On July 5th, J. Cole and his Dreamville label released their highly anticipated compilation album, ‘Revenge of the Dreamers 3’. This is the labels third studio release, following 2015’s ‘Revenge of the Dreamers 2’, and the Dreamville team has seen a LOT of changes since then.
They’ve only added to their talented roster, bringing on acts like J.I.D, EarthGang, and Ari Lennox alongside Bas, Cozz, Omen, and of course, J. Cole. Dreamville’s become a force in the music world, and the label has definitely earned the newfound notoriety. From hit records to critically acclaimed albums, to sold-out, tours across the world, the mainstream media was anxious to see what was next.
In early January, invitations from the Dreamville team were sent out to some of today’s hottest artists to come to Atlanta’s Tree Sound Studios & participate in the recording of their new album. They had ten days to collaborate and create, with specific artists in mind to come in, as well as some surprise guests. Immediately, invitations started popping up all over social media, and everyone was tuning in to see who would be making an appearance on the album. Over a hundred artists flocked to Tree Sound and contributed to this project, along with notable celebrities who dropped in to witness the 10-day studio sessions.
Now I’m not going to give y’all my full take on the album, because as much as I love and continue to listen to this album, it may not be your speed or your type of music. BUT I do wanna take this time to really talk about the bigger picture. In the times we live in today, you don’t really see things like this happening, at least not often or as public. I still remember the ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ sessions in Honolulu and the feeling it gave me to see that many artists working to create what I believe is to be one of the best hip hop albums of the decade. And by no means am I calling ROTD3 a classic, but there’s something about the record that brings this… epicness to the music scene.
Posse Cuts aren’t a once in a lifetime thing, in fact, we’ve gotten some pretty good group/collab albums this year. What sets the Dreamville album apart though is how different each artist is in their own right, and how they bring those unique features to the forefront of this album. The intro, ‘Under The Sun’ sees Cole in tandem with Lute, a newer Dreamville signee and North Carolina’s DaBaby, and the way they flow into each verse on the song is truly something to see. There’s never a point where I thought anybody was “out rapping” anybody else, you could hear the chemistry, the desire to put their best foot forward and deliver stellar bars.
Or on songs like ‘Costa Rica’, or ‘1993’, where you see a culmination of different rappers from different ends of the hip hop spectrum coming together & and create such organic chemistry. It’s the right amount of conscious with the right amount of fun, the right amount of soul with the right amount of street. And it honestly just makes me excited to be reminded that there are grey areas in music, a grey area where a collection of different sounds can come together and produce a quality body of work.
ROTD3 debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with 4 singles sitting simultaneously in the chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. Not only is this another huge accomplishment for Cole, but it also gave up and comers like Buddy, Smino, Lute, Mez and a slew of others their first number 1 record. And to me, that’s one of the biggest reasons this album is so special; giving artists who may not the biggest audience or the most mainstream appeal a chance to showcase their talents on a stage that some may not have had the chance to be on. Seeing this type of comradery in the rap, seeing a record bold enough to take on a record-setting 65 features take the number 1 spot & STAY there is history in the making and nothing less.
You can stream ‘Revenge of The Dreamers 3’ on all platforms, and for a more in-depth look into the creation the album, check out the ‘REVENGE’ documentary by Dreamville on YouTube.