It’s not always easy to close an album, especially one as ambitious and eclectic as Revenge Of The Dreamers 3. Yet when in doubt, an emotionally powerful track is often a safe bet, as it serves to add greater thematic resonance to the album as a whole. That’s exactly how J. Cole and Ibrahim H decided to wrap up their latest compilation, with a powerful release from EarthGang’s Johnny Venus, Smino, Saba, and big Jermaine himself. The six-plus minute song sets a reflective tone off the bat, as Venus slides through with the opening verse. Melodic in approach, Venus’ emotionally-strained cadence speaks to the depth of his experience; suffice it to say, Mirrorland better be en route shortly.

Smino, aka “Atlanta Claus,” comes through next, riding the beat with a masterful and unique flow. Saba picks up where he left off, delivering some of the album’s strongest wordplay, though such a fierce competition might be difficult to judge. Yet it’s J. Cole who manages to bring everything to a head, laying everything on the line in one of the most vulnerable and personal verses of his career. Upon revealing that he and his wife are expecting their second child, Cole admits to feeling the tears flowing down his face. A powerful statement from an equally powerful project.

Quotable Lyrics

Huggin’ the block, huggin’ the block all day
I had nowhere to go, she gave me a place to stay
She gave me her heart to hold, I still got that shit to this day
She ridin’ with me on the road, she ridin’ with me in the A
Huggin’ the block, huggin’ the block, okay
She gave me the gift of my son, and plus we got one on the way
She gave me a family to love, for that, I can never repay
I’m crying while writing these words, the tears, they feel good on my face