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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

J Cole wins over the crowd at the Abu Dhabi F1

The 32-year-old was in fierce form when he took to the stage

J Cole , American hip hop recording artist and record producer performing at the Du Arena in Abu Dhabi.  Pawan Singh / The National
J Cole , American hip hop recording artist and record producer performing at the Du Arena in Abu Dhabi. Pawan Singh / The National

The Abu Dhabi F1 has always been fond of J Cole.

The US rapper has performed twice as part of the currently suspended Beats on The Beach music festival on the Abu Dhabi Corninche over the last six years.

He also answered the call to be Kendrick Lamar’ replacement when the hip-hop star of the moment pulled out of tonight's after-race day concert two weeks ago.

Perhaps sensing some of the lingering disappointment at Lamar’s absence, and not to mention Friday’s Du Arena being his biggest UAE show yet, the 32-year-old was in fierce form when taking the stage just after 9.30.

It also helped that Cole returns to Abu Dhabi on these back of last year’s career best album, 4 Your Eyez Only.

Dressed in a white Bob Marley shirt and tracksuit pants, Cole kicked off his set with the brooding For Whom The Bell Tolls which had him swiftly moving from a smooth croon to forceful rapping.

Next up was Immortal, where Cole looks back at his turbulent childhood over scuddering bass heavy beat.

By the time the soothing Vile Mentality came along, with its mix of spoken word and soulful vocals, the crowd were with him all the way.

The Abu Dhabi Formula One After-Race concert series continues with Mumford and Sons and Pink from November 25 and 26 at the Du Arena, Yas Island. Doors are open from 6pm.

Access to the shows is only available for those purchasing tickets for the corresponding race day.

Tickets are available online at www.yasmarinacircuit.com, through the Yas Marina Circuit Call Centre (800 927) or +971 (0) 2 659 9800.