Welcome to our collection of quotes by J. Cole. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985) known professionally as J. Cole, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany and raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a musical career, he went on to release two additional mixtapes, The Warm Up (2009) and Friday Night Lights (2010) both to critical acclaim, after signing to Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint in 2009. Cole is regarded as one of the most influential rappers of his generation.
Cole released his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in 2011. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. His next album, Born Sinner (2013), also topped the Billboard 200. Moving into more conscious themes, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014) topped the Billboard 200 and earned Cole a Best Rap Album nomination at the 2015 Grammy Awards. His jazz influenced fourth album, 4 Your Eyez Only (2016), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Cole's fifth album, KOD (2018), became his fifth number-one album on the Billboard 200 and featured a then-record six simultaneous top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, tying The Beatles. His sixth studio album, The Off-Season, was released on May 14, 2021.
Self-taught on piano, Cole also acts as a producer alongside his rap career, producing singles for artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Janet Jackson, as well as handling the majority of the production in his own projects. He has also developed other ventures, including Dreamville Records, as well as a non-profit organization called the Dreamville Foundation. Dreamville's compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III (2019) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards. In January 2015, Cole decided to house single mothers rent-free at his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Cole has won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song, a Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album, three Soul Train Music Awards, and 8 BET Hip Hop Awards. All five of his albums have been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as well as Revenge of the Dreamers III.
This slang that I speak don't change that I'm deep.
In hip-hop, there's not a lot of love. There's not a lot of love being spread. It's always like 'I'm stuntin' on you raps, or I'm better than you raps.' It's not a lot of 'Yo man, I idolize you raps.'
Sometimes I try a Mai Tai. It's so fruity. It's a little embarrassing, but I like it.
To appreciate the sun you gotta know what rain is.
Either you play the game or let the game play you and be that broke sucka talkin bout I stayed true.
Cause you a star--no, not the type that snort the white lines
I mean the type to light the night time.
College had a great deal to do with my development as a person. I don't know if I'd be the artist I was if it wasn't for goin' to school like that. School is a good place -- it ain't for everybody, but I think it's for most people.
School is a good place -- it ain't for everybody, but I think it's for most people.
I never really told anybody that I'm a rapper. I wasn't walking around being like, Yo, check out my mixtape! It was more of a secret grind.
There's still value in a CD, even if it's just nostalgic. People are still willing to pay. But it can't compare to a digital-only release where you can control the exact time that it'll come out, you know what I mean? So whoever finds how to bridge that gap is gonna make a lot of money.
It's beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success.
One thing you should know about me is I never play to lose, Always aim high and rarely obey the rules.
I want people to follow their dreams, yes... but I'm not interested in telling young black kids how to be rappers... I want to show them that there's so many other paths you can take, besides a rapper or basketball player.
I'll be dammed if I sit around another year, Dreamin' dreams hopin' somehow that they just appear.
Believe in God like the sun up in the sky, see science can tell us how but it can't tell us why. I seen a baby cry then seconds later she laughed, the beauty of life the pain never lasts.
I seen a baby cry seconds later he laughs... the beauty of life, the pain never lasts.
My parents were divorced by the time I was even conscious -- like I don't remember them ever being together.
I don't wanna forget the fact that I wanna be one of the best rappers. I feel like some of the best rappers ever -- 2Pac, namely, one of them -- could take sub-par beats or average beats and turn them into incredible songs.
We got dreams and we got the right to chase 'em, Look at the nation, that's a crooked smile braces couldn't even straighten.
Sold my soul to Satan. I've been dancing with the devil. So when you get to hell you can say you know me. I'm easily attracted by the dark side. Devil keep following.
If I lost your respect...I'm just hope you don't look at me as something you regret.
I gotta make a move, I gotta do this now,
If they don't know your dreams, they can't shoot 'em down.
Promise to my momma I'ma make it to the Top..
So I'ma keep climbing til my heartbeat drop.
I feel like relationships are a beautiful thing, period. Relationships can be really beautiful, they can be really hard, they can be really rewarding, or they can be bad relationships where it's really detrimental and hurtful, but that's life, period.
Don't worry, Even Jesus never saw his real father.
Tupac was just so passionate about what he believes in and not afraid to say anything.
A lot of my music is just self-observation. Like telling you, Oh man. What did I just do? How much did I just pay for this chain? Why did I do that? Wait a minute. Let me talk about that. Or like, the temptation. Let me talk about that. Let me observe myself.
Yeah school girl, cool girl. Your dress is sexy and your momma is a cougar.
I wanna show you I can out-rap your favorite rappers. I wanna show you I can out-produce your favorite producers. So I'm constantly getting better and I understand that there's always room for growth, especially in quality, sonic quality.
You are perfect exactly as you are. With all your flaws and problems, there's no need to change anything. All you need to change is the thought that you aren't good enough.
History repeats itself and that's just how it goes.
Far from the richest rapper, but my biggest personal achievement thus far in my life has been retiring my mom early from her job at the Post Office. It's a tiny payback for the sacrifices she made that allowed me to chase a far-fetched dream of becoming a successful artist. I'm forever grateful.
I'm not a conscious rapper, all those things we talk about, the struggle, the pain, the outlook to the future, keep your head up. I try to put all those positive things into a regular human character, which is myself.
So ahead of my time even when i rhyme about the future I be reminiscing.
Producing all my own songs and refusing to go to the hot producer. That's the biggest risk I've taken so far.
I don't like to think of it as being fired. Instead, I prefer to think of it as being on indefinite leave with a sabbatical flair.
In this life ain't no happy endings;
Only pure beginnings followed by years of sinning and fake repentance.
I want to be like Bruce Springsteen or something, making songs that are relevant.
When composing music, I just start spilling things out and then wait until they take form, you know what I mean, until I see like a common thread or something.
The music becomes more pure and soulful when it's true, and it has to be true these days with the way the internet works, and the way the game works, everyone wants authentic raps.
They say time is money but really it's not
If we ever go broke, then time is all we got
And we can't make that back, no you can't make that back.
It's the way I enjoy making art -- I like sitting down and making five beats; I enjoy that process. I can go two weeks without making a song and just making beats and I'll be OK.
I wish I studied more religions, I wish I read the Bible, the Quran. I think as I get older, I will start to really dive into religions, just because I feel like there's truths in all of those books. Clearly. I'm saying there's truths in all of them.
Keep grindin' boy, your life can change in one year, And even when it's dark out, the sun is shining somewhere.
Don't let bridges you cross be bridges you burn.
No need to fix what God already put his paint brush on.
I'm already hot, you could say I'm pre-heated. If money talks, mine's telling your's to 'be seated.
The bad news is nothing lasts forever,
The good news is nothing lasts forever.
If I'm a character, it's a biographical movie. My character is as close to me as possible. As close to being myself as possible. So my character, J. Cole, is very close to Jermaine Cole.
I worked in ad sales. I would call up local businesses and try to get them to buy ads in the paper. The whole time, I felt like I was just scamming people.
I want people to follow their dreams, yes but I'm not interested in telling young black kids how to be rappers I want to show them that there's so many other paths you can take, besides a rapper or basketball player.
I'ma be here for a while. None of these clowns can hurt me.
Get on yo job little man this ain't Saturday.
I think if I did something in the pop world right now, it would be for Rihanna. I'd love to do something production wise for her.
I pay attention to lyrics and I know what rap fans care about. I try to write for the average listener and I'm conscious of the mainstream without selling out.
I met Will Smith twice. I didn't talk to him for too long but I was trying to let him know that my age group grew up watching him -- he was the coolest guy on television and the coolest guy in movies.
I had a rat-tail when I was younger. I had this nice Bobby Brown fade, with a rat-tail that was long enough to wrap around my face. I used to chew on the end and bite it.
I do put a lot of God in my music, but not because I'm super religious. There are a lot of demons in my music, too. I acknowledge both.
I now possess the tools as a producer and a songwriter to really just go out and make smashes all day long. I could make an album full of smash records that got pop appeal. But my heart is in hip-hop. My heart is in telling stories. And it's like therapy for me.
Barack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That's just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin.
I still wanna rap better than everybody else, and I wanna say important things.
I was a super-duper Tupac fan, and I realized later, when I became a huge Nas fan and a huge Eminem fan, I was drawn to the storytellers. They all told stories in different ways, but they were all like the best storytellers.
No rapper in the world from Jay-Z to Tupac to Biggie has 100 percent love on everything they do.
Touring is very routine. You get to the city, you go to the hotel, you got to be at the hotel by a certain time -- it's very routine. I'm not a very structured person, so when I get some structure, it's cool; it's good for me.
My fans love me for me, my beats, my rhymes.
I was a huge Mike Tyson fan growing up; his fights were always on in my house.
Usually I start with a beat, I start making a beat, and my producer side is making the beat. And on a good day, my rapper side will jump in and start the writing process -- maybe come up with a hook or start a verse. Sometimes it just happens like that. A song like 'Lights Please' happens like that.
I always feel like it's two key ingredients when it comes to following your dreams, making something happen that the average person deems difficult. If you truly believe it, that's step one. Step two, is, you know, the hard work that goes along with it.
As much as it might look like, to someone else, that I'm successful, I never feel like I'm anywhere. The further I go, I still feel equally further from my eventual goal. Because as I grow, I get more goals. I'm never content.
I was a class clown. At 12, I was definitely clowning. I was making all the jokes. But I was smart, so the teachers didn't know what to do with me.
People think because I've got some success, I've made it, but in my eyes it's like, 'How long has Jay Z been in the business? How many albums has he got?' Not that I'm trying to be Jay Z, but I am trying to be around for a long time.
The thing about being an artist today is you get to develop right in front of people's eyes before you even put out an album.
I kinda like the idea of having an album that's all me.
I've got two Rolexes that I'm very proud of -- a gold Presidential that was a gift and a white gold one I gifted myself. I'm trying to step my game up and get a few more of those.
I don't live for the accolades. I'm more so about the music. Making it, and putting it out. Those are the two best feelings.
I have a little bit of that gamer spirit in me. I just don't have the time to be a gamer. But in another life, I would be one.
I've always been an underdog. I feel like I beat the odds.
You can't reverse fame. You can lose all the money, but you'll never lose people knowing you.
I'm here to spread a message of hope. Follow your heart. Don't follow what you've been told you're supposed to do.
There's been people who've rapped and produced -- like Kanye -- but I don't feel like on the rapping side there's ever been a producer who can rap as good as I think I can rap.
I feel like the reason people feel like they know me is because I'm giving you myself in the music. There's where the connection comes from; you can't Twitter that.
I just feel like, with rappers, there's so much complacency. It's like, 'Oh, I'm a rapper. I'm successful. I make money. That's all that matters.' But there's a lot of stuff going on in the world. Whether or not you're aware of it, it's happening.
I'm not gonna be bad at anything, and I want to actually be the best at anything I'm doing. So if I'm playing basketball, if I'm taking the SATs, like, there's a competitive spirit behind it. With production, it's the same thing.
My parents were divorced by the time I was even conscious -- like, I don't remember them ever being together.
College isn't in everyone's hearts. I am living proof, though, that school doesn't mess up your plans. It gives you more experiences to write about.
I actually started off majoring in computer science, but I knew right away I wasn't going to stay with it. It was because I had this one professor who was the loneliest, saddest man I've ever known. He was a programmer, and I knew that I didn't want to do whatever he did.
I actually started off majoring in computer science, but I knew right away I wasn't going to stay with it. It was because I had this one professor who was the loneliest, saddest man I've ever known. He was a programmer, and I knew that I didn't want to do whatever he did. So after that, I switched to Communications.
Anything I do, I want to do it well.
I struggled with being a broke college graduate, and while all my friends were getting career jobs, I was working horrible part-time jobs. That's why now, even when I get tired, I think, 'This is what I asked for.'
Rhyme patterns are nothing without meanings to the words. A lot of rappers can do those flows, but the raps aren't really about anything -- which is cool sometimes, but to have the flow and the message is one of my favorite things.