J. Cole causes ‘trouble’ at Massey

(Contributed photo)
(Contributed photo)

What do you get when you mix two young American rappers with one of Toronto’s premiere theatre auditoriums? Can’t guess? Well it is far from a snooze fest. On Oct. 8, Toronto’s Massey Hall played host to one of this year’s hottest hip-hop fall concerts: J. Cole and Wale’s ‘What Dreams May Come’ Tour.

J. Cole was the buzz of this summer’s hip-hop landscape due to the success of his sophomore album, Born Sinner. Traditionally in hip-hop, an artist’s second studio album can either be gift or a curse; referred to as the “sophomore slump.” However, Jermaine Cole was able to beat the slump and deliver an improved product that ensured his spot atop rap royalty.

By the time Wale took the stage at 8 p.m., the 3,000 person venue was just a couple seats shy of a full house. Wale wasted no time, going straight into his verse off the stripper-love anthem “No Hands.” The D.C. rapper paraded back and forth across the stage keeping the energy up through tracks like “Slight Work” and “Clappers.” He poured out his feelings on “Ambition” and “LoveHate Thing.” Wale finished his set with some old-school jams and pleased the crowd with a little encore of his verse on the “Rack City” remix.

It was then about a half hour between acts for bathroom breaks or more beer, while classic hip-hop songs played through Massey Hall’s crystal-clear speaker system. Just as everyone was getting back to their seats in anticipation, a television flickered on the jumbo screen at the top of the stage steps and a news bulletin reported that J. Cole had been involved in a deadly car accident and that the rapper remained in critical condition.

This was when the lead guitarist let loose and Cole appeared in an all-black ensemble complete with Timberlands and a snapback hat. He set things off with “Trouble” and the crowd went absolutely ballistic. Females love J. Cole and all the high-pitched screams were a pretty good indicator of how much the ladies do love Cole. His band was full of highly skilled musicians who were happy to assist J. Cole’s drama unfold. As he flowed into “Land of the Snakes,” he explained the show’s purpose.

“Tonight is not just a show, it’s a journey” he said. From beginning to end, we followed Cole as he walked through his lowest moments on songs like “Runaway.” He then proceeded to look for redemption with songs like “Villuminati” and eventually found his way back home with everyone’s favorite TLC-assisted “Crooked Smile.”

The whole concept was very grand and ambitious, while throughout the show, Cole would sit at his own little VIP table in between tracks and knock back what looked to be Hennessey. After he had gone through the hits, past and present, the television flickered back on and this time the newswoman reported that Cole had come out of his coma and was showing strong signs of recovery. He closed out the triumphant journey with his most recent ballad, “Power Trip.” He left the stage to thunderous applause and I’m sure some weeping girls.

All in all, the concept concert was as entertaining as it was original. There was a little something for everyone and even more for those true J. Cole fans. I guess it really is a Cole world after all.

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