Concert Review: 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour
YG, Jeremih, Big Sean, and J. Cole. Four of the most prominent names in rap all on one stage, playing to a sold out amphitheater and a packed lawn section. And it was just as legendary as you would imagine.
Naturally, when I first heard the concert announcement, I was among the first to reserve tickets for my brother, three close friends, and myself. We piled into my car three and a half hours before the concert started to assure that we got the best lawn seats possible. Let’s be real, the lawn section is where the party is. From the second the doors opened and everyone sat down, tapes were already playing and a Omen, a Dreamville artist, came out to get the crowd going, featuring tracks from his new record Elephant Eyes.
Shortly after, YG came out with a short set of his hit songs ranging between new and old. His new song Twist My Fingaz and older hit My N****s were the highlights of his set.
Next up was Jeremih, who also played an abbreviated set of his most popular. All The Time, Birthday Sex, Don’t Tell ‘Em, and Somebody were amongst the favorites played. Dressed in red and backed by four beautiful backup dancers, Jeremih set the mood for the rest of the concert: sexy, smooth, and wild.
Big Sean came out of an elaborate, neon stage set up – a bar sign reading Paradise Liquor sat behind him while huge light up frames flanked him on either side. Significantly longer than both YG’s and Jeremih’s sets, B. I. G. played full versions of songs like Blessings, Clique, A.S.S., Beware, Mercy, Don’t Like, and the emotional One Man Can Change the World. The aforementioned mood of the concert was briefly halted as Big Sean spoke of his grandmother and how she influenced him and continues to influence him every day of his life. It was an amazingly touching moment as the crowd of thousands fell silent, lighters and phones in the air. This sentimental and tender moment didn’t last long, as B. I. G. closed with IDFWU and another new song from his album, Dark Sky Paradise.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for…and we waited almost an hour for him to appear. Finally, at 9:30, the curtains dropped and J. Cole appeared sitting on top of a roof on stage. He played Intro and January 28th before asking the crowd if it was okay if he just played all of 2014 Forest Hills Drive straight through. Naturally, the crowd went absolutely wild – myself included. Amidst the clouding haze of smoke from multiple drugs, the sweet smell of stale alcohol, and the rush of mixed adrenaline from thousands of people, we all screamed Wet Dreamz back at J. Cole with just as much passion as he had. Some of his most prominent songs? Obviously Wet Dreamz, A Tale of 2 Citiez, G.O.M.D., No Role Modelz, and Apparently. The concert was utterly outrageous. J. Cole sounded flawless, even when he chose to pause his performance every so often to tell random anecdotes and strange stories. The most peculiar was before St. Tropez, when he took twenty minutes to give the crowd clues about a nameless celebrity with butt implants who posted a near-naked selfie with a Buddha quote beneath it. However, the confusion was quickly forgotten once the beats of St. Tropez began.
The “2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour” was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to – the talent was phenomenal, the crowd was one-loving and lively, and the setting was perfect, as the sun set over New Jersey hills. I can’t wait for J. Cole to pass around again, and I would highly recommend catching any one of the artists who performed.
I would like to take a moment to recognize the victims of a shooting after the concert in the surrounding parking lot. Within minutes after the concert ended, two people were shot by an unknown gunman who still remains at large. One of the victims had passed by the time authorities arrived. My friends and I had gotten back to my car just a mere ten minutes before the shooting, and I can’t shake the feeling that either the gunman or the victims were walking in the same crowd as us as we headed back to our cars. My condolences go out to the victims and their families.