Jay-Z protege hits music scene by storm

By Anthony Foley
October 5, 2011

“Cole World: The Sidelime Story” is the biggest solo debute this year.

With minimal radio support, four years of performing, three critically-acclaimed mixtapes and one false start launching an album, J. Cole finally released his debut album. One day later, critics were raving.

Rapper J. Cole made his chart debut in-style as his “Cole World: The Sideline Story” arrived at No. 1 on the U.S. album roll this week, beating out Adele and Blink-182.

The Jay-Z-protégé’s album debuted with 218,000 albums sold for the week ending Oct. 2.  It’s the biggest solo debut of the year to date.

Before his debut album, he was already an underground sensation.  He had three incredible mixtapes, “The Warm Up,” “The Come Up,” and “Friday Night Lights,” that got him recognized by Jay-Z. Although these mixtapes were not as good as his album, they showed what he was capable of doing.

“Just want to say THANK YOU,” J. Cole said on Twitter after finding out the success of his debut album. “Thanks to y’all, we shook the game up. No chart topping single, just 2 years of hard work, great music and real ass fans #1 album. Thanks to every fan that held me down, every friend, every blog, magazine, tv, radio station, dj’s and pd’s, I feel like we ALL won.”

He is one of my favorite artists in the game right now because he raps and speaks from the heart.  In every song he writes, there is a meaning behind every verse.  He raps about real life situations that everyone can relate to on his road to success.

But what really makes his songs are the beats behind the lyrics. All of the songs on his album have amazing beats to go along with the lyrics. And the combination of the two produce an inspirational sound.

He is also one of the only hip-hop artists with a college degree. He graduated from St. John’s University in New York City.

He also produces his own music. Producing music in not only difficult but it is time consuming. In being able to do so, it shows that he truly is a great musical talent. Along with producing, he also has a star-studded cast alongside him featuring Drake, Trey Songz, Missy Elliot and of course, Jay-Z.

His debut single, “Who Dat,” hit the charts last summer, which gave listeners a preview of what the album would be like.  Despite that single not being on the album, he had three hits, “Lights Please,” “In the Morning” and  “Work Out,” that ensured his place in the rap and hip-hop music industry.  These songs speak volumes to what he is capable of when he gets in the studio and ensures that he is no one-hit-wonder.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, J. Cole has a concert at the Electric Factory. Tickets are ranging from $28.50 to $50.

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait and that seemed to be the case for J. Cole. He was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label when it was founded two years ago.

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Anthony Foley

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