- JCole_MSG_06Photo: Lauren Gesswein
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As J. Cole hit the Theater at Madison Square Garden last night to ring in his 29th birthday with a packed house of fans, a few unexpected special guests came through making the occasion all the more special for the Roc Nation signee. Gifted with Jay Z’s original Roc-A-Fella chain and sipping on a drank or two, it was readily apparent that J. Cole was enjoying himself just as much as the fans at yesterday’s show, making his performance all the more enjoyable.
Opening the show with the acclaimed cut “Trouble,” Cole certainly decorated the night with a mischievous tone from the start, true to that of a Born Sinner. Also performing “Work Out,” “Nobody’s Perfect,” and “She Knows,” the Roc Nation MC didn’t miss a beat and the addition of the live band made the sound pitch perfect.
During the second half of the show, J. Cole had two big surprises that no one saw coming. First joined by Kendrick Lamar for “Forbidden Fruit”—during which Cole talked about outselling Kanye after their much-publicized album release showdown this summer—and “Backseat Freestyle,” then later accompanied by Jay Z for “Public Service Announcement” and “FuckwithmeyouknowIgotit” [Ed. Note: Photographers were not allowed to shoot past the first three songs], Cole brought two of the biggest names from both coasts onto one stage to help make the night extra special. Both guests also had some heartfelt words for the birthday boy, with Kendrick praising Cole’s genuine spirit and Jay Z gifting him with his Roc-A-Fella chain.
As the show wrapped up, J. Cole joked that he couldn’t top what Jay Z had just displayed, before ending with the Grammy-nominated cut that fans had all been waiting for, “Power Trip.”
Check our photos above, and videos of Kendrick and Jay below.