J Cole Live at the AllState Arena

This past Saturday, a good friend and I had the opportunity of seeing J. Cole’s KOD Tour in Rosemont at the Allstate Arena.  J. Cole is one of hip-hop’s most talented artists, who is currently on one of the best rolls we have seen in modern day music.

For years now, Cole has produced consistently good music dating from early mixtapes like “The Warm Up” in 2009, all the way to 2018 with Cole’s most recent and most successful record yet, “KOD.”  Cole began to separate himself from the pack, however, when he began to develop his own unique sound in 2013 with the release of his studio album, “Born Sinner.” This album was the point at which Cole’s content, spoken word, and overall sound turned to a very conscious and individual approach to hip hop.  

This proved to be the right move as Cole’s following album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive” became one of the most popular hip-hop albums of its time.  The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was nominated for several Grammy awards. “2014 Forest Hills Drive” was the first album to ever go double platinum with zero features, which is now a feat every album he has released since has accomplished as well.  This approach and sound was further perfected with each album later released.

Since “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” Cole has released “4 Your Eyez Only” in 2016 and now “KOD” in 2018, both of which were very successful, but none of his previous albums matched the overall success that his most recent album “KOD” has accomplished. “KOD” was Cole’s fifth straight album to debut at the top of US Billboard 200, breaking all of his previous sales and streaming records.  The album shattered first day streaming records on both major music platforms Spotify and Apple Music, which was incredible considering Cole and Dreamville Records had only announced the album four days before its release.

Since “KOD’s” release, it has been extremely active across music and Cole is constantly on top of his game with everything he has been touching.  He has been featured on tracks by 6LACK, Wale, Jay Rock, Royce Da 5’9”. He also featured on and largely produced the recent album “Milky Way” by Bas.  

Seeing J. Cole live this past Saturday was an experience my friend and I will never forget.  His music has personally resonated with me since I began to listen to hip hop of any kind. I knew the night was going to be great when I bumped into and had a short conversation with Bobby Portis of the Chicago Bulls when we were both looking for our seats, which ended up being in the same section.  Cole’s performance was opened up by Earthgang, Jaden Smith, and Young Thug, who all had good performances. But once the last performer was off the stage and the “KOD” banner dropped, the entire arena’s energy went through the roof.

From the moment Cole walked out on stage to his final encore, the entire arena was rocking as Cole put on what was undoubtedly the best performance I have ever seen.  Accompanied with a live band and orchestra, Cole was on point with every single song that was played and gave it his all the entire time just as the crowd gave it ours, which made for an electric energy that I have never been a part of before. It was an experience which will always be special to me.

Hats off to J. Cole, undoubtedly one of the best artists of our generation.