MITMondays: How My View of Cole Changed After His Latest Tour Stop
Last night I went to see J. Cole at the Baltimore stop of the 4 Your Eyez Only Tour. Initially, I was going to hold off seeing Cole because I'm going to see him at the Made in America Festival where he will be headlining. After talking to Mia Sparrow on the BASSLINE about her Cole experience and the fact I really wanted to see Anderson .Paak, I went ahead and copped a ticket. Needless to say, this was the best decision I could've made.
I got to the show towards the tail end of Bas' set so I missed J.I.D. and Ari Lennox but I'll see them at Made in America so I wasn't too upset. If we're being honest, the reason I pressed my way to Baltimore was to see Anderson .Paak. Malibu was my favorite album of 2016 and I missed him 3 times already. I was not about to make it a fourth. Anderson stuck to Malibu for the most part but being able to see him do his thing on the drums was dope.
After Anderson came the man of the hour, J. Cole. His stage was located in the center of the arena, which was significant because of the way he came out. Police escorted him like an inmate headed to his cell with the instrumental of For Whom the Bell Tolls playing in the background. It was a intriguing sight that words couldn't really do justice. Once he started performing all i could do is sit back and say was damn. The atmosphere was overwhelming but in a good way. You felt all the pain J. Cole went through in these records and it was honestly a great feeling. This was highlighted when he did Ville Mentality. He had the video of his hometown, Fayetteville, NC, rolling in the background while performing, which added another level of emotional connection to the song. Couple that with him stopping and explaining the thought process behind it and it was another one of them damn moments. Although Cole performed all his hits from Lights Please, Can't Get Enough, and Tale of Two Cities, it was the more intimate moments that resonated with me. He touched various topics; social injustices, some things we did wrong as a black community, and Colin Kaepernick. Seeing somebody of that stature talk about those topics in the way that he did made me look at things differently. That's why I say this was the best concert I have ever experienced.
After this show, something clicked for me. Prior to this I could never understand why people could really try and justify Cole being better than Kendrick but I get it now. I remember the days that I used to argue hours on end, defending Kendrick against J. Cole stans. It was that connection with his fans that makes Cole stans go as hard as they do. Seeing the emotion he brings to the table, his fans have no choice but to go as hard as they do for him. When he touched on the social injustices, I honestly thought he was going to start tearing up. Man...a Cole show is an experience every fan of good music should experience and it will be an experience you'll never forget. Even though I still believe Kendrick is better than Cole, Cole definitely gave me the best concert experience I could ask for. As Always...