‘The Warm Up’ Turns 5, J. Cole Pens Letter

blame it on JES7 June 15, 2014

Today marks a very special occasion for J. Cole. Five years ago to the day, the North Carolinian Dream Villain released his second mixtape, The Warm Up to the world. Although he had released The Come Up back in 2007, it was this second mixtape which earned him his bragging rights. The story goes that JAY Z heard the self-produced “Lights Please” which led to a once-in-a-lifetime meeting and an eventual signing to Roc Nation.

Later tonight, MTV will air a special thirty minute edition of RapFix where Cole will discuss the anniversary with Sway, and will also finally air the video of the aforementioned “Lights Please” following the special. Keep it locked for that right here.

Below, you will find an open letter J. Cole penned and published earlier on his DreamVillain site. We’ve included an excerpt of the letter, you can read the rest of it by following the link at the bottom of this post.

UPDATE: After revealing news for the second annual Dollar & A Dream tour back in April, J. Cole has also announced a set of dates for said tour. Scroll down for the official flier and dates.


5 years ago, we started a journey together. On June 15th, 2009 I released The Warm Up to a few who were waiting patiently for it. Full of my dreams, fears and predictions, it resonated with you right away. Over the next year I watched it grow legs and spread at an unbelievable pace all because you felt it so much. Five years later, I couldn’t be more proud of it’s impact. Thank you.

The Warm Up is a declaration of dedication to Greatness. Told from the perspective of a kid who wants more than what his city has to offer him. The crime. The stagnation. He wants more from the girls he dates. He wants out of Muhammad’s house. He refuses to let anyone tell him he can’t dream. That he won’t make it. He believes in himself. He dedicates his life to his craft, because he’s finally realized that the work that you put in today has a direct and absolute impact on the life you live tomorrow.

You heard the passion, you heard the stories, and you believed in him too. You rooted for him. And you’re still rooting. My thoughts today come from my observations over the past 5 years. I understand now that you’re rooting for him, rooting for me, because you are also rooting for yourself. You realize that this society kills dreams and encourages you to conform. To settle for the block, to join the army, to become a lawyer when you really want to paint, to get comfortable in the projects, to slave away at a 9-5 you hate because it pays decent; to become complacent with safety. The Warm Up says, “Fuck that. I will be Greater. Watch me.”


July 3 – London, England
July 15 – New York City, NY
July 17 – Miami, FL
July 19 – Raleigh, NC
July 21 – Chicago, IL
July 23 – Los Angeles, CA

READ: J. Cole: 5 Years
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