Fresh off the heels of a stomach flu, I drove with my friends to Virginia Beach to see J. Cole on his 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour. I was excited because it included appearances by Jeremih, Big Sean, and YG. I've seen Big Sean before, but I was still excited to see him, along with Jeremih and YG, because I am obsessed with YG and when I saw him at Made In America summer 2014, his set went completely over my head. Don't be mad, I hadn't listened to My Krazy Life yet.
I would definitely say that the Farm Bureau Live Amphitheater in Virginia Beach is one of my favorite venues for shows, mainly because almost every summer I've been to a show there. This includes the Blink 182 reunion of 2009, Drake's Club Paradise in 2012, Shaggfest and Drake vs. Wayne in summer 2014. It's also another one of my favorite venues because it's about a 20 minute drive from the beach, so every summer my friends and I pack up and make the trip to our favorite hotel a block from the shore, stay there for about a day longer than necessary, and go to a show at Farm Bureau live. It's one of my favorite summer traditions.
Honestly, I'm probably one of the fakest J. Cole fans. I've seen him three times (almost four but the first time I had the chance to see him, the tickets sold out), but I was never really too impressed with his albums. It's not that I didn't like him, I had listened to "The Warmup", "Friday Night Lights", "The Sideline Story" and "Born Sinner", but truth be told, I didn't really get it. All of his albums sounded the same to me. I know a lot of pseudo-intelligent people (mostly guys) on social media blather on about how you have to have a "certain mindset" (cue the fucking eyeroll) to really understand J. Cole and his music, but I like to think I'm pretty knowledgable about rap music and even still I couldn't really say that he was one of my favorite rappers.
It took me being in a heated debate with some people at a birthday party to realize that maybe I should start paying closer attention to J. Cole and stop being so fake. In the whirlwind of me defending the "ghost writing" of Drake's music, someone brought up how "2014 Forest Hills Drive" went platinum with no features, a feat that hasn't happened in over 25 years. When I first listened to the album, it wasn't something that I had noticed, but upon realizing it, I was like damn...maybe the annoying quasi-intellectual boys on my Facebook feed were right.
When my friends and I arrived (late) to the show, (completely missing Jeremih and YG's set) and J. Cole came out, my opinions on him changed and now I can say that I'm a full blown J. Cole fan (the first step is admitting). He performed the entire album for all of us and it was a great experience. Even though I was turning up on the lawn with my closest friends and J. Cole was only a blip in front of me, the energy he put into his performance was electric. I finally got it and was shown the light.
From his performance, J. Cole seems like a very personable and relatable guy. Even though he's well on his way to marriage, I feel like I could we're compatible and we could totally date. Not to mention his activism is sexy as well, as he went to Ferguson on his own when Michael Brown was shot and marched with the protesters. In addition, he bought his childhood home the address of which he named the album, and he rents it out to struggling families. Talk about a man who gives back to his community.
Now that I have officially been woke to J. Cole and got on that higher mindset needed to listen to him, according to my Facebook friends, I'm excited to see his performance at Made in America this year. Throughout the end of his summer tour, he's been bringing guests to join him on the stage and hopefully he'll bring someone out this year. I'm looking forward to watching the continue rise and success of J. Cole.