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Screenshot, Twitter, Vivint Arena
Rapper J. Cole shares wisdom with Utah fans during KOD Tour.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rapper J. Cole spent much of his time Saturday night discussing mental health issues and how people need to confront their inner pain.

Cole, who performed at the Vivint Arena Saturday night for his KOD Tour, said people spend too much time avoiding their issues and don’t take the time to combat mental health until it’s too late.

“This is the thing, everyone in this room … wherever you come from … (has) got something in common,” he told a packed house at the Vivint Arena. “Everyone experiences pain, some sort of pain. It has to happen because you’re a human being. If everybody is going to experience pain throughout their life, why do I feel like nobody can show us how to deal with it.”

Screenshot, Twitter, Vivint Arena
Rapper J. Cole shares wisdom with Utah fans during KOD Tour.

Cole said this begins when we're young.

“Think about it. As soon as you see a little baby crying, what’s the first thing we do? ‘No, no, sh, sh, stop.’ We do that with each other, too," he said.

“And what happens over time is all this … accumulates and bottles up,” he said, adding that hanging on to your problems without dealing with them will bottle up and weigh on your mind.

Screenshot, Twitter, Vivint Arena
Rapper J. Cole shares wisdom with Utah fans during KOD Tour.

“People die without ever having to face (their problems),” he said. “Me, myself, I’m not trying to wait till I die to handle my stuff. I know if I don’t handle it, it will keep putting me off track.”

Cole’s discussion fits with the theme of his 2018 album “KOD,” which focuses on the problems created by drugs and overdosing. The “KOD” initials actually have three meanings, according to Cole: Kids on Drugs, King Overdosed and Kill Our Demons

“The whole album is about one thing — pain,” he said. “One thing I’m learning as I’m becoming older and more of a man I’m trying to be, I’m seeing for myself, at least, what makes us healthy — and when I say ‘healthy,’ I’m not talking physically, I’m talking mentally and spiritually — what makes us healthy is our ability to deal with pain and to process it.”

Cole was one of the first celebrities to respond to the death of rapper Mac Miller, who died Friday after he overdosed on drugs.

Cole encouraged people to reach out to him and others if they are worried about their mental health.

“This is a message for anybody in this game that’s going through something,” he tweeted. “If you don’t feel right, if you feel you have a substance problem, if you need (an) ear to vent to. If you uncomfortable talking to people around you. Please reach out to me.”

Other notable moments from the show:

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  • Cole turned political by including images of Donald Trump during one of his songs. He also talked about taxes and how it’s unfair that people pay taxes but don’t know where the money goes. This is the theme of his song “BRACKETS” from the KOD album.
  • Earlier in the night, opening act Jaden Smith mentioned that his family — yes, the legendary actor Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith — visit Utah every year. “My family comes here every year for Christmas,” he said, hyping up the crowd.
  • Smith appeared really early at the concert too. During Earth Gang’s opening act, he danced his way to the front row of the crowd, igniting interest from nearby onlookers.