Why Everyone Is Talking About ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’ from Dreamville

The entire album took only ten days to record—and the final result is a major win in hip-hop culture

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Ari Lennox performs with J. Cole. / Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images

Arguably the most talked-about album of the summer, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an 18-track project packed with 34 artists and 27 producers. It serves as the long-awaited follow-up to Dreamville Records’ freshman and sophomore projects from 2014 and 2015. Unlike those compilations, this one features guests from outside the label. We spent the past week listening to the collaborative album to explain what all the buzz is about. 

The Lyrics

The verses and story lines on this album are thought-provoking and conversation-worthy. In “Sacrifices,” J. Cole reveals he’s expecting another child. DaBaby asserts his lyrical dominance in “Under the Sun” (even though he raps about getting gas from Jiffy Lube, we’ll let it slide). The comical and fun energy on “Wells Fargo” makes this the perfect hype-man party song. On “Self Love,” Baby Rose and Ari Lennox deliver a new love ballad with Bas. “1993” takes you back to the ’90s hip-hop sound that influenced everything you hear today and reminds you of Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City with all the narration weaved into the track. In short, a lot of memorable moments come from this album.

Each track has a different sound, story line and vibe yet still falls under the genre of hip-hop and flows effortlessly. With artists and producers hailing from all over the country, regional influences are strong and come together to create a fresh release. Despite all the varying styles, Cole still manages to provide 40% of the album, proving his line “Dreamville head honcho” from “Down Bad” to be true.

Our favorite catchy verses and indelible lines, which live throughout the album, include Maxo Kream’s verse on “Oh Wow...Swerve,” where he makes references to Friday movies and claims his realness with droll rhetorical questions. J.I.D’s verse in “1993” dabbles into wordplay like “piccolo, skididdle, skedaddle” and uses unoriginal metaphors to describe his sex life. Lastly, we can’t get over Omen’s verse in “Sleep Deprived,” in which he opens up about a love affair gone wrong.  

The Chemistry

It’s hard to believe the entire project took only ten days to record. The chemistry and natural flow from one artist to the next, assisted with chants and laughter, sets a vibe of frequent collaborations, but this is actually the first time some of the artists worked together. “Under the Sun” is the first time North Carolina rappers J. Cole, DaBaby and Lute appear on a track together. Young Nudy’s first collaboration with a Dreamville member happens on “Down Bad.” With the short time frame for this project—and the consistent vibe throughout—we’re nothing but impressed by the success of this large group compilation. The vibrant energy and chemistry that is heard on the album can also be seen in the Dreamville Presents: REVENGE Documentary

While collaborative albums do not always receive the best reviews, Dreamers III is amazingly crafted and flows from start to end. The rap camp environment produced scenarios like funny wordplay with accents on the intro of “Wells Fargo” and rhythmic exchanges like the venting session between Cozz and Reason on “LamboTruck.” You wouldn’t get these elements in a normal recording studio.

Sounds and beats ranging from ’90s rap to modern trap and everything in between, combined with communal production, make for a major win in hip-hop culture. There’s a song on this album for everyone, and the versatility of the project makes it one of the best releases of the summer—and arguably the year too. 

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