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Review: J. Cole Shares His Journey, Heats Up Los Angeles On Cole World Tour

J. Cole at the 2011 BET Awards - Getty

As fall sets in and temperatures begin to drop, it can be a pretty cold world in many parts. While the world can sometimes be cruel and cold, as evidenced by last week’s unexpected leak of J. Cole’s debut album, that definitely wasn’t the case as the Roc Nation MC brought heat to an ignited Los Angeles crowd in a Cole World; his first nation-wide headlining tour. The sold out crowd at LA’s Club Nokia was energized and ready to party as the Roc Nation underdog took the stage in support of his September 27th debut of Cole World: The Sideline Story. “I can look in the crowd and tell a lot of y’all been f*ckin’ with me for a long time,” J. Cole told the exuberant crowd as he hit the stage in a foot cast performing buzz single “Grown Simba.”

Realizing his dreams of being in front of crowds on stage, as well as the upcoming release of his debut album have been a long time coming for the North Carolina rapper who spent a lot of the evening in between performances of tracks from past mixtapes and his debut album getting personal with fans, explaining his journey. “Ever since I was 12/13 years old, I wanted to do what I’m doing right now. This is my dream,” Cole shared as he discussed his experiences growing up in a small town in North Carolina, becoming a broke college graduate, and later getting signed by Roc Nation head, Jay-Z. Earlier in the evening, Cole’s DJ and hypeman, DJ Dummy, took a moment to dispel several rumors including that despite internet ramblings, “J. Cole IS NOT and WILL NOT be dropped from Roc Nation.” For the dedicated crowd of fans, word of J. Cole’s non-eminent musical demise couldn’t have come at a better time.

Performing his well-known features on several tracks, including Jay-Z’s “A Star Is Born” and Miguel’s “All I Want Is You”, Cole got the crowd going before jumping into his latest, highly-anticipated track, “Mr. Nice Watch” featuring the Jigga Man himself. The party was non-stop and the club-hopping hits kept coming as he continued with a number of tracks from his The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night Lights mixtapes, including “It Won’t Be Long”, “Higher”, “You Got It”, “Enchantment”, “Premeditated Murder”, and “Blow Up.” He even managed to bring out mixtape collaborator and Compton rapper, Kendrick Lamar.

Cole later sat down with the crowd and asked, “How many people here tonight know what September 27th is?”, reminding his vocal fans that although a leak has sprung, his album’s due date is but a few days away. “Let the record show that all y’all were here before my first record even dropped,” he shared, humbled by the support and presence of the sold out crowd, before rewarding his most dedicated fans with performances of new tracks including “Workout”, “Whodat”, “Lights Please”, “Can’t Get Enough”, “Cole World”, and an encore of “God’s Gift.”

“I know this is only the beginning,” Cole told fans, and whether it be a year from now or five years from now when he graces them again in bigger arenas, he was gracious and thankful that they were some of the first ones rockin’ hard, all before the debut album hit the actual sales aisles. It’s a “Cole World”, and with his fans by his side in this continuous journey, J. Cole’s still very much ready to take it by storm.

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