Revenge of the Dreamers 3: A Conversation

The promo run for Revenge of the Dreamers 3 was the most exciting one of the year so far. We saw a multitude of artists and producers post a simple picture with their name at the top and “Revenge” in a large font against a yellow background – this was their official invitation to be a part of the project. The album was recorded in 10 days from January 6 -16th which is a marathon no matter who’s involved in the process. We got a two pack of singles at the end of that month and then another two pack at the beginning of this month. The tracklist dropped on Thursday night July 4th and then July 5th at midnight…

The album dropped.

I hit up fellow Glosse Magazine Writer Lexiii Dee to discuss the project, our favorite tracks and how we felt about the concept behind it.

This conversation has been edited for clarity.

Paul: So, off rip, what would you say were your favorite aspects of the project?

Lexiii: My favorite aspects of this project as a whole was the fact that Cole went out of his way to allow many of these upcoming artists and producers from all over the U.S. to come to Atlanta to experience the sessions of creating and putting this album together; even if they didn’t  make the project itself. You rarely hear about rappers in high positions in the game that go out of their way to let the next young artist/producer get their shine. It’s a rarity and of course we all know J. Cole is a good guy but it makes the level of respect for him go up even more. Even if a person for some reason doesn’t like him, they can’t deny this man his respect for helping the people around him. What about you? What was your favorite aspects of the project?

Paul: I’m 100% with you on that. That communal aspect was so beautiful to see in the documentary and it only enhanced the same feeling throughout the music of the album itself. Sticking with that topic, I liked how his goal was to highlight lesser known artists even though some names we all know were involved in one way or another too. It takes putting someone on to a whole new level. I also liked the promo run with everyone posting their invitation to social media. It was simple, straightforward and obviously very effective. BUT, in terms of the music itself I liked how there was a variety of styles, tones and moods throughout the album. Personally, I believe for any project if there isn’t some type of variety the label of “boring” or “redundant” will come up easily and frequently. 

Lexiii: I definitely agree with you when it comes to the variety of the project. Each member of Dreamville bring their own unique style to the table, especially with the newer artists on the label being involved. It was also incredible seeing Cole switch up from his style that many of his fans love him for. Even before the project dropped and seeing the tracklist, it was interesting to see which artists were on there and how it would play out. Surprisingly, it was incredible and did not disappoint. It makes me happy just seeing hip hop artists that you would never in your life think that would hop on a track together actually make it happen.

Paul: Exactly. The contrast between his verse on “Sacrifices” which is the lane we expect him in with his verse on “Rembrandt” or “Under The Sun” just showcases his range. Not to mention the fact he’s on the latter with DaBaby which is something we thought we’d never see. Speaking of verses, what would you say are your top 3 favorite tracks right now? I know something like this can change easily so the emphasis is on right now lol. 

Lexiii: In regard to you speaking on the contrast between his verses, I want to also bring attention to his flow on “Sunset.” He really got in his bag and showed us another side of him we have not seen before. Cole taking on a more gritty, trap sound made me realize this man can take on anything. Also, who would have thought Cole hopping on a track with Young Nudy would make so much sense. The top 3 tracks for me right now off ROTD 3 will definitely have to be “Sacrifices” , “Don’t Hit Me Right Now” , and “1993”, in that order. Upon the first listen of “Sacrifices”, it literally made me emotional. That track is a tear jerker for sure. Just hearing the way each artist were spitting showed just how deep the song was. Earthgang didn’t miss, Smino didn’t miss, Saba is always on his sh*t, and Cole, for a fact, made the song to me. “Don’t Hit Me Right Now” is more of those light tracks that still has a punch to it. The standout for me was ATL songstress Yung Baby Tate and how even though her part wasn’t that long, the way she floated on there caught my attention that, to me, brought the whole song together. “1993” was insane. With the way everyone was getting their verses off and Buddy interrupting and being Buddy, it was a smooth, chill yet funny track. I was annoyed with the interruption of Cole’s verse because he was about to really go off. What were your favorites off the project at the moment?

Paul: Jeez wow, how could I forget Sunset? Smh. “Sacrifices” is my number one for sure too. I felt the tears attempt to form when I listened to Cole’s verse today and that WWE to Boondocks bar was great wordplay packed perfectly between all the emotion on that one. Of course Smino and Saba held it down too – especially Saba. Johnny Venus’s flow was interesting sonically but I’m still debating if it takes me out of the mood of the song or not. “PTSD” is next because I love the stories they all told and this may be unrelated but I could see Joey (Bada$$) on it too. The piano is just smooth. Only thing that takes me out of it was Buddy’s outro but I can look past it. Costa Rica would have to be my #3 because I loved everyone’s flow on that one and I really like the instrumental on it. In fact, I’d say I liked ALL the instrumentals – everyone on production snapped. The unorthodox ones like “Down Bad” and “Wells Fargo” were fantastic. 

Lexiii: “Costa Rica” was some HEAT! Honestly the singles they released were pretty good overall. I couldn’t get into the “Got Me” single for a minute though. It was something about the tempo that didn’t really do it for me. “LamboTruck” was hard as well. Reason and Cozz had very good chemistry on the record. Towards the end of the track, I loved how the two were switching off with the lyrics and added the part about robbing Cole and Top Dawg. You could tell that they were giving off bars but having a good time creating the music. Childish Major did his thing as well. Did you feel like he should have had a verse of his own or it was perfect the way it is?

Paul: Actually I don’t because as you said Reason and Cozz had perfect chemistry. With Cozz name dropping practically everyone on TDE and REASON’s verse basically starting like a conversation about Cozz then ending with one with him I feel like if anything had been added it would have just seemed out of place. That track and “1993” which you mentioned had that communal aspect we mentioned at the beginning front and center. However the concept of “1993” to was definitely a creative one and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it done again with a different group of artists. But aside from all these great things, personally the project was not completely flawless for me. I saw you mentioned “Got Me” didn’t do it for you earlier and I wasn’t a fan of that one either. I also understand the concept of “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies” but I’ve never been a fan of songs like that. 

Lexiii: I gave it about a 9/10 mostly based on the production end. Though the artists were a huge part of this as well, the instrumentation really did it for me. However, if I wasn’t viewing it from that perspective, I would give it a solid 8 just because I didn’t like about 3 or 4 records on there. Now let me ask you this, how did you feel about the decision of adding J. Cole’s single “Middle Child” on the project? Do you feel like it fit or should have been left for his own solo album?

Paul: Ah I knew that question would come up. So outside of the line “If it ain’t ’bout the squad, don’t give a fuck” and the bar “What good is the bread if my niggas is broke?/What good is first class if my niggas can’t sit?/ That’s my next mission, that’s why I can’t quit” “MIDDLE CHILD” just doesn’t fit the theme of the album. That single is literally about Cole’s place in the industry as an individual. BUT, because of his place he can do a song with Young Nudy as we mentioned or a song like Sacrifices and kill each one because of his place and ability to connect with multiple generations. But, also, it is the only solo track on the album and some may see it as selfish to only give the “face” of the label a place for a solo track – especially one that’s already gotten acclaim. Sorry if that wasn’t a real answer lol. I guess my conclusion is I can see why it would be there but I also see why it shouldn’t be. 

Photo @dreamville on Instagram

Lexiii: If we are looking at this from another viewpoint, maybe it was to help with the numbers. However, with the way they rolled out this album, it wasn’t needed. The promo itself already raised the anticipation. Personally, the track did not fit the project and should have not been apart but I see how you mentioned about Cole’s place in the industry and how he is able to connect with the generations and I agree. I wouldn’t say it seems selfish but I think it should have been left off. How did you feel about the duration of the project? Because I’ve been noticing many artists nowadays have been putting together projects that are usually less than 14 tracks long but not with this one. Do you feel like these newer artists have stepped away from projects that have longer tracklists like there were before earlier in time?

Paul: I feel newer artists in the public eye put out longer projects to help with streams and while it is a logical business move some people do not need projects longer than 14 tracks like you said. There’s going to be filler for sure for some of those artists. However, for this project specifically I feel like the one hour length is completely fine even though I think some tracks could be cut based on personal preference. 45 minutes to an hour is what I’ve personally come to expect so anything under that I’m somewhat surprised. Artists who make shorter albums generally believe in quality over quantity as we’ve seen this year. However, I believe I read they had over 50 tracks to choose from for this project? So the fact we got 18 as opposed to 25 shows just how hard the narrowing down process can truly be. I saw you gave the full thing an 8/10 earlier so I’ll follow and say I’m leaning towards a 7/10 myself. Definitely enjoyable but the standouts greatly overshadowed the ones that weren’t quite up to par.

Lexiii: Speaking of standouts, other than Cole, which artist on the project was the standout and who did you wish received more attention? 

Paul: J.I.D as a standout easily and I feel Ari Lennox should have gotten more attention. I understand the overall sound of the album wasn’t her sound but for being on two songs and personally only liking one – not a good look for her being she’s been there since the second installment. 

Lexiii: I completely agree with everything you said. J.I.D was literally in every single track and personally, I believe he is right under Cole in regard to the artists on the label. Not that the rest don’t, but he is hungry and really loves doing what he does and it shows. Another person that was a standout to me was Buddy. Other than what was on the documentary, Buddy was really on it when it came to the songs. His personality added so much to the tracks he was featured on, Ari definitely could have gotten more shine but with the direction of the project, I understand why she didn’t and it doesn’t take away from her at all. I wouldn’t say it isn’t a good look though because she did just release an album.

Paul: Right and I enjoyed the album. Guess I was just hoping to hear more and see her blend with different people. So…final thoughts on the whole album?

Lexiii: From seeing the way Revenge of the Dreamers has grown since it first became a thing is beautiful. Dreamville is not called Dreamville for no reason. It’s more than music. This group of individuals have worked hard to achieve their dreams and they are letting it be known that you too can accomplish anything you put your mind to. It’s inspiring and it pushes you to want to do better for yourself and those around you. Overall, the album was amazing and I am excited to see what else they have in store. Even though the summer isn’t over yet, this is definitely a Dreamville summer.

Paul: You’re exactly right. Not only do I have new artists to check out but, I know that they’re headed in the right direction and everyone will only go up from here. Thank you for talking about this album with me! 

Lexiii: Of course!

 

 

 

Jhene’s New Freestyle

Just when I said I didn’t want to be in my feelings, my fellow Piscean sister released her latest freestyle Triggered. Now I won’t say this is about Big Sean but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is following their public break up. Just last month Big Sean went to his Instagram to thank everyone for his birthday wishes and confess he’s been trying to get over a toxic relationship.

But back to the real reason we’re here. We know Jhene is a master at creating sounds that provide healing and comfort. This freestyle was no different. With her melodic sounds and soft voice, she gives us a look into what has been going through her mind and what’s been going on in her life recently.

Don’t know what I’m capable of
Might fuck around and go crazy on cuz
Might fuck around, have to pay me in blood
This ain’t the way that you want it
Might catch a case in this bitch
Don’t let me catch you face-to-face in this bitch
Tryin’ my hardest not to disrespect you
After what you did, man, what you expected?
You muhfucker

Watch the full video below and tell us what you think!

New Rico Nasty x Kenny Beats: Anger Management

In the late midnight hour, Rico Nasty drops her long awaited project “Anger Management” with producer Kenny Beats. Rico has been taking the industry by storm with her raging sound and hard lyrics. This album embodies the capabilities Rico and Kenny have within themselves that comes out anytime these two work on a project together.

After Kenny and Rico worked on “Nasty”, Rico’s first album in 2018 — with hits such as “Smack A Bitch” and “Trust Issues” — the dynamic duo had to come and prove to us why they were the best team in the game. They did exactly that.

The album consists of nine songs that embody the power and rage Rico spews on all of her songs. That rage we all love when we listen to her. Not anger. Pure rage and grit. I love it.

With only three features — Earthgang, Baauer, and Splurge bringing their own unique twist to the mix adding layers to each of the songs. Damn, these Kenny beats hit different at 9 in the morning.

My personal favorite? Sell Out. Rico Nasty talks her shit on this song. And I love when Black women big up themselves. Rico deserves. She raps about selling out shows, her come up, and even gives us some advice on loving ourselves and blocking out the haters. I can get jiggy with all of that.

My most replayed? Mood. Splurge’s deep bass vocals and Rico’s energy just does something to me. It’s definitely a song you play when you want to prepare for a turn up or get your energy up. The title of the song actually matches the vibe of the song. Overall, this is definitely a project that shows Rico’s versatility & pure talent that she has. Well done, Rico and Kenny. You did it again.

Netflix Announces Beyoncé Special

Today, Netflix announced that they will be releasing a two-hour special of behind the scenes footage of Beyoncé’s iconic 2018 Coachella performance.

Beyoncé was the first Black woman to ever headline the popular, annual festival. Her performance paid homage to Black history, culture, art, and expression. And now, viewers will be able to have a peek at how Beyonce’s historical performance graduated from a concept to a movement.

Watch the trailer for Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé below.


Who Run The World?: Grammys 2019 Performers Revealed

Women ran 2018. Whether it be Music, TV, Movies or even Politics they made their presence known in 2018. And, at the top of 2019 the hustle continues. As with every year the nominees for Grammys have been a hot topic within every part of the music world. The performances get equally as much buzz but this year we have multiple women who have been nominated and who will also be performing.

At the top of the performance list we have arguably the most popular woman of 2018 Cardi B. Catapulting herself into the music world with 5 nominations and staying true to herself through it all it’s safe to say her performance will be one not to miss. We also have Janelle Monae who’s got two nominations this year and has been in the game for a minute but has finally gained the full attention of the masses she’s long deserved with multiple acting roles as well as one of the best albums of 2018. If you’ve seen her perform before you already know what’s going down and if you haven’t do yourself a favor and get familiar.

We’ve also got performances from Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes and more who can be seen live when the show airs. Oh also…the original Superwoman herself Alicia Keys is hosting so you already know the wardrobe changes will be on point and hopefully the script/jokes they give her will be too.

The Grammys will air February 10th at 8pm ET on CBS.

Ariana Grande vs. Everybody – Ariana’s New Single ‘7 Rings’ Has Artists Crying Theft

This week, Ariana Grande dropped a new single titled 7 Rings. The song is very different from Ariana’s signature pop/r&b style. The song and video for 7 Rings draws from Trap musical styles and Ariana makes her rap debut. On the chorus she raps, “I want it, I got it. You like my hair? Gee, thanks! Just bought it.” On first listen, 7 Rings sounds like Ariana was taking notes from Beyonce on Apesh*t. But other artists such as Princess Nokia and Soulja Boy are calling foul.

Princess Nokia took to social media to point out the similarities between her song, Mine, and Ariana’s 7 Rings. Princess Nokia posted a video of herself as she plays both tracks and sarcastically asks, “Does that sound familiar to you? It sounds really familiar to me.” The chorus on both tracks are nearly identical. To add fuel to the fire, Princess Nokia insinuates that Ariana Grande is using cultural appropriation to get ahead. She asks, “Isn’t that the little song I wrote about Brown women and their hair? Hmm. Sounds about white (right).”

Others feel that Ariana may have stolen from an old 2 Chainz song, Spend It. Once again, the lyrics and melody for the song are eerily similar.

Even Soulja Boy aka Big Drako felt like he had been ripped off. Ariana, Princess Nokia, and 2 Chainz might have all been inspired by Soulja Boy’s flow on the 2010 single Pretty Boy Swag. Soulja Boy took to twitter and called Ariana a ‘thief’. He also tweeted, “Stop stealing my swag. Give me my credit. Period”.

Ariana Grande addressed the claims of cultural appropriation in the The Shade Room’s comment section. She wrote, “Thanks for opening the conversation and like… to everyone for talking to me about it. It’s never my intention to offend anybody.”

Despite the controversy, 7 Rings has become Spotify’s most streamed song in the first 24 hours with over 14 million streams.

Future Introduces New Persona On Album “Future HNDRXX Presents: The WIZRD”

Future released his seventh studio album, “Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD”, an alter-ego that has been an enigma to listeners. Future explains to Pitchfork that the WIZRD was dubbed from his late uncle, of whom assigned Future the name because he was said to “always be on top of everything and had all the answers.”

Future doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before on this album, but it isn’t necessary. With songs produced by Tay Keith, Southside, Wheezy, and more, the fast paced tracks make for a quick, upbeat 62 minute listen, that channels the classic Future sound while still introducing a new side.

On the song “Stick to the Models” Future admits to the end of his consumption of lean. This new persona is a more intricate take on his usual tale of rags to riches, emphasizing points of never going back to a lifestyle that could bring him down on songs like “Never Stop”. Future talks about being a businessman, a father, and overall influencer on this project, showing that HNDRXX the WIZRD is in fact, our favorite trap magician.

Watch the video for the first single off of the album entitled “Crushed Up” and stream the entire abum below.

//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Fembed%2Falbum%2F3LpIwZdzFwc10psLingT8x&url=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Falbum%2F3LpIwZdzFwc10psLingT8x&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.scdn.co%2Fimage%2F9327e4ef81e7edd9df095feda3ddf6d3146bf523&key=c6502efcb3c84824bc6c1f27d683be13&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=spotify&wmode=opaque

Ariana Grande’s New Single “7 Rings” Just Dropped

『七つの指輪』 or “7 Rings” is Ariana Grande’s newest single that dropped at midnight on Friday, January 18. The music video features Ariana and her friends blinged-out, dressed in pink and pouring champagne with Japanese writing and props sprinkled in. She sings (and raps) to a tune reminiscent of the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things” from the musical, “The Sound of Music”.

“I see it/I like it/I want it/I got it”––Ariana sings about getting anything and everything she wants, not only for herself, but for “six of [her] bitches” too. She’s been posting pictures and videos on Instagram and Twitter of her and the six friends she bought rings with, which was what inspired the song.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In December, Ariana Grande tweeted about where the idea for the song came from.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The song has a different sound than Ariana Grande’s other tracks, and you can check out『七つの指輪』on iTunes, Spotify and Youtube.

Boi-1da On Collabs with Drake, J Balvin, & More in 2019

Boi-1da stopped by The Cruz Show and talked about his Grammy nominations and artists he’ll be collaborating with in 2019. The Canadian has been nominated for the Producer of the Year award at this year’s Grammys. He’s up against heavyweights, Kanye West and Pharrell. However his work with Drake, Cardi B, and G-Eazy, might finally earn the 12-time nominated producer the coveted gilded record player.

Boi-1da was slightly hesitant about revealing what projects he was most excited about in 2019 because it’s “classified”. But he decided to spill a few beans and disclose that he has upcoming projects with Drake, J Balvin, Prince Royce, and Romeo Santos. He is also planning to put out a compilation album this year.

When asked about what advice he would give to someone trying to come up in the game as a producer, Boi-1da’s response was simple. “Get Fruity Loops. Keep pushing because it’s really a struggle. There’s a billion people trying to do this.”

Watch the full interview below.

How The Blog Era Shaped Hip Hop

Before streaming services we had to use the internet in a different way to discover new artists. Nowadays we can just go to the Related Artists tab and let the algorithm do its job. Or, we just let our phone hear a song and then let it tell us all about it. But before all these advancements we had relied on Blogs to put us on to what’s new. This gave localized artists a platform to reach the world and allowed mutuals to connect via their appreciation for an artist.

Benefits of the Repost

Paying for reposts is something that people either agree with or disagree with. The fact is they are a great way to get exposure especially if the account doing the reposting has real and active followers. During the Blog Era however, this process was slightly different. The writers would find the artists on their own and reach out to them about posting their music. Sites like The Masked Gorilla, No Jumper, 2DopeBoyz and DJBooth have been doing it this way since their origins and thus have reached a high level of respect amongst those in the music industry.  This showed that the writers had a genuine interest in the music and thus established a mutually beneficial relationship between the two of them. On the artists end they would tell other people to check the blog out thus increasing page views and respect within the world of hip hop. On the writers end, their reputation would increase positively and more artists would reach out to them thus increasing opportunities for them in multiple areas. Nowadays we have people like DJ Akademiks and Joe Budden who are pretty much loved or hated depending on who you ask (while I think the feeling is pretty unanimous for AK) But, the point remains that a co-sign from either of these men means something.

New Sounds Emerge

Before I typed this I went to see what the Billboard Hot 100 songs from 2010 were. And let me say…it was a GREAT year. Bedrock, Find Your Love, Deuces, Empire State of Mind and multiple others all came out that year. Crazy right? Overall the core sound of this year in the mainstream that year was catchy hooks… not repetitive – catchy. There is a difference. And, production on all these songs was not trap based as it is now but a variety of sounds that make you feel good or emotional. Drum patterns were closer to boom bap but weren’t quite as simple. During this time you could really only find trap based production on mixtapes hosted by Trapaholics or 808 Mafia which could be found on DatPiff and LiveMixtapes. In the underground, artists like SpaceGhostPurrp and the members of his group Raider Klan were putting the South Florida sound on the map with pitched down looped vocal samples and eerie melodies paired with trap production. Many blogs connected these artists to the style of 3 6 Mafia and thus put the South back on the radar since Lil Jon and his associated acts had since faded away. However with the success of Hard In Da Paint which released in 2010 that sound and style officially hit the mainstream courtesy of Virginia (My hometown of Suffolk specifically) based producer Lex Luger who had a variety of production credits under his belt already with Juicy J and other mixtapes. After this he had hit after hit under his belt including H.A.M, BMF, Hustle Hard and even That Way. (Yes – the Maybach Music song) With these songs and Versace from the Migos hitting the radio in Summer 2012 it was safe to say that the trap based production style was officially broken through and was here to stay. Sites had been vouching for the Migos years prior, praising their unique flows and energy (and of course ad -libs) and thus helped fuel the style we are accustomed to (and sometimes annoyed with) now.

Success Is Earned By Making The Right Moves

As I mentioned earlier, a co sign from the right place can catapult an artist to an entirely different level of success. In 2010-2012 we were still checking WorldStar regularly (right?) and that was a key place for an artist to blow up. Eventually, artists would make their music videos “WorldStarHipHop Exclusives” so the site and the artist could benefit from the immense success. Artists like Chief Keef and his associated acts in the Chicago Drill Movement benefited from this website greatly. Also at this time Young Money was in full effect with Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Tyga grabbing a feature on practically every single released during this time period in addition to doing songs together. Blogs praised Drake for his ability to transition between singing and rapping and Nicki for putting females MCs back on the radar with confidence and bars to match.

While people continue to say “Blogs are dead” and various artists have voiced their distaste for the way they are run now, there are still some out there that support the up and coming talent. While the bigger sites seem to have been overrun with gossip there’s no doubt that there was a time when they all shined for providing insightful and intriguing content.