Culture / Entertainment

J. Cole Shows Knockout Star Power at JMBLYA, While Migos Fizzles

Inside Hip-Hop’s Craziest Three-Day Romp

BY // 05.08.18
photography Courtesy of JMBLYA

Some artists just suck in concert.

I love Migos! I listen to them more than regularly; their music is ubiquitous. I’ve heard Bad & Boujee so many times, yet it never fails to get me going. I love the delightfully weird noises they make. I love their attitude. I love the Cardi B and Offset love story! They’re not great musicians, but they’re great for what they are – purveyors of culture, no pun intended.

So, I was neither surprised nor disappointed when I saw the famous trio perform a truly bad set last Friday at JMBLYA (it was fun anyway) at Fair Park.

The surprise of the three-day, three-city music festival was the act that followed Migos. I knew J. Cole was good, good enough to be the headliner at JMBLYA, one of Texas’ biggest hip-hop festivals. I knew he was very talented — in the same league as Kendrick and Kanye.

But I didn’t expect to be blown away by his live performance, and I was.

There was a moment during Migos’ lengthy delay when rumors swirled that Cole would take the stage early to fill in for the hip-hop group. I’m glad that didn’t happen, because it would’ve been embarrassing for any of the supporting artists at JMBLYA to follow his powerful performance.

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That isn’t to say that J. Cole was the only highlight of the massive music event. JMBLYA, which began in Dallas on Friday, stopped in Austin on Saturday, and finished in Houston on Sunday, brought out plenty of hot talent from the world of hip-hop.

The Fair Park afternoon kicked off with sets from emerging artists like 18-year-old Trippie Redd, and Dallas’ own Tay Money. Things picked up with energetic performances from Playboi Carti, T.I. and Young Thug (on a side note, Young Thug looked so fresh — see the photo gallery above this story for proof).

But, listen, I’m going to be real with you. This kind of massive concert is kind of like Migos’ music: It’s fun, it’s invigorating, and it’s largely without substance. Until it suddenly proves itself to be worthwhile.

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