Dreamville – Revenge Of The Dreamers III (Album Review)

Dreamville – Revenge Of The Dreamers III

Released July 5, 2019

Yes, people your favorite blogger has returned. You’ve missed me and I’ve missed you and I ABSOLUTELY MISSED providing you all with the DOPEST and MOST ORIGINAL of CONTENT. It seems very fitting that the highly anticipated and the EARLY “Album of the Year Candidate,” ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’ is the first project I review upon my return. Also, it’s not like this album didn’t just go#1 this week or anything! 😈

2019 kicked off with J. Cole and longtime manager Ibrahim Hamad announcing that Dreamville and its members were about to embark on a 10-day series of recording sessions for ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’. This announcement came with a social media blitzkrieg of invites to artists, producers, execs and other creatives. With the task at hand to create their third compilation project, Dreamville and its guest had 10 days to generate a cohesive and powerful body of work. Below is a short documentary of their quest to create magic.


Dreamville Presents: REVENGE (Documentary)


Tracklist & Song Ratings

1. Under the Sun ft. J. Cole, Lute, & DaBaby (5/5)
2. Down Bad ft. Bas, J.I.D, Young Nudy, J. Cole, EarthGang (5/5)
3. LamboTruck ft. Cozz, Childish Major, & REASON (4.5/5)
4. Swivel (from the upcoming album Mirrorland) ft. EarthGang (4/5)
5. Oh Wow…Swerve ft. J. Cole, Zoink Gang, Key! & Maxo Cream (4.2/5)
6. Don’t Hit Me Right Now ft. Bas, Yung Baby Tate, Guapdad4000,Cozz & Buddy(5/5)
7. Wells Fargo (Interlude) ft. J.I.D, Buddy, EarthGang, & Guapdad 4000 (5/5)
8. Sleep Deprived ft. Lute, Mez, Omen, & Davionne (4/5)
9. Self Love ft. Ari Lennox, Baby Love, & Bas (4.5/5)
10. Ladies, Ladies, Ladies ft. J.I.D & T.I. (3.8/5)
11. Costa Rica ft. Reese LAFLARE, Bas, Jace, Mez, Smokepurpp, J.I.D., Buddy, Ski Mask The Slump God, & Guapdad4000 (3.8/5)
12. 1993 ft. Buddy, Smino, Cozz, EarthGang, J.I.D, & J. Cole (4.75/5)
13. Rembrandt…Run It Back ft. J.I.D, J. Cole, & Vince Staples
14.Sunset ft. J. Cole & Young Nudy (4.4/5)
15. Got Me ft. Ty Dolla $ign, Omen, Ari Lennox, & Dreezy (4.4/5)
16. Middle Child – J. Cole (4.2/5)
17 PTSD ft. Mereba, Deante Hitchcock, Omen, & St. Beauty (4.3/5)
18. Sacrifices ft. EarthGang, Smino, Saba, & J. Cole (5/5)


A project that seemed to have too many cooks in the kitchen, the Dreamville Chefs and their Guest Chefs have the recipe for success with ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’. Right away ROTD III kicks of with the soulful production intro track, “Under the Sun” which samples The Argo Singers 1963 hit “I’ll Be Waiting for You.” Of course, it was fitting that the first verse we hear to kick off a project with such high expectations was from J. Cole himself. After a hard-hitting verse with impeccable delivery, we are ABSOLUTELY TEASED by an invigorating chorus from Kendrick Lamar. This is followed by impressive verses by Dreamville mainstay Lute and 2019’s breakout artist, DaBaby. I can’t even front I’m still upset that we didn’t get a Kendrick verse. I quickly got over it though once that beat dropped for my favorite track, “Down Bad.”

I felt like ROTD III was a project that was full of life as it represented the current state of music and how there’s a seat at the table for everyone. Of course, the table head is Mr. Jermaine Cole. He leads and facilitates the balance between promoter and participant on this album. With Cole playing both roles he’s able to create a level playing field for both the established artists and the upcoming artists to showcase their talents. For example, Baby Rose went full Nina Simone on “Self Love.” Emerging fan favorites such as Buddy, Smino and Guapdad4000 got the green-light of running full on savage mode throughout the entire project as they made sure to make their presence known. The overlooked and yet very talented acts such as Mereba, Saba, Maxo Kream, and Omen seized their moment to shine. There were definitely a few surprises on here. I would have never thought in a million years we’d hear T.I and J.I.D together as we did on “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies.” Speaking of surprises, Vince Staples on the tail-end of “Rembrandt…Run It Back” had me so excited but of course you would have hoped for more. There better be more J. Cole, J.I.D and Vince tracks stashed somewhere! I just want to say this now before I lose my train of thought, J.I.D is becoming elite right in front of our eyes. East Atlanta’s finest was in serious form as he delivered on every track he was featured on.

There were a lot of unique elements on this project that I really enjoyed. I love how a project dominated with a lot of lyrical spitters we still were able to get great hooks on cuts like “Don’t Hit Me Right Now” and KEY!’s offering on “Oh Wow… Swerve.” I loved hearing J.I.D and Buddy mimicking the demented spirit of Pinky & The Brain on the intro to “Wells Fargo” along with Cozz and Reason’s “Guilty Conscience”-style scheming to rob their respective label bosses on “LamboTruck.” The Production! Production on this project was probably some of the best this year. There were so many different minds behind production that you would wonder how this project would sonically. CHASETHEMONEY, ClicknPress, Bink! Elite, Ron Gilmore, Pyrex, T-Minus and many others made sure that we got everything from trap to boombap sounds. I could really talk about this project until the end of time but lets wrap it up.

‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’ was a collaboration unlike any other. The last time a star studded studio session came close to the magnitude ROTD III boot camp was Kanye getting everyone to come out to Hawaii to record ‘My Dark Twisted Fantasy’. ROTD III was 18 tracks, included over 50 contributors, and ran about an hour long. It actually seemed a bit surprising that this thing project was only 18 tracks honestly! There’s just so many different styles, cadences and sounds from the contributing artist and production I was expecting and some what hoping for a double disk. Chris Brown is out here giving us 40 track and 30 track albums back to back. I’d assume 60 people could give us at least 25-30 tracks. But nonetheless, the finished product that we received that is ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’ is a rather remarkable body of work with three major takeaways. Cole and Dreamville as whole label have leveled ALL THE WAY UP, there may not be such thing as too many cooks in one kitchen and the most importantly, the state of hip hop is in amazing hands. Dreamville and Friends got us covered!

 

Rating: 9.4/10

Lil Pump – Harvard Dropout (Album Review)

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Lil Pump…. The Harvard Dropout.

I don’t know what to expect any more from some of these mumble rap acts. We can’t deny that Pump is a rising star though. While some might question his ability, the 18-year-old artist has already gained the attention of some respected music figures like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, J. Cole, and DJ Khaled. Pump also has himself a few top-charting singles to his name. Clearly he is killing it early! So, let’s get this out the way. Pump did not ever attend Harvard. This whole “Harvard Dropout” persona came from a bar he rapped on his first album. On “Iced Out” Pump rapped: “Could’ve been at Harvard servin’ juugs/ But I don’t give a f*ck…” Yeah that’s it. That was the bar…So profound, right?… Enough about that let’s dive into this review.


Tracklist & Song Ratings

  1. DROPOUT (2/5)
  2. NU UH (2.5/5)
  3. I LOVE IT (4/5)
  4. ION (2/5)
  5. FASHO FASHO (4/5)
  6. RACKS ON RACKS (4/5)
  7. OFF WHITE (2/5)
  8. BUTTERFLY DOORS (4/5)
  9. TOO MUCH ICE (1/5)
  10. MULTIMILLIONAIRE (2/5)
  11. VROOM VROOM VROOM (1/5)
  12. BE LIKE ME (3.5/5)
  13. STRIPPER NAME (2/5)
  14. DRUG ADDICTS (2/5)
  15. ESSKEEIT (3/5)
  16. WHO DAT (1.5/5)

Stream on Spotify:


Look I won’t sugar coat anything about this project at all. I’ll get to the point and we’ll keep things moving! Lil Pump’s sophomore slump leads him to flunk out of Harvard. Pump’s sophomore project flat out lacked direction and it was full of insubstantial lyrics, lifeless hooks and meaningless melodies. With a project that fails to really hold any weight there was some good that the “Harvard Dropout” provided.(Kinda..?) Whether it was Pump or his Label, gathering guest artist such as Lil Wayne, Quavo, Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, and Offset helped prevent this project being complete dead weight. There were a few tracks that I did like though, mainly due to catchy lyrics and hooks.

“I Love It” (with Kanye West), “Racks on Racks”, and “Fasho Fasho” (featuring Offset) were some of the albums highlights. But no matter how I spin it, the bad and ugly is what I remembered most from Pump’s ‘Harvard Dropout’. Diablo, CBMix, and Fizzle delivered production wise but Pump just couldn’t deliver anything solid.

From “wtf” lyrics on “Drop Out” to the cringe-worthy choruses on “Nu Uh” and “ION” to the pointless cuts like “Vroom Vroom”, “Drug Addicts”, and “Off White,” ‘Harvard Dropout’ is a project where Pump’s weaknesses are the albums focus. The “Harvard Dropout” should consider reenrollment…

Rating: 5.2/10

Social Club Misfits – MOOD (EP Review)

Social Misfits Club - MOOD (EP Review)

Social Club Misfits……

This Miami based Hip Hop duo is an act that I was introduced to via Instagram. Yes, I said Instagram. Marty Santiago and Fernando Miranda, also known as Marty Mar and Fern, have released their latest EP MOOD. Before they dropped this EP they released two singles “Everytime,” produced by Young Sidechain, and “Que Lo Que,” a summertime party anthem that flows over a Latin-fused rhythm. Their last release, The Misadventures of Fern and Marty (2017) peaked on the Billboard Rap Charts at #4 and received rave reviews from Rap Revolt, Hip Hop DX, and Rapzilla. After some research I was intrigued to see what the “MOOD” is with this 5-track, 15 minute EP.


Tracklist & Ratings 

  1. Everytime (5/5)
  2. Que lo Que (5/5)
  3. Up (3.8/5)
  4.  Chinatown Freestyle (3.7/5)
  5. So Our God Came To Us (4.2/5)

Stream On Spotify:

 

 


This EP did its job. What was the MOOD EP’s job? Well I’m a new listener of this talented duo and they definitely have caught my attention. This five-track release offers a diverse sample of sounds that showcases both Marty and Fern’s talents. On a track such as “So Our God Came To US,” the duo delivers a BAR-full reminder about needing God and God coming down to rescue us in times of need. On the EP opener, “Everytime,” we have a high energy track with a strong message of not giving up and remaining positive. Currently this a track I play every morning to get my day started. It’s definitely my favorite track but coming in second had to be the “Que lo Que,” the Latin infused track I mentioned earlier. On tracks like “Up” and “Chinatown Freestyle” the duo just flat out showcases their rapping ability. This EP clocks in at 15 minutes. It’s a quick listen. The “MOOD” EP is an EP of Marty and Fern doing what Marty and Fern do as they represent those who feel insecure about themselves and point them to the Savior. This wasn’t supposed to be their best work but it’s that nice filler EP that can only boost their discography as it serves as a sampler project for those who may not be familiar with them. I’m looking forward to hear more from SCM!

Rating: 8.8/10

Lebanon Donn- Party Pack (EP Review)

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Around this time last year, Lebanon Donn released his first project titled ‘Journey To Forever’.  His 12 track debut was something special! With stand out tracks such as “Sunday Morning,” “Off The Muscle,” “Dundee,” “Waves” and “Old News,” Lebanon created a classic as he showcased his versatility as an artist. 

“Party Pack” is a three track EP running just under 10 minutes. It’s really a quick listen so I’ll be brief.  The EP kicks off with the TONE-SETTER of the EP in “Bullshit.” I’ve always thought Lebanon Donn had a great ear for production. This comes into play here as he skates on this high energy track letting everyone know he’s back on his BS and its all business here on out! The next track “Break The Bank Freestyle,” was personally my favorite song on this EP. One thing that allows Lebanon Donn to standout is his sound and delivery. The fact that this was  an actual freestyle is just nuts. The EP closes out with “Dope” featuring Say Solos a long time friend and collaborator who also is extremely talented. (Check him out) All three tracks cared the same energy but all presented different sounds and showed the many different flows Lebanon Donn can tap into. This past Sunday Lebanon announced a new project on the way and shared a snippet via Instagram. 

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Tunnel Vision…. I Can’t See Who I’ve Become!!

A post shared by Mardyny (@iam_mardyny) on

Party Pack is the perfect sampler to hold us over for Lebanon’s next album. I have a feeling that there will be no Sophomore Slump for the Donn and this next project will be his best one. If you were not familiar with Lebanon Donn before this review, do yourself a favor and get familiar! His music is available on ALL streaming platforms. 

 

Rating: 10/10

 

Stream on Spotify: 

Q Da Fool & Kenny Beats – Bad Influence (EP Review)

Q da fool

DMV’s very own Q Da Fool clearly has next! The newly signed Roc Nation act made a great decision to record an EP with the extremely talented and versatile Kenny Beats. The Connecticut-born ex-EDM producer, is killing it right now. He’s that producer that consistently shows the will to work with whomever and whenever. This results in him often exploring the other regions and sounds in the many variations of hip hop. With Q Da Fool wanting to prove his commercial viability and Kenny Beats eager to showcase his ability to experiment with different sounds, these two released the collaborative EP ‘Bad Influence’. ‘Bad Influence’ is just six songs capping at about 14 minutes of  Q’s high energy and might and Kenny Beats to hold his own with some rumble and hard hitting beats to create a sampler to gain some mainstream love.

 

Rating: 7.8/10

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James Blake – Assume Form (Album Review)

James Blake - Assume Form

The perfect emotional balance is reached with James Blake’s new studio album, Assume Form. With James Blake’s latest installment, he features an interesting mix of features. There is a rare André 3000 feature followed with features from Travis Scott, Metro Boomin, Moses Sumney, and Rosalía. There was a lot of excitement upon this release!    His last full-length project ‘The Colour in Anything’, was released in 2016 so you could see why the anticipation was at an all time high. 

So James Blake’s music career is an interesting one. Did y’all know at one point this man was a dubstep DJ? His signature was his kinetic drums and wild fractured rhythms. He didn’t stick around though for the peak years of dub step though. Anyways after that phase, with his first debut artist he was viewed as pop artist who became the “hook maker” as a featured artist or writer for today’s biggest stars such as Frank Ocean and Post Malone. James hooks and lyrics seemed to display loneliness. Well, on ‘Assume Form’  he expresses a kind of cautious happiness for the first time. And yes, he could be happy due to him now dating Jameela Jamil. 

I personally loved how this album started off. “Assume Form” was an amazing intro track. It set the focus and mood for the whole album. In the opening verse, James sings’ “Now I’m confiding, know I’m in haze. Gone through the motions my whole life.I hope this is the first day..That I connect motion to feeling. We spin slowly, we spin slowly ’til morning.” “Mile High,” which features Travis Scott and Metro Boomin, is about joining the mile high club basically. The opening track, “Mile High” and “Tell them” had really enjoyable production! Metro and Travis did a great job and their contributions helped create quality tracks with REAL replay value.

‘Assume Form’ is full of insight. Blake lingers over  the anxieties of new relationships. On “Are You in Love, ” he asks that question, but doesn’t allow any time for a response before begging you to “Do your best impression for me.” In an interview with iTunes he spoke about this track.

“I like the idea of that moment where neither of you know whether you’re in love yet, but there’s this need for someone to just say they are: ‘Give me assurance that this is good and that we’re good, and that you’re in love with me. I’m in love with you.’ The words might mean more in that moment, but that’s not necessarily gonna make it okay.”

On the Andre 3000 featured track, “Where’s the Catch,” focuses in on that jittery anxious feeling one feels as they await for a good thing to go bad. The approach James took on this album works. He battles with sweetness/happiness, always ready to balance it out  doubt or bitterness. This restraint pays off on the big, romantic numbers, especially “Barefoot in the Park” featuring Rosalia.

The album did die a little at the end as I felt that “Don’t Miss It” and “Lullaby for My Insomniac” were low energy tracks. Even with an underwhelming close, ‘Assume Form’ was a solid body of work by James Blake! Blake is a true and pure songwriter and one of the most original of this generation. It’s safe to say this was Blake’s most focused project to date! 

Rating: 9.2/10

 

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Big K.R.I.T.’s – TDT (Compilation Project) Review

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In my short few years of blogging I’m finally reviewing one of my favorite artist!!! Big K.R.I.T had quite the 4th quarter finish in 2018. Mississippi’s very own gave us a three-peat of hard hitting EPs. In two week intervals, K.R.I.T. delivered ‘Thrice X’ (November 16, 2018), ‘Double Down’ (November 30, 2018) and ‘Trifecta’ (December 14, 2018). Prior to these releases K.R.I.T was relatively quiet. Like me, most fans we were kind of hungry for some new material from K.R.I.T. as we began to get satiated wit 2017’s ‘4eva Is A Mighty Long Time.’ The Summer of 2018 was absolutely nuts when it came to album drops. This past summer we were gifted with albums from Jay – Z and Beyonce, Kanye and G.O.O.D Music had their multi album run, Drake dropped during the midst of  that run. Also, we got the most anticipated project arguably in 2018 with Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’. 

K.R.I.T is not just a musical genius. He’s overall a smart individual. So it’s my belief he had been working on his EP roll out and had everything ready but assessed the temperature in the industry leading to him ultimately deciding to drop in the 4th quarter of 2018. K.R.I.T generated some crazy buzz with these drops.  They all were no more than 3 tracks and kept us eager to hear more! I think he has an end game with this roll out but in the mean time, K.R.I.T. has taken the songs from each of those projects and combined them to give us ‘TDT’. Yes we have heard these songs before this release. But man….. listening to them as a whole project changes the energy of the tracks.

‘TDT’ is a solid body of work. It consists of eight tracks that are all enjoyable.  Production was done by K.R.I.T per usual and he did a pretty good job. A few tracks stood out more than others production wise. My favorite tracks were “Pick Yourself Up” “Look What I Got” and “Glorious.” Those tracks had great production to go hand and hand with K.R.I.T smooth uptempo flow and his high quality lyricism. All in all, this was a great compilation but I think a bigger and more heavy project is being worked on as we speak and I’m predicting it to be some of K.R.I.T.’s best work in every aspect. 

Rating: 8.8/10

 

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