The "platinum with no features" rapper has made some strong appearances on other artists' projects.
Over the course of J. Cole’s career, we’ve seen a reluctance on his part to become what the industry has wanted him to become. In his own right, he’s transcended anything they could have possibly wanted from him. This sort of defiance is often seen from indie artists avoiding the pressure of conforming to mainstream standards -- standards that are often synonymous with success in the music industry.
Cole has always been an artist conscious of this internal struggle to remain true to self, even before the worldwide acclaim. Surrounding the release of “Work Out”, the single to his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, Cole began feeling the pressure that accompanies GOAT potential. In an interview with Fuse, J. Cole speaks on the pushback received for “Work Out”, notably from Nas, questioning Cole’s need to release such a radio-driven track when he doesn’t need to pander to the mainstream because he’s “the one”. Though as a new artist navigating the ropes of the industry, Cole’s naivety coupled with hunger only made him a more conscious student to the game. To grow we have to go through what appears to be failure, right? Nas’s comments lead to a moment of reflection for J.Cole, and in hindsight, early on in his career this was a very positive thing.
That moment was arguable a catalyst in J. Cole’s career. Following the release of his debut with his sophomore effort, Born Sinner, we see that J. Cole has an even stronger grip on the role he plays in Hip-hop, as well as on his own self and what he hopes to leave behind for those to follow.
In 2011 we saw a ambitious Cole seeking to remain consistent as seen by the quantity of his releases and guest features, but the tables now have turned -- leaving us begging for more content from Cole in any form. Hopefully we'll see the Kendrick collab we’ve all been praying to be more than a rumour.
As J. Cole’s list of features comes to a dwindling two as of last year, and two as this year nears its close, we’ve compiled our favorite Cole features throughout the years.
What are some of your favorite J. Cole features?