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j. cole Dreamville Festival
j. cole Dreamville Festival
Named after his J. Cole's record label, the Dreamville Festival was launched in 2019 to draw attention to comfortability and contentment of home. Photo Credit: Michael Jones for Okayplayer

The Second Dreamville Fest is Proof J. Cole's Festival is Here to Stay

The second Dreamville Festival featured performances from Ari Lennox, Lil Baby, Wale, Rico Nasty, Ja Rule and Ashanti, and, of course, J. Cole himself.

The Dreamville Festival in Raleigh, NC, is a manifestation of J. Cole. Named after his star-studded record label, the festival was launched in 2019 to draw attention to comfortability and contentment of home. After a couple of COVID-19-related delays, the second Dreamville Festival went down over the weekend. 

The festival was a two-day party making sure you left the park with more than your required steps for the day. There were two stages to hold the star power, alternating in times to give the 50,000 attendees time to walk across Dorothea Dix Park. Day one featured artists such as Mikhala Jené, Lute, Devon, Morray, Moneybagg Yo and ended with a performance from Lil Baby.

Lil Baby Dreamville Festival Lil Baby closed out day one of the Dreamville Festival. Photo Credit: Michael Jones for Okayplayer

On Sunday night, the show went to another level. Fans were able to witness history with DJ Drama rocking the stage with artists who catapulted his career. Drama’s highlight reel before the show, featuring highs like working with Tyler, the Creator on the Grammy award-winningCALL ME IF YOU GET LOST to lows like his offices being raided by the FBI in 2007. Jeezy, T.I. and Lil’ Wayne — who all performed — thanked Drama for the opportunity of placing them on his records, each stating that without him, they wouldn’t be where they are. The trio rapped songs from Trap or Die, Dedication, and Urban Legend.

Ja Rule and Ashanti Dreamville Festival Ja Rule and Ashanti performed 2000s classics at 2022 Dreamville Festival. Photo Credit: Michael Jones for Okayplayer

The Fayetteville, NC raised J. Cole commanded the stage Sunday night frequently showing his gratitude for his fans. He recalled his humble beginnings of passing out mixtapes at North Carolina A&T University hoping for the opportunity to be where he is now. He called for the stage lights to go dark to make sure he saw the depth of the crowd relished in the moment.

“They said I would never have a hit. Now I got a catalogue.” 

The night's peak came when Cole performed one of his most impactful songs from his 2014 album, Forest Hills Drive, “Love Yourz.” It was one of the many moments Cole and his fans got incredibly emotional, 

“Damn I miss doing that song. It’s been a long time.”

Cole wrapped up the night with “No Role Modelz” and signing fan t-shirts as fireworks colored the sky.


Quierra Luck is a sports writer based in North Carolina. You can follow her @Quierra_Luck

Michael Jones is a photographer based in North Carolina.