Recently discovered by Jay-Z, and featuring on the evocatively titled track 'A Star Is Born' on his last album, Blueprint 3, this North Carolina rapper is poised to release his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. The artist produced three mixtapes and some very good distilled productions for other artists (notably Kendrick Lamar's HiiiPower) before creating a 'buzz' in 2009, signing to Jay-Z's label, Roc Nation.
The New York Times has said of J Cole: "Stepping from Jay-Z's shadow into the spotlight, Mr Cole is a model of modern rap success". Nothing more, nothing less.
His video clips are already creating a stir. The rapper appears with a certain Rihanna, also giving a helping hand to the rising US star.
As nothing less than the new US rap genius, J Cole is worth keeping a close eye on...