J. Cole paid tribute to his rap elders on Thursday (June 9), during his performance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival -- a four-day, multi-stage event being held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn.

The Roc Nation signee took the stage on the festival's first day, shedding his orange button down and sweating it out in a white T-shirt. Before he moved into his performance, Cole addressed the audience and set the tone for what was to come. "They've got all these incredible rock bands out here that we respect and we love," he continued, "They get to cover they favorite artist's songs; why the f--- can't we do that?" J. Cole's band then started up the sounds of Tupac's famed track, 'I Ain't Mad At Cha,' originally released in 1995, on the West Coast rhymer's fourth album, 'All Eyez On Me.'

Kicking a beach ball into the crowd during his set, the North Carolina native urged fans to sing the chorus loud. "Bonnaroo, ya'll make some noise for motherf---ing Tupac Shaker," J. Cole said at the song's finish.

He also touched on the spirit of the late Notorious B.I.G. at Bonnaroo, playing 'Higher,' a track off his 'Friday Night Lights' mixtape. The song features the Isley Brothers' 'Between the Sheets,' which Biggie sampled on his classic 1994 hit 'Big Poppa.'

Watch J. Cole Perform 'Higher'

Watch J. Cole Perform Tupac's 'I Ain't Mad At Cha'

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