Concert Review: J Cole the Off-Season Tour at FTX Arena Miami September 24, 2021
During the pandemic, only a few artists have the power to draw fans into the immense sea of humanity of an arena setting. For rap fans, J. Cole is that artist, and he put on an experience worth seeing at FTX Arena in downtown Miami.
On Friday, September 24, the North Carolina native kicked off the first night of his long-awaited tour in support of his sixth album, Off-season. The inaugural show of the 20-city tour began with the opening act of Morray, a rising star who, like Cole, hails from Fayetteville. The 2021 XXL Rapper Freshman Class took the stage to perform well-known hits like “Quicksand” mixed with fresh material like “Bad Situations”.
By the time he was done, all eyes were on 21 Savage. Just 24 hours before the tour started, fans of the Atlanta-based rapper were worried about his appearance. Thursday, the rapper “Savage Mode”, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, turned to DeKalb County authorities in Georgia over a warrant that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued against his arrest on September 7. The allegations of criminal possession of drugs and weapons stem from a previous ICE arrest over two years ago. But after being released from custody on Friday, 21 assured his fans he would be heading to Miami before showtime.
The 28-year-old rhymer took to the stage in camouflage pants and a white graphic t-shirt to the tunes of Metro Boomin’s “Don’t Come Out the House” Not all heroes wear capes. LED display has taken on many forms on stage, from church stained glass windows to concrete pillars with sculptures and fire burning behind them. The only prop that remained unchanged: an oversized sword that glowed in the middle of the stage. The hilt of the sword was gold and covered in diamonds, the blade engraved with the names of the crew of 21 who died: “RIP Johnny. RIP Tayman. RIP Larry. 4L Slaughter Gang.”
Despite some technical difficulties, 21 slipped through his set, performing bangers like “My Dawg”, “Runnin”, “Can’t Leave Without It”. “X” and, of course, “bank account”. The leader of the Slaughter Gang commanded the scene and set the tone for the rest of the night.
While a black curtain hid the whole scene, a video of Cole getting ready for the show started to play. With “Punching the Clock” in the background, the footage showed Cole donning his shiny red sneakers and donning his Miami Heat-inspired “Dreamer” jersey before taking the stage. The curtain fell, revealing Cole, microphone in hand, in charge of the stage. He kicked off the show with the intro song on Off-season, “95 South.” Images of Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz have been shown above, helping him close the track and move on to the next joints, “Amari” and “Applying Pressure”.
“By the way, we’re gonna do this whole fucking album,” Cole said before continuing. ” I do not care. I don’t care what type – you know what I mean? Hit or not, it’s done. The bars will be heard. ”
The founder of Dreamville brought The off season album cover to life by recreating an oversized version of the infamous basketball hoop engulfed in flames. Instead of shooting flames from the edges or sides of the stage, flames rose from the hoop itself. He delivered more of the album’s bangers, such as “Pride Is the Devil”, in which he tried unsuccessfully to rap the Lil Baby verse, and brought in his label mate Bas to deliver other tracks like “100 Mil”, “Let My Hand Go”, and “The Jackie”. He’s also spent a lot of time on stage performing fan favorites like “Power Trip,” “A Tale of 2 Quote,” and “GOMD,” to name a few.
The climax of the series was reached when Cole finally released 21 Savage to play their critically acclaimed collaboration, “A Lot”. Soon after, Cole called Morray to deliver his hit “Quicksand”, but in the middle of his song, the 28-year-old cut it short and started singing the song he really wanted to perform: “My Life” . While it was a peak moment during the show, it barely scratched the surface of what Cole still had up his sleeve.
As he left the stage, signaling the possible end of the show, fans chanted his name and demanded his return. Not only did he come back, but he brought some friends. Cole shocked the whole arena by bringing Drake out. The Boy in love certified blessed the crowd by performing “Knife Talk” with 21 Savage and even brought in another surprise guest, Future, to sing their latest hit, “Way 2 Sexy”. At the end of his appearance, Drake took the time to praise Cole’s “Heaven’s EP”, in which he freestyle on Drizzy’s “Pipe Down”. CLB.
“You did that ‘Pipe Down’ freestyle the other day,” Drake told Cole. “You said in freestyle that they gave you bronze or something, me and Kendrick [Lamar]… I just want you to understand something. You truly are, without a doubt, one of the greatest rappers to ever touch a mic. ”
New times has seen Cole perform at Rolling Loud in Miami Gardens and almost every tour stop he’s made in our city over the years. But the final shift of the first night of the Off-Season Tour elevated that performance to the best tour launch of his career. It also brought about a pivotal moment that will remain in rap history for years to come.
– “95 South”
– “Apply pressure”
– “100 million”
– “A Tale of 2 Citiez”
– “Wet Dreamz”
– “Back to topic”
– “I can’t have enough”
– “Tower of Power”
– “Under the sun”
– “The rise”
– “Pride is the devil”
– “A Lot” (with 21 Savage)
– “My life”
– “Laugh Now Cry Later” (with Drake)
– “Knife Talk” (with Drake)
– “Way 2 Sexy” (with Drake and Future)
– “No role model”
– “Middle Child”