Following the announcement that the J. Cole lead label Dreamville had officially signed a partnership with legendary Interscope Records, Cole, also celebrating his 29th birthday on the same day, released a free 11 track mixtape entitled Revenge Of The Dreamers. Boasting a pretty impressive record of two number one albums and a handful of gold and platinum selling singles it is apparent that Cole is eager to use his still-rising status to let others shine. The mixtape introduces Dreamville’s small, but talented roster, including Bas, Omen and K-Quick, with Cole also featuring on tracks and intertwining with freestyles.
J. Cole starts off things nicely with a 52 second freestyle over Tupac’s ‘Ambitionz Az a Ridah’ before handing over the baton to the rest of the team, starting off with Bas. Having featured on Cole’s past two EPs Truly Yours 2 ‘Cousins’ and Truly Yours 3 ‘New York Times‘ and also having his own mixtape series called Quarter Water Raised Me, Bas has already built a steady fan base and reputation. It’s with no doubt that signing to Dreamville will further elevate the American rapper’s career, and rightly so. The lyrically agile MC carries on strongly with ‘Golden Goals’ after the short cut from Cole. Much like Cole, Bas demonstrates a smooth and classical flow, on this track rapping over a spaced out bass-eager beat. It’s no surprise that he has been a favourite of Cole’s for a while now, showing great similarities to the man himself.
Next up is Chicago rapper Omen, who fluidly carries on with ‘Motion Picture’. His introspective storytelling stands out from the rest, and having already produced some of his own tracks, he shows an understanding of how to craft a good song. Despite the early promises, the mixtape doesn’t exactly set the world alight, and after getting introduced to the artists and their certain styles the mixtape just falls flat. The classic styles of all three tend to clash with the eleven tracks mostly sounding like a long, drawn-out record that is stuck on repeat. Cole’s features carry the mixtape through, but the best song on the EP ‘Lit’ features all three rappers with Dreamville’s own K-Quick singing the hook. ‘Revenge of the Dreamers’ and ‘Blowin Smoke’ are also highlights from Cole.
Following in the footsteps of other new rap collectives like Top Dawg Entertainment and Odd Future, Revenge Of The Dreamers shows that Dreamville does possess some really talented and promising rappers. With Cole’s guidance they will surely produce much better material, and with Bas and Omen releasing new projects in the next couple months we will have to wait and see.
First published: February 11, 2014