For everyone who’s been following the trajectory of J. Cole over the last decade, you’ve witnessed his career as an undeniably gifted up-and-comer to one of the top of the line hip-hop artists of his generation.
The Dreamville rapper is one of the most formidable forces in the game right now and he has several platinum-selling albums (with no features, of course) and sold-out tours to back his claim. Despite not being big on features, the usually reclusive rapper has the ability to body whatever track he finds himself on, regardless of genre.
Cole briefly refired his feature run in 2019, but now it looks like he’s back on his grind once again. In honor of his amazing talents and consistency as a featured artist, we are looking at some of the work he has put into other people’s records.
Check out 20 of our favorite songs featuring J. Cole below.
The Game Feat. J. Cole “Pray” (2012)
On “Pray,” a song featured on The Game’s 2012 album, Jesus Piece, Cole tells an interesting story about a sexual encounter with a woman “back home.” While speaking from his perspective as a rapper who’s garnered some success, the verse is a compelling one because it highlights the duality of life in many ways. The arrogant and selfish mindset that we all can have at times, but also the sympathy we feel for the unfortunate situations of others.
Wale Feat. J. Cole And Melanie Fiona “Beautiful Bliss” (2009)
This isn’t about who washed who but what Cole did to Wale on “Beautiful Bliss” was brutal. Wale was regarded as a much bigger prospect back in 2009, but Cole shuts down the show with an aggressive delivery that made people take notice. “Beautiful Bliss” can easily be pinpointed as the best feature verse of his career without much argument.
Royce Da’ 5’9 Feat. J. Cole “Boblo Boat” (2018)
J. Cole and Royce Da 5’9 teamed up for a track with a reminiscent and introspective theme, which allowed both rappers to offer verses with great substance, while still flexing as lyricists. The vibe on this one is timeless, as Cole gave Royce one of his better verses in recent years.
Drake x J. Cole “Jodeci (Freestyle)” (2013)
Drake and Cole are regarded as two of hip hop’s biggest names so when they combined talents for “Jodeci Freestyle” fans were eager to hear what the two would cook up. On this, Cole switches up his identity and delivers a braggadocious bar session.
Wale Feat. J. Cole “My Boy” (2018)
With a title like “My Boy” you’d be forgiving for expecting to hear a track themed around love or heartbreak, but instead, we get a quintessential rap track. J. Cole really lets loose on this one, delivering non-stop bars and ominous wordplay.
“I got to black to make sure every dirty dollar stacked/Y’all aiming at the stars, bitch I’m aiming at your Starter cap/Run, nigga, run like a fucking black quarterback (uh)/Stereotypical, but to hear me is spiritual/I will bury you niggas and come and air out your funeral,” Cole raps.
“My Boy (Freestyle)” is lifted from Wale’s Free Lunch EP
Kanye West, Pusha T, Cyhi The Prince, Big Sean And J. Cole “Looking For Trouble” (2010)
In 2010, Kanye West’s legendary rollout for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was G.O.O.D Fridays. These consisted of a series of songs released on Fridays, which also featured tracks with guest appearances from a wide array of amazing artists. Cole was tapped for “Looking For Trouble,” and fans heard a Cole who we weren’t quite used to. His aggression and brash raps made for an epic finale to a track that was already stacked with great lyricists. When the beat drops out and Cole keeps rapping relentlessly, it was clear that this would be a moment — a moment that Cole took full advantage of by delivering the best feature performance of his career.
JAY-Z Feat. J. Cole “A Star Is Born” (2009)
In 2009 a relatively unknown J. Cole assisted Jay-Z on his Blueprint 3 track, “A Star Is Born.” Little did we know we were witnessing history unfold right before us. Cole took full advantage of the podium presented to him by Jay-Z to deliver a bold, charismatic verse that still stands out in his lengthy catalog of features.
21 Savage Feat. J. Cole “A Lot” (2018)
21 Savage and Cole are an odd couple, but they somehow made it work. Over a sample of “I Love You” by Soul Band East Of Underground, Jermaine showcased his lyrical dexterity and kicked some knowledge while at it.
DJ Khaled Feat. J. Cole “Jermaine’s Interlude” (2016)
“Jermaine Interlude” I feel is a track that will be most appreciated by day one J. Cole fans. Cole’s narrative rhyming abilities are his biggest attributes. On the Major Key album track, the rapper let us in on his dreams and nightmares.
Cozz Feat. J. Cole “Knock Tha Hustle” (Remix) (2014)
Over a sample of Michal Urbaniak’s “Love Away,” Cole delivered one of his most coveted lyrical outings of his career. His verse on this is very relatable and remains one of my favorite Cole verses. Don’t knock the hustle
Joyner Lucas Feat. J. Cole “Your Heart” (2021)
Over a melancholic instrumental co-produced by Palaze, LC, and Hagan, J. Cole and Joyner Lucas serve up juxtaposed raps about overcoming heartbreaks and the relationship hardships they’ve endured.
Big Sean Feat. J. Cole “24k Of Gold” (2012)
J. Cole reflects on his come-up and celebrates his rags to riches story on 24k Of Gold, from Big Sean’s Detroit mixtape.
Bas Feat. J. Cole “My N-gga Just Made Bail” (2014)
Cole and Bas have so many great tracks to choose from, but this one standouts out particularly because J. Cole may have unknowingly sparked the trend behind people selling online subscriptions to their sexy photos and videos with what he told that insecure girl.
“This for that insecure girl, your name I won’t mention/On Instagram straight flickin’
Bitch you a nipple slip away from strippin’
Might as well, get your clientele up, you a pioneer.”
Anderson .Paak Feat. J. Cole “Trippy” (2018)
Trippy” marks the first collaboration between Anderson .Paak and the Dreamville rapper. The song, which samples The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson finds the two getting candid about love and intimacy with their respective partners. An underrated gem that sees Cole, once again serving up a storytelling masterclass.
Cozz Feat. J. Cole “Zendeya” (2018)
Music is my therapy. J. Cole lets the pen speak on Cozz’s Zendeya. On the somber track, the Dreamville boss touches on his influences and addressed hip hop’s obsession with drugs
Reflection Eternal Feat Yasiin Bet, Jay Electronica And J. Cole “Just Begun (2017)
On a track with Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Jay Electronica, light skinned Cole held his own and proved he was once again nice with the pen.
Rapsody Feat. J. Cole “Sojourner” (2018)
For their first-ever collaboration, North Carolina natives Rapsody and J. Cole rap introspectively about where they fit in the music industry and the world.
“Just heard these kids don’t know about Malcolm / And I’m sorta heartbroken / ‘Cause our elders lost hope in / Our youth, and here I sit dead in the middle / Not a little / Boy no more, but not quite old yet / Waking up in cold sweats / Scared that I’m too disconnected from the kids perspective / The world ain’t got no patience for some sh*t that’s introspective.”
Miguel Feat. J. Cole “All I Want Is You” (2010)
J. Cole’s Roc Nation career kicked off with a bevy of R&B collabs. His pairing with Miguel for “All I Want Is You” is an early favorite.
Gang Starr Feat. J. Cole “Family And Loyalty” (2019)
Before unofficially retiring from rapping on other peoples song, Cole paid homage to the late Guru on “Family And Loyalty,” Gang Starr’s first new record in 16 years.
The rapper contemplates an out of body experience and how it feels to rhyme alongside an artist who may no longer be with us in physical form, but (like diamonds) whose influence has no expiration date.
“J. Cole, who would’ve thought you woulda been rhyming with ghosts / Guru flows forever like a diamond and most / Could never afford the precious jewels,” raps the Dreamville boss.
Joey Badass Feat. J. Cole “Legendary” (2017)
“Legendary,” is a smooth and reflective stream-crossing moment between Badass and J. Cole. The ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ cut finds Jermaine battling with his spirituality and contentment. He basically wonders if losing his soul for material gains is worth it.
“I look at all I got like, “What’s missin’?”
God is my only guess, ’cause yes, faith relieve the stress,” raps Cole. “I find peace again when I find Him and see I’m blessed.”