J. Cole: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 2)


With fame comes exposure. And J. Cole is famous now. He occupies a unique space in hip hop, somewhere between the backpacker and the club banger-creator. It makes for an easy listening experience, but he also incorporates clever, intricate rhyming into his music. Anyway. Back to the list.

Number Eight: He is the First Rapper in a Quarter Century to Go Platinum With No Features. It’s a feat to go platinum no matter how you assemble your album, but J. Cole managed to do it without any lyrical help with 2014 Forest Hills Drive.

Number Seven: He Doesn’t Return His Library Books On Time. If he had, he would have graduated from St. John’s on time. Instead, he received his diploma a full seven years later than he should have.

Number Six: He Feels Out of Place as a Biracial Person. While he says he can associate and relate to white people on a certain level (his mom is white), he doesn’t fully identify with whiteness. He has talked about how he is treated – especially by strangers – with the prejudices that often accompany blacks in the United States.

Number Five: He is Musical – Beyond Hip Hop. He learned to play the guitar and the violin growing up, and he was one of the best violinists in his high school. Maybe he’ll incorporate his ability with these instruments more in future records.

Number Four: He Was Inspired by the Greats. Nas, Tupac, and Eminem are influences. He even wrote a song called “Let Nas Down,” and Nas was featured on a remix.

Number Three: He Also Cites Rapper Canibus as a Big Influence. This is a strange one, as most of the time, Canibus is considered to only be significant as a battle rapper. But Cole says the album Can-I-Bus was an inspiration. He even met his longtime production partner, Elite, on a Canibus internet forum.

Number Two: There Was a Rumor of a Sex Tape with Rihanna. Apparently it never actually existed, as J. Cole had a girlfriend at the time. Guess he’s a faithful guy.

Number One: He Coached Youth Basketball in Queens. It was during his time as a college student in New York. He has said the kids sucked at basketball but that he had a pretty good time doing it anyway.