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J. Cole

Venue: Store Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark

Date: 3rd December 2011

By Eric Maganga | 06 December 2011

J. Cole is a hip hop rookie - at least in terms of studio albums. The North Carolina star has a string of well-received mixtapes. These are loved by his adoring fans, and he had a tremendous following and a substantially sized hype around him way before ‘Cole World: The Sideline Story’ dropped. 

On this night, after a great delay made the audience’s anticipation and anxiety grow, J.Cole’s DJ started rocking the crowd, dispelling any rumours that Cole was dropped from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and playing a string of Jigga’s hits. This included the ubiquitous ‘Niggas In Paris’, and an improvised remix of ‘Empire State Of Mind’ that had the crowd yelling “Denmark” instead of New York. After letting the crowd know when the main act was less than 15 minutes away, when DJ Dummy was done he announced to the crowd that the wait was over.

Although tickets were still available at the door, Cole performed before a fairly packed house at a sizable venue. Referring to his previous performance in Copenhagen he said: “last time they had us in a little ass room”, and actually claimed that he recognized some faces from before. An easy-to-spot attempt to butter up the crowd. Later, he did a check to see who in the crowd purchased his album with many fans cheering that they had.

While being careful to include a selection of mixtape tracks, Cole didn’t waste time getting to tracks from his hit album debut album, diving into the title track fairly early on to a great response. During his last trip to Denmark, he closed the show with his verse on Jay-Z’s ‘A Star Is Born’. This time he brought this track out early, confident enough of his own catalogue of material to not lean so heavily on this feature. Shortly after, he performed another feature, his verse on Beyoncé’s ‘Party’ remix. The original version of this track featuring Andre 3000 has recently been nominated for a Grammy, and at one point in the concert he took time out to express his extreme delight that he was Grammy-nominated for best new artist. He was beaming and clearly overjoyed. Even so, his confidence has clearly soared since his last appearance in Copenhagen in January. His success seems to be the reason as he proudly also stated that his album was number one when it came out in the States.

For 'Lights Please', a mixtape track that made his album because it was one of his personal favourites, J.Cole played the keys himself to start the track. This was before transitioning to another mixtape track to make the album, his underground hit ‘In The Morning’. This one had Cole pointing his mic to the crowd for them to sing the “morning” part of the hook.

Other highlights featured two emotionally-laden songs back-to-back in 'Daddy’s Little Girl' and 'Lost Ones'. The former was a typically-themed lost girl track, with the latter a unique track dealing with a couple arguing about whether or not an abortion is the right way to go.

Though these deeper tracks were nice, the audience got the most hyper for his Trey Songz-assisted single ‘Can’t Get Enough’. This song sent the hordes into a commotion and had them singing along loudly. The crowd support peaked here, but he still performed quite a few more songs after. Perhaps he should have chosen to end with this one or ‘Work Out’, which garnered a similar response. In any case, it was clear in the crowd reaction that he had a few hits under his belt this time around, as opposed to relying so much on underground mixtape tracks.

For ‘Who Dat’, he asked the crowd to divide themselves into a right and left side to see who could get the loudest. At first it seemed like he would end on this note, with the crowd fairly raucous. He did, however, have a few more tracks up his sleeve. After saying goodbye and with the audience thinking the show was over, Cole came back for a nice rendition of the fan favourite ‘Nobody’s Perfect’. He ended the show with the right theme, if not the right track, with ‘Farewell’, off of 'Friday Night Lights'. ..

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