The New Now - Archives

J. Cole: First Artist Signed To Jay-Z’s Roc Nation

The New Now

Every year, there is one highly anticipated MC on the vergeof breaking onto the scene. For 2010, that artist is J. Cole, the first signee to Jay-Z's Roc Nation.

The Fayetteville, North Carolina native has been working on his forthcoming debutslated for a Spring release. He was holed up in a mansion turned studio in LosAngeles, working with NO I.D., the producer responsible for Jay-Z's "D.O.A." andKanye's "Heartless."

I stopped by the studio in December to interview him oncamera. See the two-part interview below.

J. Cole ignited a buzz with his mixtape "The Warm Up" and,in particular, his song "Lights Please."

"Lights Please" is actually the song that got Jay-Zinterested in signing the artist/producer born Jermaine Cole.

On first listen "Lights Please" might sound like a typicaltrack about female conquests. But J. Cole gets a little deeper, explaining thatthis particular woman of his affection is actually focused on escapism. He raps about being the next king on "Simba."

Like lyrical greats Scarface and Andre 3000, J. Cole has the abilityto add depth to regular topics.

Linking with Jay-Z was a dream for J. Cole. It was a bigpart of his plan to move to New York.

After graduating high school, he moved to New York to study Communications at St. John's University.Student loans and grants took care of his room and board, and he spent hisspare time honing his rhymes and beat making.

Shortly after graduating magna cum laude, he hooked up withJay-Z.

He has since joined Hov on the Blueprint 3 tour and appearson the album's track, "AStar Is Born."

Follow Me on Twitter.

Follow Yahoo! Music on Twitter.

View Comments