For day two of Rolling Loud California, R&B aficionados were in for a treat as Chris Brown made his official debut on the popular festival circuit Saturday night (Dec. 11) at the Nos Events Center in San Bernardino.
Brown, who previously made a cameo on Future’s Rolling Loud Miami set in 2018, punched in a robust performance anchored by nostalgia, sleek dancing, and of course, big-time hits. Following electric showings by Tyga and Jack Harlow on the Ciroc main stage, at 9:45 p.m., Brown zipped his way across the stage with an exuberant smile and burst of energy to match.
Brown kicked things off with his 2017 single “Party,” to much of the crowd’s delight. Clad in a black leather jacket, the singer’s goal was succinct and straightforward: “to turn up.” Breezy’s masterclass on breath control and crowd engagement was excellent, as he didn’t lose any momentum throughout his 30-minute set, most notably on his speedy anthem “Look at Me Now.” He also didn’t mind sharing the stage with guests, bringing out Tyga (“Ayo”) and Yung Bleu (“Baddest”), before hurling fans his laundry list of classics.
Fans crooned alongside him during “With You” while grooving to the singer’s sultry 2020 single “Heat.” At the tail-end of his set, Brown went on a fiery three-song run, which consisted of “Loyal,” “No Guidance” and “Go Crazy,” as he and his legion of dancers ramped up the intensity with their aerial moves.
After Brown, the night’s headliner J. Cole received a roaring ovation. The multifaceted star — who enjoyed his basketball run last summer in the African League — had a pseudo sports announcer introduce him ahead of his performance. Cole shined on “95. south,” his spiky intro off this year’s The Offseason, which spawned a flurry of blistering punchlines (“Could put a M right on your head, you Luigi brother now”). Before diving into his Grammy-nominated song “my. life,” Cole revealed some news and announced that this would be his last show “for a while.”
If you remember, Cole made similar headlines when he told fans the same news during his 2016 performance at New York’s The Meadows Festival. “Before I get out of here, listen,” he said. “This is my last show for a very long time.”
Cole commended fans for their energy and patience despite the frigid temperature as he skated his way through his catalog during his set. Cole dashed through “Wet Dreams” and “Nobody’s Perfect,” celebrating the seven and ten-year anniversaries of 2014 Forest Hills Drive and Sideline Story, respectively. Those songs became instant sing-alongs, as fans chanted every lyric with gusto, especially when he brought out his Dreamville soldiers Lute (“Under the Sun”) and Bas (“The Jackie”).
To conclude his performance, Cole made a random fan’s wish come true when their phone found its way on the stage. Cole picked it up and rapped his way through 21 Savage’s “a lot,” giving the fan some amazing content on the way home.