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Written Before Listen

Dreamville is the infamous hip-hop collective that is led by none other than J Cole. Other notable stars in this group are JID and Earthgang but as a collective, I think all members range in skill level. For instance, I think JID is leagues better than everyone else in this group including J Cole. I think artists like Bas, Omen, Cozz, and Lute don’t have anything that outstanding about them other than some solid technicality and Earthgang have its moments. When they dropped “Revenge Of The Dreamers III” in 2019, we were able to get summer jams like “Under the Sun”, “Down Bad” and “Costa Rica” alongside some other notables. This time around, we have a mixtape hosted by none other than DJ Drama so without further ado, let’s get into it.


Despite being 8 full members of Dreamville, there were multiple features on this mixtape. The opener “Stick” features energetic features from Kenny Mason and Sheck Wes but JID for some reason sounds too tired to be on this track. We also have two 2 Chainz features with the songs “Ghetto Gods Freestyle” and “Barry From Simpson” and these are two of the least energetic 2 Chainz features I’ve heard in a long time. After “Ghetto Gods Freestyle” we have “Lifestyle” where Bas teams up with A$AP Ferg and Ferg annihilates the track turns out to be one of my favorites on the mixtape. The song “Hair Salon” seems to be a West Coast anthem as it features G Perico and Reason and G Perico and Cozz do good in their respective parts, but Reason just always sounds like he doesn't want to be there. I know that he’s lyrical and has some bars, but he is just so boring personality-wise to take him as more than just a TDE signee. After that first half though, we have no more features other than that second 2 Chainz feature. I don’t know if this mixtape needed features, so it makes sense that I could take or leave them.


Let’s talk about the members themselves. J Cole gets 3 appearances. A forgettable feature on “Stick”, the unnecessary ego boost on “Freedom Of Speech” and luckily a solid ending with “Heaven’s EP”. JID gets 2 appearances and with “Stick”, he doesn’t stick with the energy that Kenny and Sheck have, and on “Barry From Simpson”, he is the lone redeeming quality. He is legit going off but the mix of the beat is bad and the 2 Chainz feature does absolutely nothing. Earthgang gets 3 songs which include the “Ghetto Gods Freestyle”, “Jozi Flows” and “Everybody Ain’t Shit”. The first two songs have solid Earthgang performances but “Everybody Ain’t Shit” is in my opinion one of the worst songs on the album on all fronts. Bas gets two songs and underperforms on both, Lute continues to stay one of the strongest lyrically on Dreamville on his appearances, Cozz gets 3 songs and one of them is just him freestyling over “Who Shot Ya” and if you ask me, that might just be the most cliche thing to do on any mixtape whatsoever. That beat is just so overdone for me to take any freestyle over it seriously. Omen has some solid verses but his two contributions have no impact on me, but in my opinion, the star of this mixtape was Ari Lennox. Her two songs are two of the best on the mixtape and she proves herself to be a strong R&B singer. So overall, I think J Cole does a pretty bad job at not only promoting but signing original artists as the only people that stand out to me are JID, Earthgang, and Ari. The rest of these people are just as forgettable as the next guy.

DJ Drama

Let’s now get to the host of this mixtape, DJ Drama. DJ Drama recently played a pivotal role on “Call Me If You Get Lost” and I think he works for the aesthetic of this mixtape, but there are some instances where he just lowers the track enjoyment factor by yelling something random. I know that's what DJs are supposed to do, but he proceeds to mention the Will Smith and Chris Rock incident 2 weeks after the event happened. I guess what I'm trying to say Is that DJ Drama is nothing more or less than DJ Drama here and you rather like it or not.


Now to the most problematic part of this mixtape. The production of this thing is mixed awfully. From the poorly mixed 808s on nearly every track to the dry vocals on most tracks, this sounds like a leak. I know the aesthetic of a mixtape is supposed to be raw and incomplete, but this just sounds distractingly bad. The beats themselves aren’t the worst, but my problem with them is that they aren’t decent enough to distract the poorly mixed sound of this mixtape.

Favorite Tracks

To be honest, nearly every track was mid in my opinion. I guess “Lifestyle” was kind of fun, the Ari Lennox tracks were solid, and the “Heavens EP” track at the end had a good beat, but overall, this was just ok.


I know that I’ve given Dreamville numerous amounts of flack with the J Cole review, the Earthgang review and now this, but I know that most of them are skilled lyricists but as a group, they are just ok. I think JID is leagues above everyone else in that label and I think Forest Hills Drive is a great album, but other than some exceptions, Dreamville just doesn’t impress me.



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