Last night, J. Cole and the Dreamville family took control of the Highline Ballroom in New York City for the latest stop on his Dollar & A Dream tour. With kids waiting in line since 11AM for the 7PM show, the place was beyond packed and the energy level was out of control. Newcomers Bas and Coss warmed up the crowd before Jermaine exploded onto the stage in honor of the 5-year anniversary of The Warm Up. Throughout his set, Cole performed the majority of the tape with just as much hunger as when it first dropped. VIBE was on hand to capture the footage.

Read a full recap and watch the videos below…

People. All you could see were people, lined up for blocks down 16th street in Chelsea and wrapping around the corner. These people, ranging from ages as young as 15 and as old as a rather young-looking 42-year-old woman, were waiting for the first of two performances from Dreamville leader J.Cole on his “Dollar and a Dream” tour. The brave supporters survived the blazing sun and a torrential downpour that could only strike New York City in the summertime, all for the chance to see their favorite rapper alongside several of his friends of the Dreamville imprint. A couple hundred packed, yes, PACKED, the Highline Ballroom, while the lines still wound around corners and blocks, similar to a maze that wouldn’t end. Pretty amazing for a show that was announced mere hours before on Twitter.

After witnessing some miscommunications and a standoff between venue staff and several media attendees, I found myself atop the balcony just as Queens native Bas took to the stage to perform songs from both “Revenge Of The Dreamers” and his latest project, “Last Winter.” The latter body of work strikes a particular note with me, as I had a chance to hear it in studio as they finished it and were awaiting final verses and sample clearances. So to hear the entire venue screaming the lyrics to “Fiji Water In My Iron” and “It’s Lit”(which was particularly entertaining as Bas pulled a fan out of the crowd to perform J.Cole’s verse and to everyone’s surprise, the kid killed it), it was a very cool feeling. After allowing new signee Cozz to hit the stage to perform his new material in front of a NY crowd for the first time, Bas finished his set in high form with a freestyle over Drake’s “We Made It.” Bas thanked the crowd for their good energy, prepped them for what was coming and joined his fellow Dreamvillians atop the Balcony.

The premise of the “Dollar And A Dream” tour is simple in nature: give the fans something to look forward to by announcing the show’s location the day of, and giving the fans what they want by giving a great show that only costs a single US dollar. Jermaine Cole did all that and more. Playing songs strictly off of his “The Warm Up” project, Cole kept the crowd rocking with a 30-minute long performance that brought back memories of his earlier shows. The crowd knew every single word, and at the show’s conclusion, two things were made clear: an artist should never forget where they came from and what made them, and that even in today’s digital world, the fans are what matters. Who says a dollar can’t buy anything nowadays? — Cory Townes

Cory Townes is born and raised from Southwest Philadelphia, PA. When he’s not cheering for his Philly sports teams and laughing at the misfortunes of the New York Knicks, he’s a contributing writer for Vibe, theSTASHED, The Grio, and more. Talk to him nice, or don’t talk to him at all, but if you’re looking for conversations about music, culture and the like, reach him on Twitter. His name is his name: @CoryTownes.

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