In what was almost a fire hazard in the making, J. Cole walked down the stairs inside Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club to showcase his tunes for a packed house of eager listeners. For those that didn’t get the chance to view his live stream on Wednesday night or skipped attending the event to hear him spit coarse lines dressed in a scarlet “Spain” jersey jacket, they missed out. Straight bum-rushing the crowd with the first bar, J. hardly worked the stage on “Simba,” but by the end of “Dollar and a Dream,” he worked up a sweat.
“Grown Simba” followed, and in between songs, the Roc Nation rapper gave a shout-out to his alma mater, St. John’s University. Yet from either the passion or excitement that got the best of him, Cole began reciting the wrong verse to “Lights Please.” Young Simba told the DJ to “Play that back!” then solicited the audience’s participation. The moment—which could have been a quasi-call to see if the crowd knew his lyrics—was short-lived, and as all rookies learn, the show must go on.
Cole once more called on the crowd to chime in on “Who Dat,” rallying to see who can yell louder, the fans on the floor or those standing on the stairs. The North Carolina native also spit a few other mixtape hits, “Last Call,” “Dead Presidents II,” and “Losing My Balance.” While he rapped through several records sans his collaborators, including Miguel’s “AlI I Want Is You” and Wale’s “Beautiful Bliss,” J. Cole proved he had no problem holding his own on stage. As the closer, he had the audience clapping away to the night’s most fitting song and one that describes Cole’s journey: Jay-Z’s “A Star Is Born.”
Video via Rap Radar