Album Review: Dreamville - Revenge Of The Dreamers 3
Revenge of the Dreamers is what a decade of foundation building looks, feels, and sounds like. J Cole & Dreamville executive, Ibrahim, have been formulating this concept, this dream, to build a powerhouse record label and it may have took some time for the stars to align but let me say, the Avengers have motherfucking assembled.
Shortly after hearing the hype about the Dreamville recording sessions I scoured the internet for snippets and was blown away by the collection of talent which was invited down to Atlanta Willy Wonka esque, golden ticket digitally in hand. Artist from almost every sub-genre of hip-hop and R&B were invited to come out and participate in the curation of the Dreamville collaborative. Artist that derive from the slime trap sound of the south like Reese La Flare and Young Nudy, to eclectic voices such as Baby Rose & Mereba, artist who haven't rose to prominence yet but whose talent shined through the minute and fifteen second snippets I found on Instagram and Youtube.
My expectation for this project festered month to month, to the point I was growing inpatient. Now that it has arrived I can say it was well worth the wait. Songs like 1993 showcase not only the creativity but the synergy that was present at the Dreamville sessions. The song is recorded during a smoke session when everyone's verse is cut short because they're holding the blunt too long (as well as the mic.) This is what makes ROTD3 such a great album--you can feel the genuineness in each song. One of my personal favourites off the cut is Lambo Truck, which weaves an idea of TDE artist: robbing J Cole. (peep Cole's reaction to hearing the track for the first time.)
Not only did everyone show up with the intent to artistically put their best foot forward, but they were all having a good ass time. Everything about this project felt organic and free-flowing, and bringing this many artist and producers together was certainly a risk. Egos could've gotten in the way; the nostalgia of being a part of something so epic could've left some creatively anxious and stifled, but none of that is apparent. Every artist that got a feature on this album went off, no cap!
Only Cole, the uber introspective and humble legend that he is could've pulled something off like this, and the project speaks volumes to his character and overall revolutionary spirit. A project like Dreamers is just what the Doc order to put the lesser known artist on Dreamville's roster in the lime-light. Artist like Lute, Omen & Cozz took full advantage of the spotlight with lines like: "Wish a Nigga would like Liam Neeson." (Lute) & "We can turn this thing into a fable, and take what I can(Kane) if I'm able." (Cozz) shows just how much ink is flowing through the pens of Dreamville's artists.
The producers laid it out there as well, no punches were held, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the people invited out to Atlanta. The beats on ROTD3 are fresh, murky, and down right fire. The engineers also need some love for polishing the many skits and outtakes that made this album so much fun.
And we all paid attention to how they had Kendrick on the hook of Under the Sun.
I understand why Cole didn't want too many high profile artist on the project, this album was to showcase the Dreamville talent as well as the young talent coming up in the music industry. They could've put the songs that featured Wale and Big Krit and instantly created a bigger buzz, but honestly I don't think we missed out on anything of the 120+ songs made during the session--the artist that made the cut elevated their game, came prepared to rap rap. Plus I'm 100% sure that there is going to be a bunch of songs that didn't make this album that are going to be featured on many of these artists' individual projects.
It goes without saying that JID is the outliner on ROTD3, he stands out on every track he's on, the man is on a collision course with goat status.
Only time will tell the lasting impact such an explorative project like this will have on the industry, to me it feels like many artist are going to prosper from it and hopefully a trend will foster where more artist link up and make collab albums, (cough cough, Black Hippy.) This project is diverse, its musically cohesive and creative as hell. There's plenty of replay value and while I won't stamp it as a instant classic just yet, I will say people, myself included, will be talking about it years down the line. I strongly encourage everyone to watch the documentary as well, it's a whole vibe.
Reviewed By: Wyatt Smit