A hometown hero will hit the court during halftime at the NBA All-Star Game. J. Cole has been tapped to perform at the basketball extravaganza so get all the details about this hip-hop heavyweight.
Two years after the NBA All-Star Game was pulled from Charlotte in the wake of the state passing HB2 (aka the “Anti-Trans bathroom bill”), the game is back and all about North Carolina. Not only did the All-Star Celebrity game include a HOME team full of celebs who were born, raised and/or played in the Carolinas, but Fayetteville, North Carolina native J. Cole, 34, will perform during the All-Star Game’s halftime. Ahead of the Feb. 17 performance, get all the facts behind this rapper who has low-key been considered one of the greatest currently in the game.
1. He was born in Germany and made In America. The man born Jermaine Lamarr Cole will be representing North Carolina when he performs at the halftime show, but he has ties to Frankfurt by birth. J. Cole was born in Germany, as his father was serving overseas as a member of the United States Army. Eight months after J. Cole’s birth, the family relocated to Fayetteville. He grew up in the North Carolina town, where he would discover a love for hip-hop.
2. He was signed to Roc Nation…after Jay Z blew him off. After graduating from high school, Cole relocated to New York City to attend St. John’s University (he graduated in 2007 as magna cum laude with a degree in communications, according to Biography.) He released his debut mixtape, The Come Up, that year, but it was his second mixtape, 2009’s The Warm Up, that caught the attention of music executive Mark Pitts, who played it for JAY Z. Jay was impressed and Cole signed to Roc Nation, but this came after Hova gave Cole the cold shoulder.
Cole was standing outside the Roc-The-Mic studios with a demo CD and a bottle of E&J, according to DJBooth.com. When Jay, upon exiting the studio, saw the CD in Cole’s hand, he rebuffed his admirer. “I don’t want that. Give it to one of them.”
3. Cole is involved in charity work. While J. Cole is one of the more respected rappers out there – his fifth album, 2018’s KOD, debuted at No. 1 and reinserted him in the “best rapper in the game” conversation — he’s also known for giving back to the community. His nonprofit, the Dreamville Foundation, aims to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of opportunity and the urban youth of Fayetteville, NC, according to the foundation’s website.
4. He’s one of Obama’s faves. “I love J. Cole. You know, this is the benefit of having teenage daughters,” the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, said about the rapper, per Billboard. “I actually keep up. I got a chance to see J. Cole’s mom and grandma.”
5. He and Diddy reportedly had a “confrontation.” Of course, J. Cole is a rapper, and no rapper goes unscathed for long. The closing track on his KOD album, “1985 (Intro to The Fall Off),” lectured the new generation of SoundCloud rappers, which didn’t sit well with such rappers like Lil Pump and Smokepurpp. Having Smokepurpp lead an “F*ck J. Cole” chant during an Atlanta concert pales to the rumored fight between him and Diddy.
Supposedly, he and Diddy had a heated exchange during a 2013 MTV Video Music Awards after-party. Diddy allegedly went to talk with Kendrick Lamar over a line in his verse on Big Sean’s “Control,” when J. Cole “intervened.” A rumored scuffle went down, but both sides downplayed the alleged incident immediately. Months later, J. Cole and Diddy joked about the incident in a video promoting Revolt, according to XXL.