The new, improved Perry's Stage at Lolla offers a less packed, less circular and also less intense experience than in previous years. For J. Cole's show, at least, there was very little jockeying for space, which made for a somewhat subdued atmosphere at first. But there was some definite energy in the air once the North Carolina-bred rapper (and Jay-Z's Roc Nation signee) hit the stage.
While the set did at times threaten to sink into hip-hop cliche, J. Cole did overall show the raw skills that caused Jigga to back him. Once the beat dropped on "Dollar and a Dream 2" and "Who Dat," it was plain to see that "A Star Is Born" (the "Blueprint 3" track on which he guested) was more than just a boast -- it was a promise.