When he was no older than 18 and long before he was ever thought of as one of Hip-Hop’s leading men, J. Cole rapped about his financial aspirations on a song called ‘Million Dollar Dreamz. “I got million-dollar dreams, fiending for a lot of things, type of sh*t n*ggas only see on the screen,” he said, boldly. It’s by no means a unique sentiment expressed by young rappers, but it’s quite the experience to listen back to someone who said it, then did it. He ended the same verse with some self-aware, self-deprecating humor, “I’m tryna stack a million, I’m only a million away”. At the time of writing, it’s been almost a decade since J. Cole had just $1 million to his name.
In fact, in 2020, J. Cole’s estimated net worth is over $117 million, calculated by adding Forbes’ numbers for his earnings from 2014 onwards. So how did he do it?