It’s ya girl Yu Ling! Last week, I attended the J.Cole concert at the Warfield theater in San Francisco! Today, my column will be focused on the overall concert experience— what to wear, what to eat, who to go with, do’s and don’ts… you’ll get it all!
What to Wear?
There are so many choices when you go to a hip-hop concert. You can go with a really casual look or a ghetto fabulous get-up. It’s all up to you!
Casual: I would suggest wearing your favorite pair of dark blue jeans, a white tee and a simple zip-up. If you’re looking for comfort, I’d wear a pair of sneakers and throw in a beanie.
Keep it Classy: If you want to glam it up a bit, I’d wear a gold chain, switch the zip-up for a blazer, and throw in a pair of heels instead of the sneakers. This outfit says you’re not looking to impress, but you want to stay chic and simple.
What I Wore:
I went with a sleeveless cropped white turtleneck (American Apparel or a cheaper version at DeMasque), dragon embroidered varsity jacket (Urban Outfitters), faux-leather shorts (H&M), creepers (eBay), and gold accessories (Forever21).
I chose this combination because I wanted to wear my jacket. It’s casual and comfy, but at the same time has an old-school-hip-hop vibe. I paired it with a white turtleneck for simplicity, and then the faux-leather shorts because I wanted to play with texture. The gold accessories for me really embody the hip-hop feel. First off, what rapper does not own a chain?! Plus it gives the whole look a more edgy, yet glamorous feel.
What Should I Eat Before?
If you are the type to dance and sing a lot, I’d suggest something filling, but not gotta-unbutton-my-pants/should-have-worn-sweats filling. Being the broke asian girl in the struggle, I went with the free and easy choice of eating at home. I had a bowl of fried rice, which was pretty filling, but also light enough so I could move.
Who Should I Go With?
No matter what kind of concert you are going to, it’s always better to have a friend. Why? Because you get to share an amazing experience with someone, feel safer, and have somebody spot you when you are short a dollar for the bus ride home. But most of all, they bring extra fun and energy! For a hip-hop concert like J.Cole, you definitely want somebody who is familiar with the music or they’ll be standing there awkwardly trying to nod along to a song they definitely do not know. I went with my friend Hosanna, a huge J.Cole fan.
This way, I could sit back when I did not know a song, but have somebody to jam with when I did. It’s also good to choose a friend who isn’t afraid to dance. Unlike rock or indie, hip-hop is really about the beats and bouncing along, so if you know anybody who has great physical rhythm, then that person is a great choice!
First off, I’d like to say that I was a little bummed that Wale wasn’t there. “J.Cole and Wale” headlining, yet we didn’t even get any word on whether or not Wale would be there! *tsk tsk*. They had a DJ warm the crowd up with some old-school slaps and Bay Area hyphy music (you know the kind that always starts with BAAAAAAAAAY AAAAAAAAREEEEEEEEEEEA! Yeah those.) Hosanna and I definitely got the blood pumping through the veins when they blasted Snoop Dogg, Dre, and E-40. I’m 97.3% sure the people around us thought we were crazy.
The opening act was pretty chill, had some nice vibes and beats, but was more on the slow side, so I got more relaxed before J.Cole came on.
After what seemed like hours of waiting, the lights dimmed again and a short film was projected onto the stage. The idea was that he got into a car accident and they were not sure if he would make it or not. Then all of a sudden, the homeboy J.Cole struts down the lit up stage and goes crazy to Trouble! (This man just escaped death; that is some Harry Potter voodoo, if you know what I mean.)
I gotta tell you, my bae Cole does this cute move whenever he hits a song hard – he pretend falls and catches himself right before he hits the floor—literally the cutest thing ever. J.Cole isn’t much for dancing, so this concert was all about getting into the music and dancing for yourself. For me, it can be hard to get into an artist if they don’t have incredibly intricate dance routines or something other than just standing (since I’ve got a super short attention span), but J.Cole’s energy was so infectious and inviting, I couldn’t turn away for a single minute. He performed a lot of songs off his new album, Born Sinner, but the highlights of the night were definitely his older songs from his previous albums, which really got the crowd going.
My personal favorites of the night:
“Nobody’s Perfect” – My favorite part of a concert is hearing the crowd sing along in unison so when the artist stops, you just hear the crowd. Although it’s a slower song, everyone was bouncing along, and the energy in the room was just perfect.
“Can’t Get Enough” – A fast-paced, upbeat track that really got the crowd going.
“In the Morning” – A classic baby-making track (not that I would know). This got all the ladies hyped. Not to mention it let him show some of his personality and humor whenever he sang flirtatiously “and can I hit it in the mooorrrnin’??” (Obviously talking to me because he’s got the hots for me.)
“Crooked Smile” – This is actually my personal favorite from J.Cole because it features TLC, but also because it has more of a R&B vibe to it, which makes it less edgy but really smooth and fun to sing and dance to.
“Power Trip” – He ended with this song, which made me super happy. It finished the night with a very happy feeling, and also reminded me of that one crush I had on that one boy that I scared away with my creepy self. *tears*
“The Band” – He also introduced his band at the end by letting them each do a minute-long solo, which I thought was sweet. Most artists just mention that they have a live band, but to show off each and every person on stage was great, especially since they were all so talented!
The only complaint?
There was one part of the concert where he stopped and called someone out in the crowd. He called some random person he supposedly ran into at the airport and called her a b***h. He then went off onto a whole tangent about stereotypes of people. Just because he dressed a certain way or looked a certain way did not give her the right to stereotype him. At this point, I was thoroughly confused. I wasn’t sure if this was part of the act, but if it was, it did have a good message about not automatically associating a person with certain things just because of their race. However, if it wasn’t part of the act, I thought it was a little unprofessional to call out a fan who did indeed pay their way to a show to support the artist. I never really got an answer, and forgave him a little bit for it when he said “Just because I wear Jordans don’t mean I like basketball. I like soccer!” (or something along these lines). I overlooked this part because all in all, his stage presence (so much swagger, actually talked/conversed with the audience), voice (just as great as it is on the album), and energy made it an incredible concert.
– Bring a friend.
– Familiarize yourself with the music.
– Sing along to the songs you know.
– Stand when the artist comes out.
– Bring a jacket.
– Underestimate the artist’s intelligence. J.Cole graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University.
– Ruin your night by going hard on those illegal substances. It’s a concert: you want to remember what you experienced!
– Shout random things when the artist is talking