In the past, J Cole has strayed away from the limelight to focus on his craft, and in doing so, hasn’t been eager to collaborate with other artists.
Some fans seem to defend his absences by saying, “J Cole went platinum with no features,” but this summer, he decided to shock everyone and do something nobody in the rap world has done before.
The very title he gained is a reputation he no longer wants to have. His recording label Dreamville came up with a project, something that had seemingly never been done before and some wondered if it would actually work.
Dreamville Records started to send out invites, and it wasn’t for an exclusive party. The invitations were posted on social media with the respective invitee’s names plastered at the top. The invites read: “Your presence and participation are requested for the recording sessions of the upcoming compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III.”
The beginning of the “Revenge of the Dreamers” series started with the focus on only Dreamville artists, allowing them to all shine together and make great music, but now they wanted to collaborate with anyone and everyone willing to join them.
Cole told XXL Magazine he finally felt it was time for him to embrace collaborations and shake off the stigma that he doesn’t do features. He wanted these sessions to breed comfort not only for other artists but also for himself.
“It’s like a super-collaborative environment — inviting, welcoming,” Cole said. “That’s taken me time to learn. I’ve just started learning that lesson about four years ago [with 2014] Forest Hills Drive. Let me listen more. Let me allow people into this world.”
So this led to Dreamville making sort of a retreat for artists to come and showcase their talent, a music shark tank of sorts. Dreamville used one studio with 12 studio setups and sent out 334 invites with only four cameras; not to mention it took them 10 sleepless nights and they recorded an insane number of 142 songs using up 257.65 GB of storage for the music.
Fans then wondered how Dreamville was going to produce this super secret album with a plethora of songs and no hint of who would officially be on it.
Finally, on July 5, 2019, Dreamville released one complete album named “Revenge of the Dreamers III” with 18 final songs, 34 artists, 27 producers, and 9 Dreamville artists.
Cole took to Twitter shortly before the album dropped to say, “Revenge album dropping 2nite. Know that this album represents the community and the unheard unsung artist that fight and bleed daily to be felt. There will be someone you never heard of on this album. Look them up and support them if they resonate with you. A follow goes a long way.”
Similar to the Avengers, this album comes with every artist ready to take over, with songs that satisfy every mood and feeling a fan would want in one compilation album.
The introduction to the album is called “Under The Sun” featuring J. Cole, Lute and Da Baby with a surprise hook from everyone’s favorite missing rapper, Kendrick Lamar. This song sets the tone for fans to know they will be in a variety of surprises with every listen.
Many listeners can appreciate the somber tones of Ari Lenox as she infuses emotions of love, the much-needed songs from J.I.D Bas that speak on overcoming the haters, and the sounds of other Dreamville artists.
It features widely known artists like T.I. and Ty Dolla $ign with a company of under the radar artists and producers looking to make a name for themselves. A collaborative album that brought the best out of every artist and producer is something you don’t see very often.
Dreamville closed out the album with their last song, “Sacrifices,” featuring J. Cole, EARTHGANG, Smino and Saba. Each artist describes their sacrifices for success and their appreciation to every person that helped them.
The music world is craving for lyricists, improved beats and the occasional verse that makes you play it back three times and quote it for an Instagram caption, not to mention the sour-lemon face you make when you hear a verse that just blows you away.
J Cole and the Dreamville crew accomplished what they set out to do; they gave fireworks to everyone willing to listen. “Revenge of the Dreamers III” is an album that allows everyone to succeed in a way that inspires you to climb the mountaintop while bringing someone up with you.
This time fans are hoping J. Cole will stick around in the spotlight and keep letting people into his secluded world.
He explained in his documentary that he doesn't want to regret only working with himself and not others: "I don't want to look back 20 years from now and be like, 'I never worked with nobody, I had no fun.’”
So, for now, fans can relish in the idea that just maybe Cole will appear with more artists or even go platinum with features.