Emcee, producer, Fayetteville native, Roc Nation signee and, of course, longtime DJBooth favorite J. Cole performed at Madison Square Garden last night to a sold out crowd. I'm sorry, that last sentence didn't convey the importance of what happened. J. COLE SOLD OUT MSG.
This is big news, a true measure of success for any artist. A lot of people have had hit singles, a lot of people have had number one albums, but only a very select few artists can sell out MSG. As you can see from the video below, it was a special moment, not only for Cole himself but for supporters of hip-hop, great music and the artists that seek to achieve the highest possible quality without sacrificing their artistic integrity.
In retrosepct the critical and commercial success of
2014 Forest Hills Drive
, despite very limited radio play, has marked a turning point in Cole's career from popular rapper to true toward superstardom, and selling out a MSG tour stop is a powerful affirmation that he's arrived. As Billy Joel once said, "
Madison Square Garden is the center of the universe as far as I'm concerned. It has the best acoustics, the best audiences, the best reputation, and the best history of great artists who have played there.
" The sell-out meant that 20,000 people were on hand to hear Cole run through his critically acclaimed third album last night, enough to have him stop momentarily to soak it all in.
? It means that J. Cole has a huge fanbase who is clearly supportive and passionate. A couple years ago, the debate was whether he would ever make the jump to that next level. How fitting then that he makes the jump off of the power of his least commercial-sounding album, off of a surprise release with practically no promotion, marketing or singles. An album that ditched high-profile guest features and pop-friendly efforts in favor of simplistic, heartfelt music; J. Cole at his best. Regardless of whatever happens in the future, no one can take away a MSG sell-out.