J Cole has come a long way since he dropped his first studio album in 2011. With eight years under his professional belt, and a couple more tucked into his mixtape days, Cole is no longer considered a new school artist. In fact, his last album KOD took a very public shot at what we consider the new school today. Throughout the years, we've watched Cole grow from a boy to a man. The rapper who bragged about how nice his watch was on his first album is miles away from the man who disavows material things today. Watching Jermaine grow has been an entertaining and enlightening process, and I'd venture to say that his fans have matured along with him. 

Since 2011, Cole has released five studio albums. He isn't one of those artists that drops a new album every ten months, but he also isn't the rapper who spends five years on one project. Caught somewhere between the commercial world and the underground circuit, Cole has carved out his own niche. It was relatively easy to rank Cole's albums. Each one is distinct in its message and different in its approach. There aren't many artists who can claim they went platinum with no features on an album they produced, but let's not forget that Cole had two albums containing noteworthy appearances before he went full solo on the world. It matters not whether Cole's vision is steered by his words alone, or if he enlists the help of his peers, because he still shines brightly.

From Sideline Story to KOD, here is our ranking of Cole's studio albums. Let us know what your ranking looks like in the comment section.