In the wake of the police shooting that left African-American teenager Michael Brown dead, J. Cole responds by penning a powerful and emotional plea. Over a bare bones beat, the Roc Nation MC cries out for freedom and justice.
“All we wanna do is take the chains off / All we wanna do is be free,” sings a grief-stricken Cole.
“Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black,” said Cole. “I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free.”
Listen to him stand his ground.
UPDATE: Cole has changed the artwork out of respect for Brown’s family.
“We were unaware of Mike Brown’s mother’s request to not use that picture,” he said of the original photo. “Art has been changed out of respect for her wishes.”
Grand opening, grand closing. J. Cole capped off his second annual “Dollar & A Dream” tour with a bang.
Following sold-out shows in London, New York, Miami, Raleigh, and Chicago, the Roc Nation MC performed two back-to-back shows at L.A.’s Belasco Theater on Wednesday night. His Dreamvillains lined up for hours to get their hands on the coveted $1 tickets, and they got much more than they paid for.
In addition to performing his 5-year-old mixtape The Warm Up in its entirety, Cole surprised the crowd by bringing out Drake, who performed “Trophies,” “0 to 100,” and “Worst Behavior.”
“These are the only two kings in the game right now on stage,” said Drizzy as he stood alongside Cole.
During his second show, L.A.’s own Kendrick Lamar joined Cole onstage for “Poetic Justice,” “Backseat Freestyle,” and “m.A.A.d city.”
If you weren’t lucky enough to score a ticket, check out some footage below.
In honor of the 5th anniversary of his mixtape The Warm Up, J. Cole debuts the never-before-seen video for “Lights Please,” which aired during Sunday’s MTV special “The Warm Up: 5 Years Later.”
It was Cole’s first time seeing the video, which was shot in August 2008. The BB Gun-directed clip was originally planned as a trilogy that included “Lost Ones” and “Simba.”
The celebration continues. The Roc Nation rapper has also announced dates for his second annual “Dollar & A Dream Tour,” which kicks off July 3 in London and travels to New York (7/15), Miami (7/17), Raleigh (7/19), Chicago (7/21), and L.A. (7/23).
He will perform The Warm Up in its entirety during the six shows. Tickets will cost $1 and be available on a first come, first serve basis.
In an open letter published on his Dreamvillain website, Cole reflected on the mixtape that changed his life and the lives of many of his fans. “Five years later, I couldn’t be more proud of its impact. Thank you,” he wrote.
Sage the Gemini just released his debut album in March, but he’s already on to the next. The “Gas Pedal” hitmaker has recorded around 15 songs for the follow-up to Remember Me.
“It sounds way more controlled. It sounds like I took my time,” he told Rap-Up TV at PowerHouse 2014. “I’m way more creative. I sat down, relaxed, and took my time with the stuff.”
He’s been inspired by one of his fellow rappers. “I’ve been listening to a lot of J. Cole, so he kinda helped me,” revealed Sage.
After Skyping with the Roc Nation MC on MTV’s “RapFix Live,” he started listening to his music. “I was like, ‘He’s saying some real stuff.’ And I liked the way he spit and he doubled up and his delivery is hecka tight. ‘LAnd of the Snakes,’ I’m on that song. Crazy.”
In addition to Cole, he would love to work with Chris Brown. “I’ve been listening to him for a while,” Sage said of the “Loyal” singer. “I actually fell in love around the time he first came out. So he was kinda helping me keep my feelings towards that girl and I was doing poetry and he was just motivating.”