Concert preview: J. Cole


Kyle Atkinson

For any hip hop fan that has lived in Salt Lake City for a couple years, it becomes increasingly obvious that we aren’t exactly a hot spot for hip hop artists to perform in. On a yearly basis we get one or maybe two or three big shows if we’re lucky. That means we have a shortage of genuine rap superstars rolling through our town when they’re on the road.  I’m not saying Salt Lake City doesn’t have a great local music scene or plenty of smaller artists that come to perform here (because we do have quite a bit of both), I’m saying that the amount of huge artists that tour in our city is unfortunately very low.

Once we do get those huge hip hop tour announcements, it feels like Christmas for fans. Our first instance of a big name announcing a show here this year happened in May, when J. Cole announced his KOD (Kids On Drugs/Kill Our Demons/King Overdosed) Tour. This concert is going to be one for the books, especially because it’s Cole’s first visit to Salt Lake City since the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour a couple years back. But before we get to the main event, let’s go over the opening acts and other important information.

Important info

This concert takes place on Saturday September 8th, 2018 at 7:30pm. The concert takes place in downtown Salt Lake City, at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The address for the arena is 301 S Temple. I’d suggest arriving early for this show if you want a decent parking spot, because parking is a pain around the arena.

Another good thing to remember for this show is that because it’s J. Cole, one of the top most popular acts right now in the hip hop world, you shouldn’t wait any longer to get your tickets to see him. They will sell at a rapid pace in the days leading up to the show, so don’t sleep on it.  

Opening acts

One of the most special things about this tour is the variety and quality that J. Cole is bringing with him in terms of the opening acts. These acts include EarthGang, Jaden Smith, and Young Thug. If you are unfamiliar with these artists, check out the section below for some info on them and a couple of their tracks to check out before the show.


These guys are the least well-known of the artists that will be performing at the show, but by no means does that mean that they aren’t a quality hip hop group. This group has been around for about 10 years now, but gained a lot of notoriety by being signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label in 2017. Here’s a few of their tracks to check out, and if you like what you hear, give them a follow on their social media accounts. Be on the lookout for their performance on the Colors YouTube channel on September 4th as well!

“Missed Calls” – EarthGang

“Meditate” – EarthGang

Jaden Smith

If you don’t know who Jaden Smith is, you might be living under a rock. He’s the son of the famous actor Will Smith, but that isn’t all he’s known for. Smith has been making music since 2010 and has steadily gained a following for it. He released numerous mixtapes before finally unleashing his debut album SYRE in November of 2017. The album is full of good tracks, here are some to check out before you see Jaden Smith perform.

“Breakfast” – Jaden Smith ft. ASAP Rocky

“Icon” – Jaden Smith

Young Thug

Last but not least on our list of openers is Atlanta’s own Young Thug. He is a mainstay in the trap scene, and is known for being ambitious with his beat selection. In recent years he’s released projects such as Jeffery, Beautiful Thugger Girls, and most recently Slime Language. He’s also known for his publicity stunts that generate hype for his projects. If you somehow haven’t listened to any Young Thug tracks before, here are a few that will possibly be performed during his set. If you like what you hear from these tracks, I urge you listen to the masterpiece that is Beautiful Thugger Girls before you see him in concert.  

“Best Friend” – Young Thug

“Relationship” – Young Thug ft. Future

Main act

After all of the opening acts finish their sets, it’ll finally be J. Cole’s moment. Seeing as it is the KOD Tour, most of the tracks that we will probably hear him perform will be from that album. On the off chance that you haven’t listened to that album yet, listen to it immediately. If you’ve heard it, I encourage you to re-listen before you head to the show. It’s a great album and it’ll be even better live.

Even though this is the KOD Tour, we will most definitely hear some of Cole’s older tracks such as “Fire Squad”, “Work Out”, “No Role Modelz”, “Deja Vu”, and many others.

This show is shaping up to be really special, so if you’re a J. Cole fan and don’t have a ticket yet, do everything you can to get one. You’re not gonna want to miss this one.  

Image courtesy of  _cbudd/