Long before his coming out party on the song "A Star Is Born" off of Jay-Z's Blueprint 3, J. Cole created quite a buzz by releasing his two critically acclaimed mixtapes, "The Come Up," and "The Warm Up." Once Jay-Z heard the song "Lights Please," J. Cole became the first artist to get signed to Shawn Carter's new label Roc Nation.
J. Cole graduated from St. John's University in New York City, and has stated that the reason he went to school was that he felt it was the only way to gain access to NYC. His goal was to get signed, and felt the best place to make a name for himself was in 'the big apple.' Originally, he had his sights set on producing for Jay-Z, even going as far as printing t-shirts that said "produce for Jay-Z or bust." Although he hasn't had the opportunity to produce for Mr. Carter just yet, he'll have plenty of opportunities as the premier artist at Roc Nation. To find out a little more background info about him, Complex Magazine had a great interview with him recently, and there's plenty to read about on J. Cole's website.
The first mixtape to discuss is his debut, "The Come Up." If it weren't for "The Warm Up" (which I consider to be the hottest mixtape out right now, although it's been out for a minute), "The Come Up" would be in near constant rotation. Not only is J. Cole's lyrical prowess on display, but he also showcases his production abilities on many tracks including the touching, "Lil Ghetto Nigga." Check It Out!
Now comes the mixtape that everyone seems to be talking about... "The Warm Up." I can honestly say it's the hottest mixtape of the year, and that's saying something with all the heaters that have been released of late. There are just too many gems here to speak of, whether it's "Lights, Please" or "'Til Infinity," the mixtape is fire through and through... an absolute must-have!