“Revenge of the Dreamers III” continues Dreamville legacy

Delaunay Krauter, A&E Editor

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It’s a warm summer night in Atlanta, Georgia. You approach the entrance to the Tree Room Studio, anticipation coursing through your veins. As you enter the building the pounding of the stereos send vibrations through your feet. You begin pushing your way through the crowd of artists filling every open space in the building. In the sea of people you see familiar faces; Omen, Smino, Baz, Vince Staples, all artists you’ve dreamed of working with. You pass through a doorway and emerge into a wide studio lit with red and blue lights. A beat begins to play and you drift off with the music…

In 2007, popular rap artist Jermaine Cole, or J. Cole, and his manager Ibrahim Hamad opened Dreamville Records in cooperation with Interscope Records. Since then, the label has signed eight artists, including Omen, Earth Gang and Ari Lennox. 

In 2014, the label released their first compilation album. “Revenge of the Dreamers I”, the first album in the Revenge of the Dreamers series. The album featured a few selected artists. Then, in 2015, the second album of the series was released with the addition of a few new artists. Finally, on July 5, 2019 Dreamville released the newest album to the series: “Revenge of the Dreamers III”. This time though, Cole planned to do things differently. His goal was to complete the album within 10 days. 

Cole extended invitations to 343 artists and producers asking them to participate in the collaboration. In the end, 35 artists and 27 producers contributed to the final project. In the 29-minute documentary released before the album dropped, Cole discussed his desire to create a communal environment. With artists and producers in every room working together, Cole fostered a competitive but creative atmosphere. 

With 35 artists working on the album, it’s no surprise each song is different from the last. The album includes a range of vocals from Ari Lennox to Ski Mask the Slump God, the former being more melodic and smooth singing versus faster paced rap, where the focus is on the words and beats rather than vocals. 

As one of my favorite songs on the album, “Wells Fargo” featuring J.I.D, Earthgang, Buddy, and Guapdad 4000, played through my headphones, I could feel the artists’ excitement. The song begins with each rapper speaking in British accents asking one another for their weapons, addressing each other as “Lord.” The comedic tone runs throughout the song, as the artists sing about robbing a Wells Fargo. The beat consists of a drum machine and a trumpet. It’s simple, but cannot fail to make you move along with the music. The energy is high and the pace fast. One can feel the artists’ energy, as they chant the chorus simultaneously. 

A similar sense of enthusiasm appears in “Costa Rica feat. J.I.D, Guapdad 4000, Reese, Smokepurpp, Ski Mask, the Slump God, Bas, King Mez, Buddy, and Jace.” The group sings about their fame and wealth even in exotic destinations. Each artist brings their own voice and style to the song, making it uniquely spectacular. 

The album, although recorded in 10 days, is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. Collectively, the artists revealed a sense of community in each song. Cole and members of the “Dreamville” label have delivered an album that takes you through a range of emotions, as every artist has a different vision. It is truly a work of art.