J.Cole surprised us back in December with the announcement of his new album 4 Your Eyez Only, a follow up of his 2014 album Forrest Hills Drive. The 10-track album touches on the injustices in America, the responsibility of fatherhood and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Not too long after the announcement of the album, tour dates were released.
The 4 Your Eyez Only tour was highly anticipated, especially for us Arkansans. We were all surprised to see Little Rock, Arkansas listed on the tour schedule. Columbia, South Carolina got the first glimpse of the tour, while Little Rock was listed at lucky number seven. It’s arguable whether or not this album tops Forest Hills Drive, but either way, I was purchasing a ticket.
Lute West, a new signee to Dreamville, kicked off the show, followed by J.I.D, who dropped a few tracks on us from his latest project, The Never Story. Ari Lennox graced the stage with her melodic voice and pitch perfect vocals, performing a few tracks from her latest EP, PHO.
Some Arkansans had a lot to say in regards to the venue. “It’s at the Metroplex? I’m not going!”, “J.Cole went double platinum with no features, why is he performing at a small venue?”, “He sold out Madison Square Garden!”, “He should have chosen the Verizon Arena!” and so much more. To be honest, I saw more talk about how he should have chosen a better venue instead of appreciating the fact that he even considered bringing the tour to the Natural State. Now, me on the other hand, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. Yes, we all believe that J.Cole would’ve sold out the Verizon arena, but the Metroplex wasn’t what some made it seem. It was very personable and reminded me of a hype college party (in a good way). Let’s not mention the heat and technical difficulties.
I had a dope experience seeing J.Cole live for the first time, minus a few annoyances. My first reaction was “DAMN” at the amount of people that came out and how diverse the crowd was. The line started from the doors of the Metroplex and wrapped around the perimeter of the parking lot, apparently near the road from what I was told (I was in the middle of the line at the time, still far as hell from the entrance). The wait in line was as expected…forever! Some people camped out to get their spot in line, had food delivered and then some. I told myself that as long as I had a good view of him on stage, I’d be good.
The show was set to begin at 8pm, but of course it didn’t. I love my hi-top Chuck Taylors, but two to three hours in line and another hour and a half standing in the venue waiting for the show to begin didn’t do my feet any good (bless those babies in heels). J.Cole and crew were on black people time, for real! Everyone was so irritated and hot as hell once inside, but as soon as the the show began we let it go and got lit!
Once J.Cole was on stage he addressed us. “It took me way too long to get out here, right?” *crowd erupts* “Should I keep coming back after this show?” *crowd still going bonkers* “Do they got like a bigger venue we can do next time we come?” We let him know…”THE VERIZON!!!” He also addressed the technical difficulties that kept us waiting, which was appreciated. By this time, we were just ready for the main act.
On to the performance…
J.Cole performed a generous amount of tracks from 4 Your Eyes Only and some bangers from Forest Hills Drive. He even dropped some old gems. A few of my favorites are below:
Be sure to give the other Dreamville artists a listen:
LUTE WEST – Charlotte, North Carolina
J.I.D – East Atlanta
ARI LENNOX – Washington, DC