J. Cole performs onstage during the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival
Source: Getty Images

Numbers Don't Lie: J. Cole's Greatest Albums Ranked by Sales Figures and Streams

J.Cole shows no signs of slowing down. The North Carolina rapper has released six studio albums and each has been commercially successful.


Apr. 10 2024, Published 9:29 p.m. ET

North Carolina native J. Cole has continuously proven that he is one of the driving forces of modern hip-hop. From his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, to his 2024 project, Might Delete Later, Cole has kept his fans captivated.

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Might Delete Later may have come as a surprise to some fans, as the rapper previously suggested that his next project would be titled The Fall Off. However, the 12-track mixtape is filled with bangers, so no one is disappointed. Young Dro, Gucci Mane, and Ab-Soul are all featured on the project – which is expected to debut atop the Billboard 200 (per Chart Data).

As Cole's career continues to evolve, he seems to get better with each album. He has expanded the boundaries of hip-hop and his projects are proof of this. While all of Cole's albums charted, some were more successful than others.

Here is a ranking of the MC’s albums by sales and critical reception.

6. ‘The Off-Season’ wasn’t an off-season at all.

the off season j cole
Source: Dreamville Records

J. Cole's 'The Off Season' album cover.

J. Cole's sixth studio album, The Off-Season, continued his streak of chart-topping releases. It peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 250,000 album-equivalent units in the first week. The album spawned songs like "My Life,” "Pride Is the Devil,” "Amari," and "95 South,” which all debuted in the Top 10.

While it's still early to assess its long-term sales performance, the album's early achievements suggest continued success for Cole.

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5. J. Cole had a big introduction with ‘Cole World: The Sideline Story.’

J. Cole's debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, introduced him to the rap game. The album helped the lyrics garner a wide audience, thanks to its chart-topping debut on the Billboard 200 chart. According to Best Selling Albums, the project has sold more than one million units since its release, becoming Cole’s fifth most successful album.

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4. ‘KOD’ is a hip-hop work of art.

kod j cole
Source: Dreamville Records

'KOD’ album cover

With KOD, J. Cole delivered a bold and socially conscious album that resonated with his fan base and new listeners. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and was praised for its thought-provoking lyrics. The album tackled themes of addiction, fame, and societal issues, earning platinum certification from the RIAA.

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3. "Born Sinner" was J. Cole’s shining moment.

J. Cole's Born Sinner marked another milestone in his career. After peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the album achieved platinum status. Cole opened up about creating the iconic album, which he believes secured his place as a rap icon.

“When I was finishing the album, I got to hear it like a fan would, and I was like 'Holy s--t,'” he told Huff Post. “And that's what gave me the confidence that I can hang. I always knew I could, but it's like, 'Here's the f--king proof.'”

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2. ‘4 Your Eyez Only’ was a return to classic hip-hop.

your eyes only j cole
Source: Dreamville Records

‘4 Your Eyez Only’ album cover.

Following the success of his previous albums, J. Cole continued his winning streak with 4 Your Eyez Only. This introspective project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and earned praise from hip-hop critics.

The New York Times called the project a “celebration of his creativity, but also a proxy for his burden,” while praising it for its simplicity.

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1. ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ takes the cake.

J. Cole's third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, stands as a pinnacle of his career both critically and commercially. The album garnered triple-platinum certification from the RIAA after selling more than 4 million units worldwide.

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