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Tag: J. Cole (1-6 of 6)

J. Cole releases Michael Brown tribute 'Be Free'

Rapper J. Cole is best known for writing songs about lightweight subjects like girls and how tough it is to be a popular and successful rapper, but he’s also proven himself capable of handling heavier topics. On Friday, he became the first major artist to release a song in response to the Michael Brown shooting. “Be Free,” which he posted to SoundCloud early this morning, is a solemn meditation on violence directed at young black men, driven by a looping electric piano figure and a compellingly raw vocal performance that weaves between melodic rapping and straight-up singing.

“Tired of seeing black boys killed,” he wrote in an email to his publicist that she included in her own email about the song. “Tired of seeing black men killed. No more being numb to it. Made this yesterday. Not gonna wait for the album to put it out. It’s now. peace[.]”

Album sales: J. Cole rises to No. 1, outsells Kanye West

When no one was watching, J. Cole stole the throne: The Roc Nation rapper’s Born Sinner has not only crept up to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, but it’s also outselling Kanye West’s Yeezus.

J. Cole’s latest first charted three weeks ago, where it debuted at No. 2 behind West. But Sinnger has since taken advantage of a relatively slow month in music (remember, Wale was the last week’s No. 1) and become the rare album to top the chart without debuting there. As Soundscan reports, the album sold 58,000 copies in the last frame, which Billboard points out is “the sixth-smallest sales week for the top-selling album in the SoundScan era.” Still, that brings its total sales to 439,000, while Yeezus — which debuted the same day and currently sits at No. 3 — has only mustered 431,000 in sales to date.

Meanwhile, stuck in the middle of all this is Wale’s The Gifted, which fell from the top spot to No. 2, with 50,000. Of course, all these rappers will have to clear the way for Jay-Z, whose Magna Carta Holy Grail will register next week. Current projections have that landing in the 350-400,000 range, even though everyone knows it’s already platinum anyway.

Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Ice Cube, and more announced for Rock the Bells Festival

The Rock the Bells Festival has announced its ninth annual lineup, and the show is not slouching this year.

The talents on the 2012 roster include both the young and frisky (Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, 2 Chainz, Kendrik Lamar) and less young but still frisky (Missy Elliott, Nas, Timbaland, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, Bone Thugz ‘n Harmony).

For the first time, the fest will stretch over two days, though it is still partial to coasts-only tour stops:  NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California (Aug. 18-Aug. 19), Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California (Aug. 25-Aug. 26) and PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, New Jersey (Sept. 1-Sept.2).

There will also be a final double-header at Miami’s Bay Front Amphitheater on a yet-to-be-announced date in December.

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J. Cole drops new Jay-Z assisted single 'Mr. Nice Watch'


Jay-Z has been tipping his hat to about-to-explode rapper J. Cole for quite a while — in fact, he was the first-ever artist signed to Jigga’s Roc Nation label back in 2009.

Now, he’s putting his money where his mouth is (or in this instance, his mouth where his money is), dropping in on Cole’s just-released new single “Mr. Nice Watch.”

Produced by Cole himself, “Mr. Nice Watch” is a twitchy, bass-heavy blast of computer funk that gives way to a weepy guitar line and seems cut from the same cloth as many of the tracks on Watch the Throne, which will probably lead to an excellent argument about who is influencing who in the Jay-Z camp. Give the song a spin below. READ FULL STORY

J. Cole catches fire: Watch his cool 'Who Dat' video here

j-coleIs “Who Dat” the song that will take Jay-Z’s Roc Nation protégé J. Cole from rapper on the cusp to mainstream star? After watching the video he released for the single this week, I’m inclined to think it just might be.

The clip unfolds in one leisurely take. If you believe the directors, it was just their second try. Cole, 25, strides through his native Fayetteville, N.C. like he’s already a king, punching the air to punctuate his neatly arranged boasts. Along the way the charismatic spitter encounters a marching band and indulges his inner pyromaniac, the better to suit the song’s incendiary hook. It’s all very cleverly executed. And watching this a few times has gotten “Who Dat” even more firmly lodged in my brain than it already was.

Check out J. Cole’s “Who Dat” video (some NSFW language) after the jump. Then let us know if you’re looking forward to his upcoming debut album — and if you think he could follow Drake and B.o.B as hip-hop’s next big-time breakout.


Jay-Z protege J. Cole scores big at New York show

j-coleImage Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.comIf Jay-Z calls his most thorough lyrics “black hoodie rap,” J. Cole‘s performance last night at downtown New York’s stuffy, packed SOB’s was made for black tees. Cole, Jay’s Roc Nation protege, ran through several cuts from his 2009 mixtape The Warm Up, including “Grown Simba,” “World is Empty,” and “Dollar and a Dream II.” He later pulled Talib Kweli out of the crowd to perform the Reflection Eternal lyricist’s classic “Get By.”

The show wasn’t perfect. There were several missteps. “This so did not go how I planned it in my dreams,” he quipped after his DJ experienced a few  technical difficulties during his introduction. At other times he missed cues to start his verses, which he laughed off, making each gaffe less embarrassing and more endearing. The sold-out crowd rapped along as if the performance was captioned. The only song they couldn’t recite was the soulful and bouncy one he premiered, “Who Dat.” It likely will be the first single from the 25-year-old’s upcoming as-yet-titled first album.

In a fickle  music industry where fans eat up new artists and quickly go on to the next one, Cole’s performance suggested that he doesn’t only have next. He’s going to be around for a while.

“Sounds like some wack-ass prom line,” he tweeted after the show. “But I’ll never forget this night.”

Are you excited to hear J. Cole’s debut album? Let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from’s Music Mix:
Lady Gaga announces new album details: ‘It is the anthem for our generation’

New Christina Aguilera, ‘Not Myself Tonight’: Listen and weigh in here!
Usher goes ‘OMG’ with in new video: Watch it here
Justin Bieber goes to heaven in ‘Never Let You Go’ video: Watch it here

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