When people describe their favorite rappers of all time, the usual answers involve the classic rappers such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Nas, Rakim etc. While my favorite rappers do involve this group, and those associated with them, I’d pick one person that isn’t usually on hip-hop’s Mount Rushmore. That one rapper’s name is Jermaine Cole, also known as J. Cole. My reasoning for why I love his music is beyond beat drops and crazy lyrics. It is because of what his music resembles and how I can relate to these messages.
Growing up, I was placed in a weird place financially. My mom and I were middle class living on the streets of Henderson Avenue. Even though this is considered the ghetto, there are worse places to live. Jermaine Cole, growing up Fayetteville, North Carolina, had a similar setting. In the song “Love Yourz,” he states: “I grew up in the city and though sometimes we had less/compared to some of my ni**as down the block/Man we was blessed.” His economic standings is the nucleus of his music.
Another aspect of his music that I can relate to is the absence of a father. In “03′ Adolescence,” he states: “On the bench, because of confidence wont let me fly/I ain’t grow up, I ain’t thinkin’ bout that now.” The absence of a father in a son’s life can be detrimental to his ego. He is not taught by a guardian how to be a “man,” but by society. With misinterpretations and negative experiences, it is more of a hassle to learn through such obstacles in relation to a parent. I attended a private school from Kindergarten to the day I received my high school diploma. Being around families that involved a healthy father relationship used to make me jealous. I did not have any friends that were going through a similar dilemma that I had. J. Cole’s music gives me reassurance that I will be able to move on without my father.
Among the many things that J. Cole and I have in relation, he’s my favorite rapper because he has my favorite song today, “Love Yourz.” In this song, J. Cole breaks down the necessity of loving yourself. One of the phrases he consistently exclaims in that song is “Think being broke was better.” This line is meant to tell people that the lavish life J. Cole lives is not as great as it seems. A lot of people may look up to celebrities and their fancy lives and become jealous of what they have. The moral of the story J. Cole is telling is that viewing their lives may look glamorous, but that is an illusion. Considering the private school I attended, I was constantly jealous of the people I associated with. They always had the materialistic things that I couldn’t own. Because of this song, I do not have a raging envy due to a large house and a family. J. Cole told me to love me life.
Now after reading this article, you may or may not completely understand why J. Cole is a top five rapper in my opinion. If you do not, I completely understand. Bottom line, my reasoning for consistently listening to his music is because of the message he is telling.