New York-via-North Carolina rapper and MTV Push Artist of the Week J. Cole had already had his name on hip-hop fans’ lips when he became the first signee to Jay-Z’s fledgling Roc Nation label. While the Hov’s co-sign expanded Cole’s stature, the rapper had already built up his name through a series of independently released mixtapes, including 2007′s “The Come Up.” With next week’s release of Cole’s official debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, we’ve got a mess of videos detailing the past, present and future of the buzzed-about rapper.
In the first video, Cole tells us how he got started in music at just 12 years old through an older cousin, but quickly realized he was better than most 18-year-olds and wanted to pursue a career in hip-hop. The rapper reveals the only reason he applied to St. John’s University was to live in New York and land a record deal. We’ve also got videos on Cole’s reaction to getting signed to Roc Nation — “I can’t even say it was a dream come true because I never thought it was possible,” admits the rapper — and a brief history of his less-than-stellar encounters as a battle rapper.
Cole also talks about finding the balance between “flash” and “real life” by “staying connected to real-life stories” and reveals to MTV’s Sucker Free all the guest appearances on the album, including Drake, Trey Songz, Missy Elliott and his boss Jay-Z. “If it was up to me, I’d live in the studio all the time,” admits the rapper. We wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Finally, watch Cole’s “Can’t Get Enough” and “Work Out” videos below.
Cole World: The Sideline Story is out Sept. 27 on Roc Nation.
+ Watch J. Cole interviews and performances after the jump.
++ J. COLE ON GETTING STARTED
++ J. COLE ON JAY-Z AND ROC NATION
++ J. COLE ON RAP BATTLING AND LIVE FREESTYLING
++ J. COLE ON HIS RAP STYLE
++ J. COLE ON LEARNING THE PRESS GAME
++ J. COLE, “CAN’T GET ENOUGH”
++ J. COLE, “WORK OUT”