In a year that J. Cole released a debut album that reached the top of the Billboard charts, the St. John’s University graduate has been recognized for his meteoric rise with a Grammy nomination.
Cole, 26, was nominated for Best New Artist where he will go up against The Band Perry, Bon Iver, fellow Queens rapper Nicki Minaj and Skrillex. Acts such as The Beatles, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys have taken home music’s version of Rookie of the Year.
The nominations were announced Wednesday in Los Angeles at a concert hosted by Queens’ own LL Cool J.
The rapper was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, but grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At 12, Cole began writing his own lyrics. After graduating from high school in 2003, Cole headed to the Big Apple determined to achieve his goals of breaking into the music business and earning his college degree.
In May 2007, Cole graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s and then got a part-time job selling classified ads for The Queens Courier.
The Roc Nation rapper’s debut album, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” sold over 200,000 units in its first week.
Minaj also received nominations for Best Rap Album for “Pink Friday” and Best Rap Performance for “Moment 4 Life.”
The award show will be held Sunday, February 12.