Tag: Dreamville

Revenge of the Dreamers

Here’s my coverage of Dreamville Festival 2019 originally published in The Hilltop

Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, NC welcomed 40,000 music lovers on Saturday, April 6 for the first-ever Dreamville Festival. The sold-out festival, which was originally scheduled for September 2018 but postponed due to Hurricane Florence, featured J. Cole’s entire Dreamville record label as well as Rapsody, Teyana Taylor, Nelly, Big Sean, 21 Savage and SZA with Cole as the headliner.

Cole’s love for his hometown of Fayetteville and the state of North Carolina is a common theme throughout his music. The day-long festival was an ode to the state filled with moments of familiarity for North Carolinians such as myself, including being shuttled to the festival on school buses through the campus of local historically Black university Shaw University and the on-site food trucks serving Southern cuisine reminiscent of Raleigh’s downtown food truck rodeos.

“The festival offers an opportunity for J. Cole to give back to his home state that has helped shape the artist he has become with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art,” states the Dreamville Festival website.

While the Carolina theme was obviously prevalent, Cole fans from all over were able to appreciate the day which was three years in the making logistically, but seemingly a lifetime in the making for Cole.

“Dreamville Fest was so special to me as a fan, just witnessing Cole be able to bring his dreams to fruition, not only for himself but for his team and his community,” said junior psychology and math double major Stacia King. “Everything was so purposeful, from the shuttle bus routes to the Black food vendors. He’s really making his state proud.”

One of the highlights of the festival was the pause Cole took when he first came to the stage, seemingly in awe at the crowd of fans filling the 308-acre park in support of his dream, Dreamville. Other highlights included numerous dedications to the late Nipsey Hussle throughout the day as artists Teyana Taylor, Big Sean and Cole took time out of their sets to remember the rapper and activist as well as a surprise performance by Meek Mill.

“Dreamville Fest was crazy, man. The vibe, the people, everything. Every artist did their thing and the energy was incredible,” said junior marketing major Jalen Rose. “I’ve been listening to Cole for at least the past decade so to hear the songs live was definitely an experience to remember.”

The festival was also thought to be a success by city officials who considered Dreamville a chance to test Raleigh’s capacity for such a large-scale event.

“The city definitely had a great experience with Dreamville,” said Joseph Voska, program supervisor for Dix Park at a Monday afternoon press conference. “We wanted a test to see what this area of Raleigh, what Dix Park, with downtown Raleigh — how would it all come together? As future opportunities come up for the city of Raleigh, how did we handle it? And what we’ve seen so far, we handled it pretty well.”

Following the festival the city cited no major medical or safety issues and traffic within their expectations, creating a promising outlook for Dreamville Festival 2020 as it was announced at the festival that this will become an annual event.

“If you didn’t go this year, make sure you go next year,” said senior legal communications major Brittany Read.

In Defense of J. Cole Fans

As you probably know by now, J. Cole dropped an album entitled “KOD” on April 20, 2018, and if you know me then you know that there are few things that I get more excited about than a J. Cole album. My love for Cole began when I was in the seventh grade and now I’m in college, so it goes without saying that my feelings for the Fayetteville rapper are pretty serious.

As I listened to “KOD” for the first time last Friday “lost in a cloud of marijuana, a young Carolina nigga,” just as Cole described himself, I found myself thinking about how his music had grown with me. The parallels in subject matter and mindset between my life and whatever music he released at the time have been consistent for such a long and significant time in my life. From 12 to 20, a period in life where you really mold who you’re going to be, I was able to evolve alongside my favorite rapper.

Feeling that kind of connection to your favorite artist is honestly an amazing feeling that I’ve heard few others say they’ve experienced. However, even when you don’t consider the personal connection, I’d argue that it’s still understandable why Cole fans are so serious about his work.

Even many who aren’t fans of his regularly admit that the man is talented. His way of manipulating the English language to write stories you can’t help but relate to, even if you’ve never been through something similar personally, is something worth applauding. The emphasis he places on the lyrics, as well as production, create an entire experience that other artists simply aren’t creating.

This is why in my younger years I genuinely believed that anyone who didn’t enjoy listening to Cole simply wasn’t intelligent enough to do so. Obviously, I and other fans have matured to understand that taste in music and intelligence don’t necessarily coincide, which is why many of us retired the borderline religious tweets, but let’s stop pretending that the logic behind proclamations with that sentiment is absolutely absurd.

At this point, even most Cole fans say such things jokingly anyway because we’re able to acknowledge that we sounded somewhat silly. However, if you don’t get the joke, maybe we were right and you really are simply too dense to get it. In any case, any musician who can grow with me as a person, consistently employ an artistic use of words and genuinely stand for the people the way that J. Cole does deserve respect. If we as fans didn’t get a little passionate in discussions from time to time we’d honestly be being disrespectful.

 

Be the zeitgeist.