8 Fun Facts About J. Cole

In honor of his 36th birthday, we have 8 things you need to know about Grammy-winning rapper J. Cole

Rapper Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known as J. Cole, turns 36-years-old today! In honor of his birthday, here are 8 fun facts that you probably didn’t know about the Grammy-winning rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.

He was born in Germany, but grew up in North Carolina
The North Carolina native was actually born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his dad was based in the U.S. Army. However, he, his mother Kay, and his older brother Zach moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina just 8 months after he was born. Cole frequently raps about his hometown, which he nicknamed “The Ville,” and even used his address as the title of his 3rd album “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” which won the 2015 Billboard Award for Best Rap Album.

Cole shared in a 2015 interview with Vice, “I lived in that house for like seven good years of my life from age eleven to eighteen. So that’s the house I started rapping in, made my first beat, wrote my first song, had my first girlfriend, my first late night conversations, got my first job, I made the basketball team there; you know it’s like so many great memories associated with that house.”

He has 2 children

Although usually extremely private about his personal life, Cole revealed in his essay for The Players’ Tribune that he has two sons. In the essay titled “The Audacity,” he writes, “Four years have passed. In that time I’ve been blessed with two sons, learned the delicate art of balance between parenthood and career…”

The singer also shared that he felt ready for fatherhood, stating “A month later, I packed my bags and hopped on a plane to Laguardia Airport. A couple weeks prior I learned that I would become a father. It wasn’t a surprise. I had been taking steps to change my life for the past couple years, and I felt ready.”

He used to host $1 concerts

In 2013, Cole went on his 10-city “Dollar & A Dream” tour which charged fans a mere $1 for admission. However, only the dates and cities were released beforehand – no venues. Instead, the rapper tweeted out the location only a few hours prior to the show, and tickets were sold at the concert hall on a first-come, first-serve basis. The tour’s name and concept is a play on his song “Dollar & a Dream,” that encourages listeners to always dream big.

The tour was held in such high regard that Cole brought it back in 2014 and 2015.

Cole was a first-chair violinist

The rapper also dabbles in classical music as he played the violin from 5th to 12th grade, and served as the first chair in his high school orchestra. He even showed off his violin skills in the 2011 Dreamville YouTube video titled “Cole Summer: Episode 1.”

He graduated from college with Magna Cum Laude Honors

Cole is not only musically gifted, but has achieved great academic success as well. The rapper attended St. John’s University in New York City on academic scholarship. He majored in communications and graduated in 2007 with a 3.8 GPA and Magna Cum Laude Honors, which is typically awarded to the top 10-15% of the class. However, Cole did not receive his diploma until 2015 due to an overdue library book.

Even in high school the singer was academically driven, taking AP classes and graduating with a 4.2 GPA.

He is skilled on the basketball court

Cole has proven to be a jack of all trades as the star is also a skilled basketball player. The rapper played in high school and was even a walk-on for the St. John’s University Division I men’s basketball team. Ultimately, Cole chose to focus on music instead. However, he still does play and even showed off his dunking skills at the 2012 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Cole has a diverse job history

Before selling out stadiums and winning Grammys, Cole held a variety of odd jobs. In his teens, the artist worked at an ice-skating rink where he dressed up as a skating kangaroo named Roller Roo.

The rapper also worked as an ad salesman and bill collector. However, Cole admitted to never actually selling any ads and instead, his co-workers would let him take the credit for some of their sales. As a bill collector, he found it difficult and depressing to listen to the sad stories of people struggling to pay their bills.

Luckily, rapping worked out for him.

He wasn’t always known as J. Cole

The rapper wasn’t always known as J. Cole but actually went through a series of pseudonyms before landing on his current moniker. He originally went by “Blaza,” and soon after changed it to “Therapist.” Cole shared with MTV that he had a hard time finding a stage name, stating “We used to look through the dictionary for rap names. I could never find nothing. One day these dudes [Bomb Shelter] were like, ‘Yo, we got a name for you, it’s Therapist,’” After a few years, he felt that the name was better suited for a wrestler and finally adopted “J.Cole.” According to him, the name is a “natural fit.”

We want to wish J. Cole a happy birthday! If you haven’t yet, go send him some love on social media!

About the Author

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Pooja Nayyar

Pooja Nayyar is a student of Political Science at NYU and an Intern at AfterBuzz TV. She is passionate about entertainment news, photography, and all things pop culture.