How Dreamville’s ‘Revenge of the Dreamers III’ Album Rollout Redefines the Meaning of Collaboration

Dreamville can pat themselves on the back. They’ve made a positive impact with this rollout and set the bar high for the rest of 2019

The art of the album rollout is constantly evolving. Surprise releases, flooding the market with double albums and short EPs crafted for playlist placement are just a few of the prominent strategies we’ve seen utilized over the past few years.

Out of all the major hip-hop imprints shaping promotional trends and tactics, Dreamville is at the top of their class, consistently executing marketing campaigns worthy of a Gary V motivational video. J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive and K.O.D are surely high marks on their report card due to their personal touch and social relevance. But Dreamville recently announced Revenge of the Dreamers III and, while the project is only a few days into its creation, the compilation has garnered hip-hop’s undivided attention and already stands out as one of their most imaginative rollouts yet.

The concept of Revenge of the Dreamers III is simple in practice. From January 6–16, the Dreamville team and company are congregating in an Atlanta studio to craft the project from start to finish. Invitational flyers asking for artist’s presence and participation in the recording sessions provide wide-ranging ideas of who may appear on the project. Wisely extending far beyond the Dreamville roster, every artist posting the flyer with their name on it is receiving widespread applause and congratulations, increasing intrigue into the project as a whole.

Implementing a fan-friendly, social media geared approach may not seem like an extraordinary achievement. But these sessions aren’t buzzing solely because of Instagram content. The making of the album has morphed into a cultural spectacle, unfolding in real-time and open to the entire community for our feedback on who else should be invited to the party, kicking off 2019 with some welcomed speculation. Are we going to hear J Cole over a Tay Keith beat? Is J.ID. going to keep out-rapping everyone? Will Kendrick pop up at the last minute to break the hip-hop internet? So many questions with answers unveiling themselves day by day as we all tune in.

It takes a village to execute a vision involving so many moving parts. But Dreamville devised a masterful plan. Centralize a massive-scale operation and focus on what really matters: the artists who deserve a seat at the table and the people who consume the final product. And most importantly, the potential in this rollout isn’t limited to these ten days in the studio. Opening the doors to J Cole-helmed sessions within an industry that seems closed off by the gatekeeper mindset lays a foundation for what the future could look like for the next generation of creatives. One where openness and the freedom to exchange ideas through different perspectives and levels of expertise shapes the music and how it’s presented to the world.

It would have been easy for Dreamville to stay inside their immediate circle and rely on a few notable features to build hype for ROTD III. The real beauty in this rollout lies in its devotion to building community. Dreamville is evening the playing field with the right A&R’s and behind-the-scenes creatives recruiting lesser known, rising artists/producers and putting them in the same room with chart-topping musicians. Talent rises to the top rather than name recognition, a refreshing stance in a time when online popularity often dictates industry success.

Surely it’s not realistic for every artist with their name on a Dreamville flyer to make the cut on Revenge of the Dreamers III. The leftover music in the vault should be plentiful. But even with no knowledge of how album will materialize musically, what’s certain is Dreamville creating unforgettable experiences for the young artists involved in the process, offering valuable takeaways that will stay with them their entire careers.

Redefining how to promote a work in progress, Revenge of the Dreamers III is a real-time manifestation of creative collaboration and everyone’s along for the ride in a way that’s never been done before. In its third installment, all of the dreamers, from the starters to the players who’ve been waiting patiently on the sidelines, are getting their shot on ROTD III. As the anticipation heightens and the project unveils itself piece by piece, Dreamville can pat themselves on the back. They’ve made a positive impact with this rollout and set the bar high for the rest of 2019.

Eric Bernsen is a Boston-based writer and creative, with bylines at publications such as DJ Booth, Passion of the Weiss and more. Find him on Twitter (@ebernsen) and Instagram (@ebernsen).

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