Photo Credit: Cindy Burnham, The Fayetteville Observer
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
It’s not every day that you hear of an artist doing great deeds for the community. Not that they don’t happen, but gossip events almost always overshadow their benevolent acts of kindness. And although J.Cole has been in the news before for lending a hand to the youth of Fayetteville, NC, he’s done it again. This past weekend, Cole held a show in his hometown of Fayetteville for the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour to a sold out crowd. While the crowd witnessed performances by Jay Z, Big Sean and Drake, a 4 kids from the area got a chance to meet Cole for a chat. According to one report, the kids had been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody and what they thought was a summer exercise, turned into a one on one meet and greet with J.Cole, where he discussed rising above their current circumstances and education.
Last night, J.Cole brought out Jay Z and Drake, but he did something even greater for 4 special and deserving kids. These kids have been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody, they don’t wake up smiling every day because life isn’t peaches and cream. So a bunch of these kids on a voluntary basis wrote an essay about what success meant to them and their proudest moment. They had no idea why they were writing it, except as a summer exercise. One child wrote, “Letting go of anger against all those that have done me wrong.” Despite circumstances of no parental involvement or single home, lack of finances and role models, these kids have maintained good grades and behavior. Seeing beyond Fayetteville is just a dream for them if u ask them. Last night, Cole and Dreamville invited these young people to his concert and afterwards, he took out time to talk with them about life one on one and as a group. He encouraged them to get their education and go the right thing. He told them that circumstances don’t define them or what they can do.
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NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 05: J. Cole attends BALLY’s ‘Off the Grid’ New York Premiere on August 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for BALLY)
THE BALLY / COLE PARTNERSHIP
As an up and coming artist in today’s social media realm, it’s increasingly becoming more difficult to distinguish one’s artistic talents in an overly saturated market. Luckily, there are ways that can enhance an artists’ brand in a sea of contenders. One brand in particular, who has also utilized unique marketing to their advantage is Dreamville Records. Continue reading
This week, journalist Elliott Wilson featured J.Cole’s friend and Dreamville President, Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad on his latest Rap Radar podcast. They conversed about the inspiring Dreamville movement, strategic marketing plans, the labels growing roster and the “Forest Hills Drive” Tour, which recently sold out Madison Square Garden. In the midst of the conversation, Ibrahim gave more insight about the recording process behind J.Cole’s 2013 album, Born Sinner. Ironically, in 2014, I’d written an article for RESPECT. Magazine entitled One Year Later: J.Cole’s Born Sinner and today is Throwback Thursday, so this was the perfect opportunity to revisit it. Continue reading
OMEN’S ELEPHANT EYES
I’m really enjoying the growing Dreamville roster. With four stellar artists including J.Cole, Bas, Cozz and Omen, Dreamville is is quickly becoming the blueprint for what a quality label should embody. Authentic talent and a niche for reliability is the commonality that these artists seem to share. Authenticity and relatable messages are woven throughout Omen‘s debut album Elephant Eyes. As his first album with Dreamville, the Chicago lyricist creatively stitched together his childhood memories,and real-life scenarios as seen through his eyes. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Love Drug” and I was excited to see a recent video release for the single. The thought provoking “Love Drug” takes us through the issues of social media that have altered the way that in which we communicate. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to see J.Cole live for almost 3 years and I guess the 3rd time is the charm. I was blessed to have an opportunity to cover his Birmingham, AL show for Respect. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour, which reportedly sold out within the first two days of going on sale, was held at the Iron City Grill located in downtown Birmingham. Two hours before show time, the line was wrapped around the building with eager fans of all ages. It’s something captivating about the support that J.Cole gets from his fans and new listeners. With each year or album passing, he receives more and more respect, which is confirmation that his message is really being heard and felt. Cole’s most authentic self was given on his now platinum album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, so it was no surprise that the show was similar in context.
Read the full tour review via Respect-Mag.com and check out a few photos from the show below.