Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer. Cole first received recognition following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in 2007. Shortly after the release of The Come Up, Cole was contacted by American rapper Jay-Z and subsequently signed to his record label, Roc Nation, in 2009. In that same year, Cole released his sophomore mixtape, The Warm Up, which was itself followed by Cole's third mixtape, Friday Night Lights, in 2010.
His debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, was released on September 27, 2011. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums chart, selling more than 218,000 in its first week. He received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 54th Grammy Awards, losing to Bon Iver. Cole's most recent effort, Born Sinner, was released on June 18, 2013. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, however, Born Sinner later rose to number one, giving Cole his second number one on the chart.
Olubowale Victor Akintimehin (born on September 21, 1984), better known by his stage name Wale (/ˈwɑːleɪ/ wah-lay), is a American rapper from Washington, D.C.. He rose to prominence in 2006, when his song "Dig Dug (Shake It)" became popular in his hometown. Wale became locally recognized and continued recording music for the regional audience. Producer Mark Ronson discovered Wale in 2006 and signed him to Allido Records in 2007. While signed to that label, Wale released several mixtapes and appeared in national media including MTV and various urban magazines.
In 2008, Wale signed to Interscope Records for $1.3 million, and his debut album Attention Deficit was released in 2009 with the singles "Chillin", "Pretty Girls", and "World Tour". The album, although under-shipped, received positive reviews from critics. In early 2011 Wale signed on with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, where members of the label released a compilation album, Self Made Vol. 1 on May 23, 2011. His second studio album, Ambition was released November 1, 2011, with mixed reviews. His third studio album, The Gifted was released on June 25, 2013 to mainly positive reviews, and a Number 1 debut on the Billboard 200.