J. Cole’s 10 favourite albums of all time


In a particularly hectic week, J. Cole has been on the receiving end of widespread attention following the release of his latest single ‘Snow On Tha Bluff’. The track, which dissects the Black Lives Matter movement, has seen the rapper receive praise as well as criticism in equal measure.

The North Carolina raised artist, who has been reluctant to collaborate in recent years, has willingly been operating firmly in his own lane. In doing so, he has achieved astronomical levels of success.

J.Cole’s last album, 2018 effort KOD, became his fifth consecutive number-one project on the Billboard 200 and featured set a record of six simultaneous top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100—an accomplishment which tied him with The Beatles.

Here, tracing back to where it all began for J.Cole, we are exploring a sample of the albums that have moulded him by re-visiting a piece he conducted with Complex a number of years ago. Talking shortly after the release of his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story, Cole discusses his ten favourite albums of all time and it acts as a reminder of his inspirations.

See the full list, below.

J. Cole’s 10 favourite albums of all time:

Micheal Jackson – Bad (1987)

Micheal Jackson’s pop masterpiece is the first feature on Cole’s list which was a record that shaped his early adolescence and is still one that he treasures today.

“I know that out of all the Michael Jackson albums, you could say Thriller or Off The Wall, depending on who you are,” J. Cole said. “But this was the first Michael Jackson album that I had and listened to religiously. I had the white cassette tape. I played it every day. I played ‘Man In The Mirror’ out.

“My favourite song was ‘Dirty Diana.’ I just have great memories of that album and that’s how I became a Michael Jackson fan.”

Nas – Illmatic (1997)

Nas’ Illmatic is unarguably one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time and, with that, instantly has to be in the conversation as the most powerful debut record in existence, the whole album is a statement of intent from the New Yorker.

”When this album dropped I had to be nine, so I give myself a pass for missing out on this at first,” J. Cole said. “It wasn’t until my cousin forced me to listen to ‘I gave you power’ off of It Was Written that I realised Nas was one of the greatest, and I had some homework to do! Illmatic is one of those albums that demonstrates the highest level of lyricism possible.”


UGK – Ridin’ Dirty (1996)

Ridin’ Dirty is the third studio album by American hip hop duo UGK which was released on July 30, 1996, by Jive Records. The album had no music videos or official singles released prior to its release but remains the duo’s most successful album with over…

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