2011.
On May 22, 2011, J. Cole released a song entitled "Return of Simba," the third in the "Simba series" following "Simba" and "Grown Simba." Cole purposefully avoided releasing his debut album’s title for fear of inconsistency. He only announced that Jay-Z will be featured on his debut album. Cole released his follow-up single to "Who Dat", "Work Out" on June 15, 2011, in honor of the second anniversary of his highly acclaimed mixtape The Warm Up. The song, produced by Cole himself, samples "The New Workout Plan" by Kanye West and interpolates "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul. On July 31, J. Cole took to Twitter and his website to announce Any Given Sunday. Reminiscent of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Fridays, a weekly free music giveaway. J. Cole wrote "Every Sunday til the album drops I’ll be back with something. Maybe just 1 song, maybe a video, depending on how I’m feeling." For the 3rd installment of his Sunday series, "Any Given Sunday", J. Cole hopped on Ustream to update fans about the album and play some tracks that didn't make the cut. On August 22 Cole released his debut album's cover art, designed by Alex Haldi for Bestest Asbestos, whom J. Cole recorded a song for titled "Killers", for Haldi's mixtape The Glorification of Gangster. For the fourth installment, on August 29, he released his debut album's track list, once again through twitter. On August 15 a music video was released for the album's first single "Work Out" on YouTube, Vevo and 106 & Park. On August 30, after an unfinished version had leaked, "Can't Get Enough" featuring R&B singer Trey Songz was released as the album's lead single. While in Barbados for his last performance as the official opening act for Rihanna's Loud Tour, Cole shot the music video for his debut album's second single, "Can't Get Enough", with Songz and Rihanna, who provided a cameo while in her home town. The video, directed by Clifton Bell, was released on September 14, 2011. In addition early on September 25, two days before his album's release, Cole released a music video for the iTunes bonus track "Daddy's Little Girl".
On October 24, it was announced by J. Cole that his sophomore album will be released in June 2012. He had mentioned that the album will consist of songs that never made the track list for his debut album. On November 6, 7 and 8, Cole was the support act for Tinie Tempah, during his concert at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales; LG Arena, Birmingham, England; and MEN Arena, Manchester, England. After the release of Cole's first album, he immediately went on a national tour across the U.S., in which he was the headliner for the first time. He has opened for labelmates, Rihanna and Jay-Z. Less than three months after his debut Cole World: The Sideline Story hit stores, J. Cole has received gold certification for sales of more than 500,000 units of the LP. Currently J. Cole was recently nominated for Best New Artist at the 2012 Grammys.