Collaboration albums have been a reoccuring theme in recent times especially among rappers and rappers alike ,Without warning- Offset, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, and rappers and producers ,Drip Harder- Lil Baby and Gunna. But what makes one collab album superior to another?
Revenge of Dreamville 3 is the third collective album of Dreamville Records, owned by critically acclaimed rapper J.Cole. From the initial sending of the “Golden Ticket”, a formal invitation to the two week long recording session in North Carolina, this album has had long anticipation
While some fans may be disappointed by the quantity of Cole’s appearances throughout this record, being on fewer than half the songs, his quality goes unmatched. From his solo track Middle Child, with a beat and message he described as “urgent’ to rap radar at the TIDAL x Dreamville Fest, was an instant J.Cole classic. Along with the album opener Under the Sun where he has the entering verse to the entire record. The delivery of this hearty verse is classic Cole filled with double entendres. The nonchalant yet demanding J. Cole is present. Cole is back on his wave after the almost satirical KOD of 2017.
Following industry legends such as J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar who has a three line chorus on the opener is tremendously intimidating and difficult ,but Lute, a fellow Dreamville artist, enters perfectly. He starts by matching the energy of Cole and following the same beat progression of Cole. Followed by Charlotte breakout star Da Baby who changed up the progression slightly and even ended his final three lines acapella calling out his famous ad-lib “baby”.
On an album with upwards of 10 individual artists, standing out is hard, especially when you’re not a highly anticipated star like Cole. 2018 breakout stars JID and Buddy pull their weight and then some, being on more than five of the final tracks when there were 106 recorded and only 18 released.
With bars like “Board of Education vs. Brown// I was bored of education, left the town// f*** a resume and f*** a cap and gown” from JID, along with the comical verse breaks from Buddy lines like “Hey bro bro bro , less rapping more passing, like this is, bro” or when he ends 1993 with “Watson [producer] stop// cause this man J.Cole , he done grew some dreads// he think he smoke now// pass the blunt man stop rappin’// that’s the end of the session// we goin’ home, I just called my Lyft” added a sense of fun to the primarily serious Dreamville crew. Showing the talent of Cole’s prodiges with their versatility as artists which was everything Cole was trying to display with this album.
Poking fun at J.Cole and adding youthful energy was a goal of Cole’s stated to complex back in 2018 that he’s tired of people thinking he’s solely serious and doesn’t mess with anyone in the industry (hence the viral internet meme about him going platinum with no features).
Even though Revenge was a rap album, the featured R&B singers such as Ari Lennox were given their time to shine. Lennox, who is known as the “First Lady of Dreamville” on Got Me with Ty Dolla$ and Dreezy and her angelic voice blends beautifully with every artist and every verse she’s given.
Down Bad is an electric soon to be hit. You can tell that Pluss and Juru, the producers and mixer respectively, have extensive knowledge of sound and the boards creating a unique and harmoniously mixed beat with numerous layers that leave you with something new to listen to each and every time.
You can tell that every producer was bringing their all and really exerting all resources on the boards to create a specific sound. These beats don’t sound like they were just thrown together for the sake of making a song, but curated carefully with a sound in mind to make a project and not just to make money.
Even with the producers and artists using several different rooms to make this 18 track project, the artists did a phenomenal job at creating catchy radio like beats for the group of proclaimed “popular rap anti heroes”.
For a collective album with over 20 people on production, composition, and lyrics, this is one of the most sonically cohesive hip-hop albums to be released in years, sure to be on the list of hip hop fanatics classics and favorites for years to come.