First Listen #5: Dreamville’s ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director’s Cut’ (but only the new songs!)

So I have a confession to make before I even get into this review. I have not listen to all of the original version of Revenge of the Dreamers III. Go ahead and cue the boos. I’m sorry. I tried. The first couple of songs were good, but it quickly went down hill for me and I couldn’t finish listening to the whole thing. I did skip around and found some gems like “Wells Fargo,” but I concluded that some of the songs sounded unfinished, sounded like there were too many people on them, or sounded like everyone on the song was rapping like they were not gonna be on a song together.

And that’s the same way these 12 songs felt. But I listened to all of them this time.

The second piece of RODT III opens up with “Big Black Truck.” I had seen it get hyped up by JID stans on Twitter and expected a lot from it. I wasn’t completely disappointed, but it definitely felt overhyped. The production was AMAZING, JID spit per usual. But I feel like I’ve heard better songs from him (e.g. “Underwear,” “Off Deez,” his verse on “Fried Rice.”) So I wasn’t super confident after listening to it. That lack of confidence continued into the next few songs, “Still Up,” “Outta Pocket,” “Late Night,” “Spin Move,” and “Bussit.” I would have liked “Late Night” better without the autotuned chorus from Landstrip Chip, which sounded like it was from a different song. Bas’s flow on “Outta Pocket” feels too similar to his flow from other songs, even though he was spitting. Reason’s verse on that track was unimpressive. “Still Up” was fine – Doctur Dot went TF OFF. Saba and Smino were the best parts of “Spin Move;” I really think Roxanne from The Hics could have been left off. Again, it felt like she was in a different song. “Bussit,” was the only song from the first half of the 12 new songs that I kinda vibed with, though I probably wouldn’t revisit it.

“Passcode,” the beginning of the second half of the new songs, was when I started to realize that these songs didn’t seem thought through all the way. But I’ll get into that at the end. Shout out to Guapdad at the end of that track LOL.

“Up Up Away” was the first song that I actually really really enjoyed. I LOVE Vince’s intro at the beginning – he and JID sound amazing on this track together. Doctur Dot also came through with a heater verse. “No Chorus” was also really good. Everyone on this song absolutely KILLED their verse. I was super impressed with Dreezy’s verse. I have never heard anything from her before, but she definitely held it down. It was also nice to hear a woman go bar for bar with the guys and not just singing. The singing is definitely not problem, but there are TOO MANY fire women that can spit for them to not have ran up and down this damn project. Ari’s basically the only woman on here (even though I KNOW more were involved), and though I understand that she’s front and center as Dreamville’s leading lady, it’s a shame that Dreamville hoped to get the best spitters in the game and didn’t manage to get Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, or Noname.

“Disgusted” was another song that I really enjoyed. I loved the back and forth between Cozz and Childish Major. They both did their thing without the back and forth coming off as too cheesy. Omen rapping over the instrumental on “Revenge” was an absolutely BLESSED. He has a jazziness in his voice that paired so well with Kal Banx’s production. Reason also went in; he delivered the most TDE-verse he ever could deliver. I could hear the influence of all the other guys on TDE spewing out of his mouth on this verse, and it was beautiful. I loved that he could bring in that same feeling and evoke the folks from TDE, without them needing to be there. I do wish Ari was not on this track, though. There were some moments where they could have taken Ari’s “oohs” and “aahs” out and just let the instrumental vibe out. 6lack and JID bodied “Still Dreamin'” – so did Lute. I hated the chorus though lol; it comes off a little cheesy. Like some kind of cheesy indie movie where folks didn’t think they were gonna make it through, but they did, which might be the vibe they were hoping for. But it didn’t work, and was a disappointing end to this otherwise very strong last 6 tracks. And the 30 tracks that make up this monster of a project.

Overall, I’m disappointed. There are people on here that I’ve been listening to for years that I expected more from, but it just wasn’t there for me. Combined, all of the people on this second part of RODT III have over a decade of experience in the game and this project sounds like it’s coming from a group of people who have only been doing this music shit for a few months. And granted, this is the first time some of the people who were tapped to be on this project have worked together, so I can understand it being a little shaky, but that shouldn’t be reflected in a project that has gotten released…twice.

There were a few moments on these 12 songs that were good. Saba and Smino killed everything they touched. JID is honestly the best part of RODT III. Childish Major was really good. Lute, Omen, Buddy (though there were a few questionable moments), EARTHGANG. Some of the other folks. Lyrically, the bars were there. And the production was absolutely incredible. But there is something about the project that doesn’t feel all the way done. It feels like a first pass that wasn’t given the chance to have the kinks worked through. And that’s the feeling I was left with on what I listened to from the original release. I really wanted to like this project more. I was soooooooo hype when I saw a lot of my favorite rappers get chosen to be a part of this project. It made me happy to see some potential collaborations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I wanted the energy that was brought on “Wells Fargo” where it was clear everyone wanted to be there and that there was something coming out of folks that was bringing them out of their comfort zones.

That doesn’t mean I’m not still here for all of these folks individually, though. I just would approach a project like this, in the future, with A LOT of caution.

Overall Album Rating

Featured Image Credit: https://genius.com/album_cover_arts/430212


(listen to Revenge of the Dreamers III, by clicking on the image below)

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