Combine music and business- J. Cole

For American hip-hop artist J. Cole, his education background in business and communication has helped him overcome obstacles in the music industry which some up-and-coming artists fail to handle because they are cheated by the industry.

He doesn’t have the gold chain, tattoos and the roughed up look that is synonymous with rappers. As he walks into the room he cuts a figure of a well-groomed gentleman and has the ladies gawking at his looks.

Jermaine Lamar Cole (J. Cole), who is signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation, is one of the few rappers who does not have a criminal record or a hard upbringing that often leads to criminal activity. This hip hop artist majored in communication and minored in business, graduating magna cum laude.

Asked whether he thought his lack of street cred was a disadvantage, he said the industry has evolved to a place where the story is not only about the thug life and the violence. He believes that he tells a different story and his education gives him a different place to write from.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning prior to his performance at the Big Brother Stargame launch, the ‘Work Out’ and ‘Lost Ones’ superstar says the mentoring that he received from the likes of Jay-Z was never enough to get him high up in the music business.

“I had to move closer to the music scene but getting into the studio was also hard. I did a lot of internships but as an artist, you have to balance your artistic nature and business acumen or you will not survive,” J.Cole told the assembled media.

J.Cole attended St. John’s University in New York City where he majored in communication and minored in business.

But even after years of being in industry, with a debut album and a Grammy nomination for best new artist under his belt, J.Cole says it remains hard to keep up in an industry where new talent is discovered every day.

But just as Jay-Z gave him a hand up in the industry, J.Cole says he is always willing to listen to music from up-and-coming artists and where he is able, provide the necessary advice.

“Working with Jay-Z has been the highest point in my career but I feel I still have a long way to go and I am definitely aiming high. I would like to perform to a sold out arena or a stadium like rock groups such as U2 do. Then I will have reached a high level,” he said.

Although he cannot remember the artist or group, J.Cole says his song in the Cole World: The Sideline Story sampled a song from an African group.

In his first ever performance on African soil, J.Cole performed three songs from his last album Cole World: The Sideline at the Big Brother Stargame launch but says he wished he had more time to learn from African artists but expressed interest to visit other parts of the continent.


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