As the sunshine gave way to moderate rain showers, the real storm was brewing on the Billboard Hot 100 stage on Sunday (Aug. 21) night as headliner J. Cole unleashed throwback gems and fiery cuts from his platinum 2014 album 2014 Forest Hills Drive.
Deafening chants of “J. Cole! J. Cole! J. Cole!” erupted throughout the show, especially when he performed crowd favorites like “Wet Dreamz” and “No Role Modelz.”
Backed by a five-person band and two female backup singers, the Fayetteville rep also catered to his day-one loyalists. “It was hard to do these shows ’cause I had no songs that was poppin’ on the radio,” Cole recalled of his days on the come-up. “I wanna do something for the people’s that’s been f–king with me since ‘The Warm Up’ and ‘Friday Night Lights.’ He then launched into a melodic rendition of “Lights Please” and the Drake-assisted bedroom heater “In the Morning.”
“Now back to our regularly scheduled programming,” he said before returning to his 2014 Forest Hills Drive tracklist. Middle fingers shot in the air as the Dreamville CEO performed the hype anthem “G.O.M.D.”
He then paused for a moment of reflection. “I grew up a lot, became a man during that shit,” he said of making Forest Hills Drive. “I wrote it for me but I feel like it could help somebody out here, too.” He then performed the reflective deep cut “Love Yourz.”
After seemingly chucking the deuces to Long Island, Cole returned to the stage with an explosive finale comprised of his earlier hits “Can’t Get Enough,” “Work Out,” “Planez,” “Crooked Smile” and “Power Trip.” While Cole stuck to the script according to his past tour, the 2014 Forest Hills trek, there was little doubt that Cole was the man of the night.
See his full set list below.
Tale of 2 Citiez
No Role Modelz
In The Morning
Can’t Get Enough