J. Cole brought in the new year at the Delano Hotel on South Beach, but didn't really offer anything new, despite coming out with a brand-new album just three weeks ago.
The North Carolina-bred rapper took the mic at exactly midnight, wishing a happy 2015 to the mostly young and beautiful crowd, and quipping about the fact that not a single person was in the pool.
"I thought this was gonna be a pool party," Cole said. "But all I see is a pool."
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Cole, who dropped his latest album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, on December 9, performed some of his oldest but most known songs, including "Can't Get Enough" from his 2011 debut album and the more recent hit "Crooked Smile" off 2013's Born Sinner.
But during his brief 20-minute set, there was nothing from the new record. And that was disappointing, especially since a muted loop of the video for Cole's "Apparently" was played on poolside video screens before the performance.
Cole ended the performance with his 2013 hit "Power Trip" and then the recorded version of "Apparently" was played on speakers.
And "Be Free," the Michael Brown- and Ferguson-inspired song lauded by many critics, was not performed either, which was probably a proper move. The song's melancholy theme about racism and poverty probably wouldn't have been appropriate at a swanky poolside concert that cost $250, minimum, to get in.
Still, despite the lack of 2014 Forest Hills Drive material, Cole's performance had the well-dressed crowd moving and grooving to the radio-friendly hip-hop that they all came to see as 2014 came to a close.
But they'll have to wait until later this year, when Cole launches his upcoming Fuck Money Spread Love tour, to see anything new.
-- Ray Downs
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