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J Cole, 29
Known for his top singles “Crooked Smile” and “Work Out," Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known by his stage name, J Cole, turned 29 this Tuesday.
Born in Frankfurt, West Germany, Cole later relocated to Fayetteville, N.C. where he began rapping by the age of 12. He attended St. John’s University with hopes of earning a rap deal in New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
It was J Cole’s second mixtape The Warm Up (2009), however, that led him to his dreams. After receiving positive reviews on the mixtape and his ability to tell a story with his lyrcist, J Cole went on to appear on Jay Z’s album The Blueprint 3 (2009) on the song “A Star is Born." J Cole became the first signed artist to Jay Z’s label Roc Nation.
From there, the story just gets better. J Cole has released two albums, Cold World: The Story Line (2011) and Born Sinner (2013) with the latter reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.