Jermaine Cole, who simply goes as J. Cole, is a Grammy-winning rapper who hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina. The rapper is known for “going platinum with no features” and has consistently made influential music throughout his career beginning with his ’07 mixtape The Come Up, and generally doesn’t rely on guest appearances on his albums. He was the first artist signed to mentor Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label and has continued to create compelling music through his storytelling and production. Just last year he collected his sixth No. 1 album with The Off-Season and is up for four Grammys at the 2022 award show.

Cole has also made an impact through his vigorous activism in the community, hitting his hoop dreams by previously playing professional basketball for the Rwanda Patriots BBC, and is leading the next generation of artists under his label Dreamville.

Check out 10 of J. Cole’s best songs ranked: