Numerous chart-topping albums as a solo artist, Top 40 pop singles as a headliner, and Grammy nominations make a strong case for J. Cole as the most commercially successful rap artist of the 2010s. Each one of the rapper/producer's number one full-lengths, starting with Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011) and continuing through the Grammy-nominated 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014) and KOD (2018), has also gone platinum. The streak has remained intact even as Cole's approach has become increasingly pensive and lyrical, sharply critical of issues endemic to hip-hop and society at large, concerned more about stimulating minds than providing entertainment. The first artist signed to mentor Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, Cole himself has used his influence to support younger talent with Dreamville Records, most visibly through the Revenge of the ...
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