“Dreamville’s stacked like the warriors”, claimed rapper and Dreamville founder J. Cole back in 2018.
A year prior, Dreamville had signed their most recent artists, JID and EarthGang. The label’s roster was growing, and although Dreamville was a household name, the comparison to the Golden State Warriors seemed a little far-fetched to many in the hip-hop community.
Then came Revenge Of The Dreamers III, the third installment of compilation albums put together by Dreamville. The recording sessions in January of 2019 generated a huge buzz on social media, and once the album dropped in July of the same year, the hip-hop world could now see the similarities between Dreamville and the Warriors.
First, let’s talk numbers. The entire album was recorded in just 10 consecutive days. In that time, 124 songs were recorded, and 343 artists and producers were invited. This was no longer an in-house album. Artists and producers across the hip-hop world were sent “golden tickets” and invited to the sessions for a chance to make music with one of the most recognizable labels in the industry.
One of the amazing things this album accomplished was giving a platform to smaller artists to make music on a big stage. They got their invite, worked hard for 10 days, and under a year later received a Grammy nomination. All 35 artists and 27 producers contributing to the standard edition album are now Grammy nominated. This is a huge deal, considering many of the artists and producers were up-and-coming and relatively undiscovered prior to the album’s release. I’d argue that most listeners discovered at least a few new artists along the way.
Another reason this album is so impressive is the fact that Dreamville was able to piece together a cohesive body of work out of the hectic recording process. With so many artists in the studio and so little time, it’s amazing that it came out sounding like an album, and not just a playlist. The busy recording environment also proved to push creativity up a notch, as lots of unique song concepts appeared on the project. Songs like “1993” and “Passcode” display the high-level of creativity these sessions inspired.
Following the standard edition album, Dreamville released a deluxe version containing an additional 12 songs on January 16th, 2020, the one year anniversary of the conclusion of the recording sessions.
Revenge Of The Dreamers III was a revolutionary piece of music. From the way it was conceived, and the stats it put up, it was all-round amazing. But most importantly, the process of making the album was magical. The energy, creativity, and collaboration is what hip-hop is all about, and it showed in the music.
If you would like to see a bit of the recording process, check out the short documentary Dreamville released along with the album.