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J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour

Grand Central, Miami

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Better Than: Anything else you could do in Miami for a dollar. And most full-priced concerts.

"Dreamville in this motherfucker!"

It cost $1 to get in, but only J. Cole's most ardent followers made it through the front doors of downtown Miami's Grand Central for the Dollar & A Dream tour.

And after an entire day of standing in line, getting toasted by the scorching sun, these fans were ready to party.

See also: J. Cole in Miami: "Police Won't Let Us Do a Second Show," Over 1000 People Turned Away

J. Cole's Dreamville signee Bas opened the show and had everybody rocking along with him from the moment he spit his first bar. He warmed up the crowd by performing tracks from his recent album, Last Winter, and the compilation mixtape Revenge of the Dreamers.

At one point during his set, Bas brought out Dreamville's newest artist, Cozz, who performed his song "Dreams." The rapper's first single has been buzzing on the Internet ever since Cole tweeted the video out to his 5.37 million followers last month.

Bas' killer set would've been headlining material at GC on a normal night, but this was not a normal night, because Cole, who usually performs in much bigger venues, had something special in mind for the five-year anniversary of his breakthrough album, The Warm Up.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

After Bas and Cozz slipped backstage, the crowd got hyped as the band set up its instruments. And when the lights dimmed and the music started, the screams became ear-splitting. But J. Cole was nowhere to be seen.

The rapper's voice came from somewhere off stage: "You ever prayed for something your whole life?"

Fans recognized the opening words of The Warm Up's intro track and cheered in approval. Then, Cole made his way onto the stage to enthusiastic cheers as he spoke the words that he'd written before becoming an international rap star.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

See also: J. Cole: Five Reasons He Doesn't Suck

Once Cole finished with his introduction, he went straight into the first cut off The Warm Up, dropping razor-sharp rhymes and handling the microphone like a weapon.

He blazed through song after song and the crowd rapped along to every single word. Many of the tracks, he hadn't played in years before going out on this second Dollar & A Dream tour.

And though Cole joked that he might mess up the words to his raps, he never missed a beat throughout the entire performance.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

"305, can I live?" J. Cole shouted. "There's a thousand motherfuckers who didn't make it in, so I'm real glad y'all were able to vibe with me tonight. Police tried to shut us down, they was hating on you, but y'all made it right to the front. And y'all sound good as fuck."

After spitting his way through nearly the entire tracklist of The Warm Up, skipping only a few cuts, J. Cole asked the crowd if there was any song from the album that they really wanted to hear.

"I know I skipped a couple tracks, is there any specific song y'all want me to do?"

Cole already knew the answer. He was just teasing.

And the decision was unanimous.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

"'Lights Please,' 'Lights Please,' 'Lights Please,'" chanted the audience in unison.

That's when J. Cole launched into one of his most popular songs to date with the crowd echoing his every rhyme.

Once the song was over, the band left the stage and J. Cole said goodnight.

"Miami, I love you. 'Till next time."

But the crowd hadn't gotten enough of J. Cole yet. Calls for an encore filled the room, and it wasn't long before the rapper was back on stage, microphone in hand.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

"Oh, I almost forgot. I did have some hits after The Warm Up. Might as well play them shits."

Cole launched into a three-song encore that included a guest appearance from Trey Songz. And the crowd went wild.

Then the show was really over. But as the band settled into an all-out, night-ending jam session, J. Cole walked around the stage, signing countless autographs for fans.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

"I'm chargin' a fuckin' dollar to get in this bitch, so I can do what the fuck I want tonight."

And J. Cole did indeed do whatever he wanted, it just so happened that it was exactly what his fans wanted too.

It may have been harder to get into than a regular concert, but there's no denying that the crowd got their money's worth. And then some.

J. Cole's Dollar & A Dream Tour - Grand Central, Miami
Photo by Karli Evans

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Second straight year attending J.Cole's Dollar & A Dream tour. Love the concept. He could've pretty much done anything on that stage and we would've had a great time.

The Crowd: These were J. Cole's most dedicated followers from the 305. They were engaged and enthusiastic from the opening act to the headliner, showing love to Bas, Cozz, and the rest of the Dreamville family. The room was full of real fans.

J. Cole's Setlist

-"The Warm Up Intro"

-"Welcome"

-"Can I Live?"

-"Grown Simba"

-"Just To Get By"

-"Dead Presidents II"

-"I Get Up"

-"World Is Empty"

-"Dreams"

-"Dollar & A Dream II"

-"Knock Knock"

-"Ladies"

-"The Badness"

-"Hold It Down"

-"Losing My Balance"

-"Ligths Please"

-"Can't Get Enough"

-"Crooked Smile"

-"Power Trip"

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