North Texas Daily

Lights please: crowd of more than 6,000 fills Coliseum for J. Cole

Lights please: crowd of more than 6,000 fills Coliseum for J. Cole

April 25
04:28 2014

Ali West // Staff Writer

A haze of smoke filled the room as blue and red lights flashed on the stage. More than 6,000 people went silent. And then J. Cole stepped out and was met with a deafening cheer.

Rapper J. Cole performed at the UNT Coliseum at 8 p.m. last night for the first ever UPC Spring Concert, with opening acts Bas, a rapper on J. Cole’s label, and indie rock band Best Coast.

Cole said the crowd was amazing.

“I like connecting with people,” Cole said. “Seeing their faces, seeing their eyes, seeing them mouth all the words to the songs and scream all the words to the songs, you know, it was dope.”

Having performed at colleges in the past, Cole said he could tell UNT’s audience appreciated his performance.

“Most colleges do but this is, like, extra,” he said. “It was double the energy.”

Some die-hard fans arrived as early as 2 p.m. to stand in line for the show. The first 1,000 people were able to stand on the floor in front of the stage, while the rest of the audience took seats in the Coliseum. By 6:45 p.m., lines from multiple entrances of the Coliseum stretched to the street, filling the Coliseum to capacity when doors opened at 7 p.m.

Biology sophomore Jadon Franklin is a fan of J. Cole and one of the first 1,000 who were able to experience the concert near the stage.

“It was my second time seeing him, but it was good up close,” Franklin said. “It was a good opportunity.”

Bas was up first at 8 p.m., performing songs from his upcoming album, which comes out on Tuesday. Best Coast followed about half an hour later, performing a diverse set of old and new songs.

At 10 p.m. J. Cole entered the stage. He performed a variety of his songs, old and new, and engaged the audience in various ways. The most noteworthy was his performance of “Lights Please,” from his 2010 mixtape “Friday Night Lights,” during which the audience lit the Coliseum with hundreds of cell phones and lighters.

Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, J. Cole is a rap artist who first gained recognition in 2007 with his mixtape, “The Come Up.” Since then, Cole has worked with many renowned artists, including Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Drake.

J. Cole speaks to his fans more than most rappers and is very down-to-earth, which is what makes him an inspiring artist, pre-business junior Karen Macedo said.

“He’s not only talking about money and hoes and drugs,” Macedo said. “He speaks about more than that.”

Cole attended St. John’s University in New York City, majoring in communication and minoring in business. He said he sensed the significance of his visit to UNT being the first major artist to perform in a while, something he experienced in his own college years.

“I love the feeling of getting to see someone you actually love,” he said. “Sometimes it might be someone’s first show ever, or the last one for a while. In college, you really don’t have the budget to be going to all these concerts that come to town.”

Hailing from New Jersey, chemistry senior Maxwell Christian has been a fan of J. Cole since he was an underground artist. Christian considers J. Cole to be strictly a rapper, as opposed to a musician such as Drake or Kanye West.

“He’s more of an intellectual performer,” Christian said. “You listen to his lyrics, and you have to go back and open Webster’s [Dictionary] and try to dissect each lyric and pick it apart piece by piece.”

He said Cole’s stage presence helped bring the songs to life.

“Some of the songs may seem quite dull, like on the radio or when you’re listening in your car,” he said. “When you actually are there live, he transcends it.”

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