Jermaine Lamarr Cole was born in Frankfurt, Germany, to an interracial couple serving in the U.S. Army. Cole's black father would later abandon the family, prompting his mother to relocate Jermaine and his brother, Zach, to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Cole began rapping at 12, and was encouraged to see it as a future career when his mother purchased an ASR-X musical sampler as a Christmas gift three years later.
Upon graduating high school Cole decided that his chances of securing a record contract would be heightened in New York City. He moved to the Big Apple, where he attended St. John's University on an academic scholarship. Cole majored in communications and business, later graduating magna cum laude in 2007, with a 3.8 GPA.
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