Story: Nori Nori
Photos: Bria Janelle
It was the 35th day of the J. Cole, “4 Your Eyez Only” Tour and thousands of Cole World fans filled the arena. Noticeably there were two stages placed at the back and center of the arena and Dreamville artists dominated one while J Cole occupied the other.
J.Cole is synonymous with Dreamville but the roster boast tons or talent and rising stars who look to continue to carry the torch.
Let’s be clear….one thing that everyone knew going into this show was that J. Cole would enter the arena escorted by officers in uniform while wearing a prison issued jumpsuit. Other than that the rest of the show remained a mystery.
J.Cole is a storyteller and a story he did tell! If you’ve heard the album, “4 Your Eyez Only” or any of Cole’s catalog then you know that imagery is important.
Before he stepped foot on stage the vibe was set and everyone was under surveillance. Cameras all around the arena and on stage filmed the audience as they anxiously waited for the show to start.
Fans were being put on the jumbo screens at random and they enjoyed the spot light. Some danced, waved, smiled and pointed at themselves on the screens.
The lights dropped and the show started with fans erupting into cheer. Cole takes the stage and it’s electrifying. His energy is contagious. He sets the crowd in a frenzy killing the track list of his latest project.
During his set he took the time to address the audience walking us through what we can expect throughout the show. His message is necessary especially with the state of the U.S. right now.
His message is one of hope in a world where many feel hopeless. His message is one of love. There are systemic issues we must not turn our back to and he takes a stand with the message in his music.
He spoke of oppression, love, nosy neighbors and decisions that he made. I think it’s safe to say he bodied his performances with intense passion.
Watching his performance you can tell every lyric and melodic composition is personal to him.
The most interesting observation is his crowd control. When Cole says turn up it’s insane. When Cole says I need you to listen the crowd is hushed.
The way that Dreamville decided to use imagery is reflective of everything that is the black experience in America. The crowd raps along, sways and jumps matching his energy tick for tack! If you’re a Cole fan go see the show. If you’re not a Cole fan go see the show, enjoy the production and by the end you will be a fan. There are a few stops along the American leg of the tour. Get your tickets.
J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only Tour Dates
Aug. 14: Miami, Fla.— American Airlines Arena
Aug. 16: Orlando, Fla.—Amway Center
Aug. 18: Houston, Texas—Toyota Center
Aug. 19: Austin, Texas—Frank Erwin Center
Aug. 20: Dallas, Texas—American Airlines Center