J. Cole is one of the hottest names in hip-hop, but there’s a lot you might not know about the North Carolina rapper. Sure, you’re probably well aware that he was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, and that his 2011 debut, “Cole World: The Sideline Story,” debuted at No. 1 on three U.S. charts—the Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums—and helped earn him a Best New Artist nomination at the 54th annual Grammys. But there’s more to Jermaine Lamarr Cole than those factoids. Check out our list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About J. Cole and get yourself up to speed on this superstar.

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1. Although he claims Fayetteville, N.C., as his hometown, Cole was born in Frankfurt, Germany.

2. Cole is the product of mixed-race parents; his mother is white.

3. An early bloomer, Cole began rapping at the age of 12.

4. When Cole was a teenager, his mother bought him a drum machine, and that’s what helped him transition from lyricist and rapper to producer.

5. Cole’s got book smarts and street smarts. He graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University.

6. While Cole was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, he initially failed to catch Hova’s attention. In 2007, he waited outside in the rain for three hours, hoping to catch the superstar as he left a New York studio, but when Jay finally emerged, he refused to accept Cole’s CD of sample beats.

7. Cole has been with his girlfriend, Melissa, since his freshman year of college.

8. The ambitious rapper is hoping to shoot a short film, as well as multiple videos, for his sophomore album, “Born Sinner,” due in June 2013.

9. In 2011 interview with a U.K. magazine, Cole named Beyonce and Rihanna as the “hottest women.”

10. Although Cole barely knew his father growing up, they’ve since reconnected, and the rapper sometimes spends time with his old man when he’s in Texas.

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