Jay-Z protege J. Cole scores big at New York show | EW.com

Music | The Music Mix

Jay-Z protege J. Cole scores big at New York show

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j-coleImage Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.comIf Jay-Z calls his most thorough lyrics “black hoodie rap,” J. Cole’s performance last night at downtown New York’s stuffy, packed SOB’s was made for black tees. Cole, Jay’s Roc Nation protege, ran through several cuts from his 2009 mixtape The Warm Up, including “Grown Simba,” “World is Empty,” and “Dollar and a Dream II.” He later pulled Talib Kweli out of the crowd to perform the Reflection Eternal lyricist’s classic “Get By.”

The show wasn’t perfect. There were several missteps. “This so did not go how I planned it in my dreams,” he quipped after his DJ experienced a few  technical difficulties during his introduction. At other times he missed cues to start his verses, which he laughed off, making each gaffe less embarrassing and more endearing. The sold-out crowd rapped along as if the performance was captioned. The only song they couldn’t recite was the soulful and bouncy one he premiered, “Who Dat.” It likely will be the first single from the 25-year-old’s upcoming as-yet-titled first album.

In a fickle  music industry where fans eat up new artists and quickly go on to the next one, Cole’s performance suggested that he doesn’t only have next. He’s going to be around for a while.

“Sounds like some wack-ass prom line,” he tweeted after the show. “But I’ll never forget this night.”

Are you excited to hear J. Cole’s debut album? Let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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