J. Cole raps about the struggles of growing up as the mixed-race son of a white single mom and an African-American US Army soldier. He talks about the challenges of leaving Fayetteville for college in New York and eventually a career in music. His songs explore concerns in the African American community including, mass incarceration, racial discrimination, gang violence, drug addiction, and depression. He raps about personal issues as well. Everything about his career suggests that J. Cole is more than capable exceeding those expectations.