She eventually remarried — Cole's stepfather was also in the army — and the family relocated to a nicer house, where they remained until Cole was about to leave for college, when the marriage crumbled and the house was foreclosed.
It won several awards, including Billboard Rap Album of the Year, and was later certified double platinum.
Cole signed to Roc Nation and started to appear as a guest on tracks by Wale, Jay Z and Talib Kweli.
A third mixtape in 2010, , finally saw the light of day in 2011 and would go on to be certified platinum.
(2009), came to the attention of the producer and music exec Mark Pitts, who played it to Jay Z.
Ironically, Cole had attempted to give Jay Z a copy himself, after waiting outside a studio to meet his idol for three hours — only to be rebuffed with the line “Man, I don't want that shit.” But Pitts had Jay Z's ear, and the mogul was impressed with what he heard.