What comes first, the signature nickname or the hit song? Musicians should always be judged on their music first and foremost, but a good name undoubtedly plays a role in marketing a person’s art and convincing people to listen to it. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find the right person. J Cole planned to follow a rap career from a young age, but her first stage name was a bit more theatrical than it is now.
A friend told J. Cole to call himself Therapist
J. Cole spoke with mtv when the channel still pretended to care about music for a short show called when i was 17 in 2011 to discuss his life before fame.
Cole grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and according to Complex, began rapping at the age of 12 after hearing his cousin do it. She started taking it more seriously a couple of years later when she joined Bomm Sheltuh, the biggest hip-hop act in the city at the time.
Cole’s first songs were done under the alias Blaza, but the duo Bomm Sheltuh’s unique names inspired him to find something better. “A [group member] it was Nervous Reck and the other one was Filthy Ritch,” Cole recalled. “I was like man, ‘Those are the most creative rap names I’ve ever heard. I need a rap name like that!’”
The artist couldn’t think of another nickname in his life, so he and his friends dug into the books looking for a word that would stick. “We used to look up rap names in the dictionary. I could never find anything. One day [Bomm Sheltuh] They were like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a name for you, it’s Therapist.’”
He quickly realized that the nickname did not suit his style.
J. Cole was not particularly enthusiastic about the name, but decided to accept it out of respect for his mentors. Nervous Reck suggested that he play around with the medic angle to make it work. “I thought maybe it could work, you just have to play the doctor image and be therapeutic and your music is therapeutic,” Reck said in the episode.
Cole rapped as Therapist for a few years, but at the time of his first mixtape, The returnHe came out in 2007, he was using a nickname much more in keeping with who he really was.
“A few years later, I realized that Therapist sounded like a fighter’s name. He didn’t feel real,” he said with a smile. “J. Cole felt like my real name. That was a very natural fit. He didn’t feel like he was trying to be anything.”
J. Cole became a superstar when he stopped trying to be a superstar
J. Cole’s brand has undergone many changes since he began his career.
He signed with Roc Nation in 2009 and his first two studio albums, Cole World: The Side Story Y born sinner, it had a lot in common with the major rap releases of the early 2010s, for better or worse. The records weren’t terrible, but they lacked any real sense of Cole’s personality.
their third album 2014 Forest Hills Drive, was a turning point for the rapper. The more introspective and relatable lyrics endeared him to fans and remain his best-selling album, eventually becoming certified triple platinum in 2019. This and the following album, 4 for your eyes onlyput Cole in a special lane where only he and kendrick lamar they reside as highly successful hip-hop artists who prefer to talk about conscious issues rather than materialistic boasts.
By every metric, Cole is a superstar. Still, he is beloved by his fan base for his ability to shed all pretensions to celebrity and explore themes in his songs that are grounded in everyday reality.
In addition to his music, Cole is helping other artists thrive through his label. Dreamville Recordsreleasing albums from the likes of JID, Earthgang and Ari Lennox, as well as four compilation albums featuring the full roster of talent.
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