Saturday, December 7, 2019

Cole-Hearted

Cole-Hearted

Rapper J. Cole

Rapper J. Cole

The only thing more impressive than rapper J. Cole’s chart-topping hip-hop dominance? His commitment to the community and causes larger than himself.

New Year’s Eve is one of Las Vegas’ biggest nights of the year, and the transition between 2018 and 2019 was no exception — more than 300,000 visitors poured an estimated $403 million into the Nevada economy, delighted by world-class entertainers like Kevin Hart, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga.

But the most rave reviews came out of a performance at the Hakkasan nightclub inside the MGM Resort International: courtesy of hip-hop star J. Cole, who is celebrated around the world for his incredible artistry and transformative philanthropic work.

Born Jermaine Lamarr Cole on Jan. 28, 1985, Cole is widely-regarded as one of the best rappers of his generation. His 2011 debut LP, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” debuted atop the Billboard 200, and was certified platinum by Recording Industry Association of America. He has released a total of five albums — including 2018’s “KOD”— and all have reached the top of the charts. Some of his most successful singles includes: “Work Out,” “Can’t Get Enough” (featuring Trey Songz), “Nobody’s Perfect” (featuring Missy Elliott), “Power Trip” (featuring Miguel), “Crooked Smile” (featuring TLC), “Déjà Vu,” and “Neighbors.”

Self-taught on the piano, Cole was the first artist signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. He has collaborated with or produced artists that range from fellow hip-hop wunderkind Kendrick Lamar to legendary superstar Janet Jackson. His other endeavors include his own Dreamville record label, the Dreamville Foundation — supports young people in Fayetteville, N.C. and has provided assistance to North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Florence — and the Dreamville Festival slated for April 6 in historic Dorothea Dix Park. Cole has also bought a house and turned it into a homestead for single mothers and their children to live rent-free.

The road to this success can be traced to Cole’s early days, when he graduated from high school with a 4.2 GPA and moved to New York to pursue his dream of being a hip-hop artist. than deciding that his chances of securing a recording contract would be better in New York City than in his home town of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He accepted a scholarship to St. John’s University, majored and in communications and business, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2007 with a 3.8 GPA. While on campus, he served as president of the pan-African student coalition Haraya.

Said Cole, summing up his achievements: “Anything is possible, you gotta dream like you never seen obstacles.”

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