J. Cole's Rabid Fanbase Is Actually Pretty Great

J. Cole has a following that many consider over the top. But isn't that what fans are supposed to be? The loyalty of the North Carolina-bred rapper's fans is what has pushed his albums to platinum status without any features.

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Image via Getty/David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns

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Let's keep it a buck: In 2018, it's unpopular to be a J. Cole fan. All it takes is a scroll through Twitter to find that out pretty swiftly:

"aye bro, tell me you heard that new J.Cole" pic.twitter.com/u5vuPumnxi
J Cole fans always think they have ascended to some superior level of taste in music when his music is actually boring as hell
J Cole fans be like “you don’t have the IQ for his music😡” like he’s talking about quantum physics or something, his music is just boring

J. Cole's fans are often criticized for aggressively defending his music to those who consider him bland or boring. They're going overboard with the fandom, detractors say. But according to Merriam Webster, a fan is an "enthusiastic devotee." By that definition, they're doing exactly what is expected of them. In an era where social media support and streaming numbers matter to an artist's bottom line, dedicated fans have more of an impact on their fave's career success than ever before. And if we wanna be real, chief, every other rappers' fans aren't enthusiastic or devoted enough compared to Cole's fans. They're one of the most organized, vocal, and active core audiences of any male MC. (Nicki Minaj's Barbz are not to be toyed with.)

When J. Cole first announced his upcoming album, KOD, his fans immediately responded by using his tweet to start a thread of his lyrics—from 2014 Forest Hills Drive's "January 28th." 

J. Cole fans at their finest.. 💜 pic.twitter.com/qDW2CUIULo

It showed the quick thinking and uniting of a mass of followers who had been waiting to hear something, anything, new from Cole. The effort was deemed corny by naysayers, but it elicited tens of thousands of likes and retweets from the people operating in Cole's task force. 

Another response making the social rounds after Cole's announcement was a video skit that "showed" a J. Cole stan becoming emotional at the thought of his idol returning to the rap game. Instead of accepting the news in joy, he hovers in a state of disbelief, firing off set after set of Cole's lyrics to verify they're indeed talking about the same rapper. 

J. Cole dropping that album it about that time again. #ColeWorld pic.twitter.com/CMxmxByjYc

It's a joke on the fans, since they pretty much had that exact response, as evidenced by the thread they launched off of the initial album announcement. But it's also a joke to these fans, because they get it by now. They're the butt of the rap internet's jokes, so they lean into it and walk the line between funny and offensive themselves.    

Hair nappy af, shoes dirty, every time you see him he's in sweats & a tee.. this already a classic album. Calling that shit now #JCole #KOD https://t.co/VI3EhlQ92l

Fan enthusiasm and devotion can make or break careers. There's a reason that Cole can announce an album on Monday and release it on Friday—he trusts that his fans will show up and, more importantly, make sure everyone with a working WiFi connection knows that he has an album coming out. That's invaluable. By supporting Cole—on social media, at shows IRL, and via that guap—his fans have proven that they're actively making his career a successful one. Other fans should take notes. 

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