Live: J. Cole at Revolution, October 1

J. Cole

Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Better than: The average rapper trying to perform like Jay-Z.

Who dat?! Who dat?! J. Cole's got that flame! The Fayetteville, North Carolina native quietly stepped on stage, soft cast on his left foot a reminder that this was a rescheduled date, to the sounds of an electric piano playing the tune of the Kanye West's Good Music family's "Looking for Trouble" and cell phone and camera lights decorated the room. After scanning the crowd, he launched into his contribution to the song as an opening, following up with the first verse of "Cole World."

Cole stood center stage to introduce himself to the crowd before going in on "Before I'm Gone." With his head held high, eyes closed and one finger held in the air, the young Roc Nation signee who just released his debut album days ago soaked in the moment when the audience recited the song's hook word for word.
It wouldn't have been a J. Cole concert if he didn't have a moment to make the ladies go crazy. What better way than for Cole to take off his jacket, teasing the ladies into hoping for more of a strip show. But not to be outdone, in classic concert form, panties were thrown on stage for the rapper throughout the show.

Continuing with his interaction with the audience, Cole reminisced about his days as a broke college student at St. John's University, letting everyone know that it may be ok to be in that position, but after graduation, one must strive for more, transitioning perfectly with a verse from "A Star Is Born."

As Cole worked the crowd during "Higher," the DJ quickly, but smoothly, dropped the all-time great "Big Poppa" instrumental for Cole to rap the last verse over. Flowing without a slip up, the rapper adapted as if the transition never happened.

After giving props to his piano players and letting the DJ exhibit his scratching skills, which included a woman covering his eyes with her hands and standing in front of him so he wouldn't see his equipment, Cole showed off his own musical abilities by playing the keyboard line to "Lights Please," the song credited with getting Jay-Z to sign Cole. Not so fast, though. Half way through the first verse, Cole goes into the ladies favorite, "In the Morning." And for those few minutes, any woman with their boyfriend, automatically turned single.

Though "Blow Up" seemed to be the ideal moment to exit the show with an exclamation mark, as he saluted to his fans good-bye, the audience felt entitled to want more, and like they say, you got to give the fans what they want. Chants of, "Encore! Encore! Encore!," did not go unheard as Cole stepped back on stage to give the audience two more songs before pulling out a bench to sit on and perform his last, appropriately titled "Farewell."

After a few minutes of waving and recognizing audience members by their clothing and telling them farewell, J. Cole gave a final salute and exited the stage, but not before throwing up the iconic diamond.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Guys wanting to be like J. Cole and women wanting to be with J. Cole

Personal Bias: Leg injuries, like your buddy wheel chair Jimmy's, may have you tweaking your performance a bit, but so will performing a concert after your debut album drops, giving your fans different material to listen to.

Wish List: Should've performed "Premeditated Murder" and "Can I Live."

Overheard: "He killed it. Shut down this place."

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Lee Castro
Contact: Lee Castro