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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 5, 2019 | Dreamville - Interscope Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 27, 2016 | J. Cole - DreamVille

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2015 | J. Cole - DreamVille

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 4, 2019 | Dreamville - Interscope Records

Whereas the first two Revenge of the Dreamers compilations from J. Cole's Dreamville family were brief, pieced together with submissions, and almost exclusively in-house, Revenge of the Dreamers III is the opposite in each respect. Volume three is the result of sessions that took place during a ten-day period in suburban Atlanta at Tree Sound Studios, a facility large enough to accommodate a much bigger group than the 60-plus producers and rappers who made the cut. Valiantly shaped into this 18-track hour-long set, it's unavoidably a bit of a pile-up, a nonstop procession of rappers and singers fighting for space and pushing one another with verses and hooks that occasionally relate to one another. Cole makes an effort to tie it together. While he's the only one with a cut to himself -- the simultaneously grateful and imperious "Middle Child" -- he breaks from habitual solitude to participate in well over half of the other tracks, including the combative opener "Under the Sun" (with DaBaby, Dreamville's Lute, and uncredited Kendrick Lamar) and the reflective finale "Sacrifices" (among the many Dreamville-Spillage Village crossovers). More fascinating is hearing how the established and upcoming outsiders -- from Ty Dolla $ign, T.I., and Vince Staples to JID, Guapdad 4000, and Baby Rose -- fall into the mix of Dreamville artists. The communal energy is felt most when tracks such as the larcenous rumbler "Wells Fargo" and mellow group therapy cut "PTSD" break into collective chants. ~ Andy Kellman