Photography by Matt Salacuse; Styling by Matthew Henson; Additional Credits.

This infographic is a part of Complex's J. Cole week.

Being a rapper isn't as easy as it seems. Even when the biggest artist in the game signs you to his label, your dreams of fame and fortune might still be years away. No one knows this better that J. Cole, who went from a struggling rapper/producer trying to hand Jay-Z his demo on the street to the first rapper to release an album on Hov's Roc Nation label. As a companion to Complex's online cover story that chronicles Cole's early struggles, we put together a timeline that shows the rocky road that the rapper had to endure just to get his debut album released. Check out all the ups and downs in the infographic below...

RELATED: COMPLEX'S ONLINE J. COLE COVER STORY