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J. Cole, Chris Brown each announce 2017 Xcel Center dates

J. Cole topped off the lineup at the Soundset festival in 2015. / Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

J. Cole topped off the lineup at the Soundset festival in 2015. / Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

Chart-topping rap star J. Cole and comeback-baiting R&B singer Chris Brown each announced upcoming Xcel Energy Concerts on Tuesday, giving fans till next week to save up their ticket money or choose between them.

Brown’s concert is coming up very quickly, April 9, so he will have to come up with a better excuse than “scheduling conflict” should he cancel the show like he did his last date in town at Target Center in 2015. To help with ticket sales this time, he is bringing mid-‘00s rap hitmakers 50 Cent and Fabolous for opening acts, along with O.T. Genasis, Kap G. Tickets go on sale Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the arena box office for $30-$200.

Still best-known as the guy who assaulted his former girlfriend Rihanna -- and accused of abusing another woman more recently -- Brown has managed to rack up several modest hits in recent years, including “Ayo,” “Back to Sleep” and “Party.” He has also been a popular choice for a “featured artist” guesting on hits by DJ Khaled (“Do You Mind”), Nicki Minaj (“Only”) and Pitbull (“Fun”).

J. Cole has been steadily working his way up the local concert ladder from Myth nightclub in 2013 to the Soundset festival in 2015 to his first arena headlining date at the X on July 21. His tickets go on sale Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. for $30-$110. The slow-stewing North Carolina rapper has not yet announced opening acts for his 57-city 4 Your Eyez Only Tour. Last year’s album of the same name holds the distinction of landing all 10 of its tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, thanks in large part to streaming.

Grammy breakout Chance the Rapper taking a chance on Xcel Center May 12

Chance the Rapper was the big name at last summer's Rock the Garden concert. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Chance the Rapper was the big name at last summer's Rock the Garden concert. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Fresh off a holy-spirited performance at the Grammy Awards that earned him even more raves, Chicago’s buoyant hip-hop star Chance the Rapper will hit Xcel Energy Center on May 12 as part of his first arena-headlining tour. Tickets go on sale today at 6 p.m. via Ticketmaster and the arena box office for $39.50-$79.50.

The sudden on-sale time is yet another unconventional move in Chance’s chance-taking career. On Sunday, his 2016 album, “Coloring Book,” became the first record to win a Grammy Award that was only available digitally (as in: no physical copies were sold in stores). It won him trophies for best rap album, best new artist and best rap performance (the latter for the song “No Problem”).

Since his headlining debut at First Avenue in 2013, the now-23-year-old rapper has consistently taken bigger steps in the Twin Cities each year, going from a mid-afternoon set at the Soundset festival in 2014 to a Myth nightclub show in 2015 to a well-received performance at last summer’s Rock the Garden concert -- where it was pretty clear from the audience’s response he was the day’s top draw. A month after his Xcel Center gig, he will serve as one of the headliners at Justin “Bon Iver” Vernon’s Eaux Claires festival in Eau Claire, Wis.

Here’s a taste of that transcendent performance Chance gave at the Grammys on Sunday. In the old days, they called this gospel music, but "hip-hop" sells more records.

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