Rapper and Producer J Cole’s label, Dreamville made it clear with their release of “Revenge of the Dreamers III” this past summer, that they have assembled a dynamic crew of the most talented voices in the hip hop game right now. Each member possesses a poetic message that seeks revenge and ultimately yearns for survival in the face of adversaries. The Director’s Cut is essentially twelve extra songs that didn’t originally make it onto, “Revenge of the Dreamers III.”
“Revenge of the Dreamers III” showcased Dreamville’s versatility as a label. It featured electrically charged and upbeat trap singles such as “Down Bad,” and “Wells Fargo” – while simultaneously weaving in soul foul gems and nostalgic tracks like “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies,” and “Sacrifices.”
However, with the release of these twelve bonus tracks – it’s evident that Dreamville’s pursuit for revenge is inevitable. “Revenge of the Dreamers III” explored each member’s roadblocks that were inhibiting their ability to pursue their dreams. The Director’s Cut is much more centered on soaking up what they have attained thus far in their career and maintaining their sense of drive they had before success.
The Director’s Cut also allows for certain artists to shine more freely, most notably J.I.D, who starts out the album solely on his own with the track, “Big Black Truck.” “Big Black Truck” has a sinister, haunting trap beat encompassing it – setting an immediate tone of aggression and retaliation. J.I.D. is known for his mad-lib inspired flow as he pairs unlikely words together – resembling a giant chain of dark thoughts and untouchable rhyme schemes.
The beat creates a sensation of an impending battle – an intruder or threat is on the horizon. J.I.D. gives in to this narrative, drawing on his whimsical and imaginative side.
He raps, “I’m working on my back swing, they coming at my back attacking, a tackle, a technical foul, travel. Babbling Babylon, brother you ready for battle?”
His use of assonance and cut-throat delivery is what makes his ability to foreshadow violence and moments of paranoia feel so real. Dreamville is known to tell stories with their tracks, some of them even acting as tiny skits.
The track “Passcode” displays how Dreamville is able to fully utilize their strong sense of commandry with one another. “Passcode” features artists Mez, Smino, Buddy, Guapdad 4000 and Ari Lennox. The track acts as a skit on infidelity in relationships – each male talking to one another within the track by taking turns in sharing their perspective on the topic and past regrets.
Ari Lennox is saved for the end of the track, glistening in her truth. She unearths a sense of female empowerment that has deep roots in self -love, and worth. She revels in the lack of maturity and cares that she is receiving in the face of cheating.
She raps, “Your insecurities ain’t got shit to do with me. My love switched the hell up like a sour patch kid. I’m to grown, baby, I’m on. I got bills to pay, songs to write, and other n***** to f***.”
Ari Lennox is also another artist whose talents are clearly in the spotlight amongst these twelve new tracks. She carries the song “Bussit” all on her own with her passionate and soul-infused approach. “Bussit” is an incredibly R&B dominant track that sets the perfect tone for Lennox to showcase her melodic rifts and superior vocals. Lennox is once again aware and not afraid of her magnitude – especially when it comes to being the object of desire in relationships.
She sings in the chorus, “I know that you’re into me, about it, then let me see. Ride, don’t be scared of me. I’m rowdy as they can be. I know that you feelin’ me, bust it to the tenth degree.”
This overwhelming sense of no longer surrendering to past insecurities, self-doubt, or toxic relationships seems to be an ominous presence in Dreamville’s pursuit for revenge. This unapologetic sense of confidence that overwhelms these twelve new tracks is what Dreamville was building towards harnessing and cultivating in “Revenge of the Dreamers III.”
During the track “Disgusted,” it seems to be accompanying “Passcode” on exposing a sense of repulsion and appalling behaviors that seem to overwhelm their pursuits for love. The beat is simple and allows for the need to lament and reminisce on past relationships to rise to the surface. “Disgusted” features artists Cozz and Childish Major as they feed off one another’s energy and sentiments.
Both Cozz and Major utilize individual verses to expose a sense of deception and lack of trust that’s evident in their past – leaving them feeling disgusted when it comes to matters of love. Major and Cozz both touch on aspects of modern dating such as ghosting and lack of communication that is forcing them to detach from the idea of partnerships.
Childish Major raps, “Should’ve took it slow from the beginning, but you rushed it. Acting like you get it and you with it, but you crushin. Feeling denied, you just a liar, I’m disgusted.”
“Revenge of the Dreamers III” sense of revenge was much more fueled by loved ones or society not believing in their ability to make it as artists. “Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut” craving for revenge is much more centered around their personal relationships – betrayals in matters of love, inner demons, and childhood trauma.
“Revenge” almost acts as a therapeutic release – with it also being one of the singles with the most artists attached to it and the longest. The beat chosen for the track is filled with jazz influences – as horns and trumpets whine and linger in the background.
Ari Lennox’s rich vocals are once again drawn upon as the focal point of this beat. Her rifts and wails elicit a sensation of remembrance for past wounds. “Revenge” features artists Lute, Omen, Earthgang, Reason, and Childish Major. Each artist murders their verses and uses this track to get things off their chest.
When rapper Reason comes in, the beat is muffled in the background as he closes off the track. He raps borderline acapella, “As I walk through the shadow of death, where we tread waters. Paint pictures of the stories forgotten, them dead authors. His blood getting mixed with that paint, so we dead artists. Woke up sweatin, panic with deep and breathin’. Going through deep depression, wonderin’ why I chose to live. When I been blessed with rappin’, no wonder they call it gifts.”
Dreamville makes it clear that their crew is superior and thriving in nearly every category. I can only imagine what will unfold if they come back hungry for more revenge with another project. The dreamers prevail and continue to set the bar high for other rappers who try to step into their arena.