J. Cole’s Chaining Day: Jay Z Hands Over Roc-A-Fella Diamonds At Birthday Show

'On your neck is my original Roc chain. It's yours,' Jay said, passing down the infamous diamond-studded necklace for Cole's 29th birthday.

NEW YORK CITYJ. Cole emerged onstage at the Madison Square Garden Theater Tuesday night wearing his Jesus piece, and exited just over two hours later wearing Jay Z’s original Roc-A-Fella chain. Kendrick Lamar didn’t have a diamond-encrusted hip-hop memento to hand over, but he also came out to praise the birthday boy.

Cole celebrated his 29th birthday during the entirety of the night, strolling in to Born Sinner’s “Trouble” while sipping from a red Solo cup. Early on he treated fans to a full catalog spread, from “Land of the Snakes” and “Runaway,” to “Blow Up” and “Nobody’s Perfect,” pausing only to sip in between songs. But when he paused long enough, the entire theater erupted into a round of “Happy Birthday.”

By the time he got to “Forbidden Fruit,” Cole was floating, using the line “I’ma drop the album same day as Kanye,” as an opportunity to celebrate with fans the fact that he’d,”f—ed around and sold more albums than Kanye.” It was the perfect high note for a K. Dot cameo.

Kendrick Lamar, fresh off a visit to the Grammys (that left his fans sorely disappointed), was all smiles and a burst of energy as he hit the stage to finish “Forbidden Fruit,” and deliver “Backseat Freestyle,” “m.A.A.d. city” plus one very moving speech. “[Cole] is one of the first cats to welcome me with open arms in this music business when I ain’t know sh– about it,” he said. “So believe that, this is not no regular rapper friendship, this is my f—ing brother right here, J. Cole.”

After this, Cole said he felt “like I’m almost Jay Z.” That was the first big hint that Hov would make a guest appearance, but he saved it until the very end.

A couple of songs later, Cole said goodbye, exited, and promptly returned with a fresh chain. After a few bars from “Can’t Get Enough,” mashed up with Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin'” beat, Cole put on his chain, the crowd went wild, and Hov emerged to perform “PSA.” What happened next, however, was completely unexpected, especially for fans who gripe that Jay Z never goes out of his way to show very public support for his Roc Nation signee.

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