Dreamville Records – “Revenge of the Dreamers III” review

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Dreamville Records is a record label founded in 2007 by J. Cole & his manager Ibrahim Hamad. They released their first showcase compilation in 2014 & followed it up at the tail end of 2015. But now with an ever-growing roster, they’re coming through with a 3rd showcase comp that was recorded in only 10 days.

The album opens up with “Under the Sun”, where J. Cole gets with Lute & DaBaby flex over a soulful trap beat. The next song “Down Bad” by Cole, Bas, JID, the EARTHGANG & Young Nudy talk about their origins over a Bomb Squad-inspired instrumental from Pluss while the track “LamboTruck” by Cozz & Reason talk about being underappreciated over a decently relaxing instrumental. The song “Swivel” is a chilled out preview of the EARTHGANG’s upcoming 3rd album Mirrorland while the track “Oh Wow…Swerve” sees Cole talking about his current spot over an atmospheric beat, but then Maxo Kream talks about trapping over a gritty trap beat. The song “Don’t Hit Me Now” by Bas, Buddy, Cozz & Yung Baby Tate spits that gun talk over a mellow beat while the track “Wells Fargo” by Buddy, the EARTHGANG & JID talks about robbing a bank over a vibrant beat.

The song “Sleep Deprived” by Lute, Mez & Omen talks about coming up from nothing over a somewhat funky boom bap beat while the track “Self Love” by Ari Lennox, Baby Rose & Bas is an ode to just that over a mellow beat. The song “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies” by JID & T.I. is basically the modern version of JAY-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” while the track “Costa Rica” by Bas, Buddy, JID, Jace, Mez, Reese LAFLARE, Ski Mask the Slump God & Smokepurpp sees everyone getting boastful over a lavish trap beat. The song “1993” by Buddy, Cole, Cozz, the EARTHGANG, JID & Smino talks about alcohol over a fittingly intoxicating boom bap beat while the track “Remembrandt…Run It Back” sees JID & Cole paying homage to the iconic YoungBloodZ joint “Damn!”, but I also really love how the beat switches from a druggy vibe to something more energetic as soon as Vince Staples starts rapping.

The song “Sunset” by Cole & Young Nudy fire back at those who want smoke over an eerie trap beat while the track “Got Me” by Ari Lennox, Dreezy, Omen & Ty$ is a decently moody love anthem. The song “Middle Child” is pretty much J. Cole taking a jab at doing a Drake joint while the penultimate track “PTSD” by Mereba, Deante Hitchcock & Omen sees the 3 talking about simply just kicking it over a fitting instrumental. The compilation then finishes with “Sacrifices”, where Cole & the EARTHGANG team up with Smino & Saba to talk about their sacrifices over a funky beat.

I don’t know what else to say beyond that, this was disappointingly mediocre. The production was just decent & while I can appreciate they brought outside features in on this one, but it doesn’t help the fact that there are WAY too many cooks the kitchen.

Score: 2.5/5

Bas – “Milky Way” review

Bas is a 31 year old rapper from Paris, France who broke out onto the scene with his 1st mixtape Quarter Water Raised Me in 2011. He eventually signed to J. Coles’s Interscope Records imprint Dreamville Records at the beginning of 2014, dropping his debut album Last Winter a couple months after & then following it up in 2016 with what I believe to be his magnum opus: Too High to Riot. Then earlier this month out of the blue, Bas announced that he would be releasing his 3rd full-length album.

Things start off with “Icarus”, where he talks about an ex over a mellow instrumental. The next track “Front Desk” has a very funky instrumental, but Bas’ singing is horrendous & it’s concept is really corny. The song “Tribe” is all about making it over a creative sample of “Zum-Zum” by Edu Lobo & the J. Cole verse is probably my favorite feature on the entire album while the track “Boca Raton” with A$AP Ferg sees the 2 talking about partying in the titular city over Sango’s “Para a Luz”. The song “Barack Obama’s Special” takes a jab at his old racist neighbors over a jazzy boom bap beat from Ron Gilmore while the track “Purge” talks about killing people off from his life & the instrumental on here is just decent. The song “Fragrance” talks about this woman who won’t leave him alone over a smooth instrumental with rattling hi-hats, but Bas’ predominately sung-execution ruins it.

The spoken word “Infiniti” skit leads us into the next song “Infiniti+2”, where Bas tells this woman to get her head right over a spacey trap beat. It’s ok, but I don’t get why these 2 tracks weren’t merged into 1. The track “Sanufa” tells this woman that she knows better over a house instrumental from J. Cole & after the “Great Ones skit, we go into the song “PDA”. Here, Bas is about making up lost times with his girl due to his newfound success over a moody beat & the hook is absolutely God awful. The penultimate track “Designer” gets braggadocious over a settle instrumental & then the album closes with “Spaceships + Rockets”, which is a weird EDM/trap fusion.

For the most part, I found this to be just average. There are quite a few interesting ideas being presented, but Bas’ attempts at being melodic fall flat on it’s face & the romantic themes tend to wear thin after a while.

Score: 2.5/5