J. Cole came to the Budweiser Made in America Festival with a mission and a message.
Before the Roc Nation MC took the stage on Saturday night (August 30) his DJ played "Be Free," Cole's dedication to Mike Brown, the Ferguson, Missouri teen who was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9.
Cole's emotional ode played, while he ran a montage of footage which showed various acts of police aggression and brutality. The crowd watched, mostly quiet, in a somber acknowledgement of the rapper's sentiment.
When the Dreamville spitter final did emerge from backstage all he had to do was yell "Philly" for the crowd to erupt with applause and praise. First was "Enchanted" from his 2010 mixtape Friday Night Lights, then he moved into "Land of the Snakes" from his latest album Born Sinner.
From there Cole ran through a number of hit records and fan favorites. He did "Blow Up," "Nobody's Perfect" and the song that made Jay Z sign him, "Lights Please." Jermaine, who was backed by a band, briefly shared the front stage with Bas, the first signee to his Dreamville record label and together they performed "Lit."
Of course he did "Work Out," "Can't Get Enough" and "Nobody's Perfect," but by the time he closed with "Power Trip" the crowd was fully engaged in a good old fashioned sing along.
What you say Cole ain't hot? What? Where you read that sh--?