J. Cole, Saba, EARTHGANG & Smino Bring 1 Of Dreamville’s Most Heartfelt Songs To Video
Earlier this year, when J. Cole and his label Dreamville set out to make another entry in their Revenge Of The Dreamers compilation series, many fans and critics were ecstatic. Apart from its diverse and increasingly sprawling roster, the label sending invites to a reported 343 artists and producers to attend the album’s recording sessions added to the excitement. Of those invited musicians, 35 artists and 27 producers contributed to the final cut of the (chart-topping) album, including Vince Staples, Young Nudy, Maxo Kream, Bink!, Buddy, and Guapdad 4000. As shown in a David Peters-directed companion documentary, the environment created a culture of comradery as well as classic competition.
One of the standout cuts from the record features close affiliates Saba and Smino joining alongside Dreamville label-mates J. Cole and EARTHGANG, for a song called “Sacrifices.” That now comes to video. Whereas one of the early singles “Down Bad” showed off a breezy display of fire-spitting raps from J.I.D, Bas, EARTHGANG and J. Cole, “Sacrifices” shows the label’s talents with handling a more melodic side. EARTHGANG member Johnny Venus lays down a captivating hook and extra cool set of verses.
Over a smooth guitar track and easygoing snare, Johnny Venus spastically raps four-word bars with an extra hint of sensory overload by way of stereo fading. The Neo-Soul-influenced St. Louis, Missouri rapper Smino steps up for the song’s third verse, spitting his game and delivering a breakneck flow: “Of course I (of course I) / Endorse my (endorse my) / Ratchet-ass ni**a from the North Side (North Side) / It’s astigmatism, you got poor sight (poor sight), Let the b*tches forget it, I do it Alzheim’ / Of course I (of course I), gotta voice my (voice my), Opinion on that ass when you walk past.”
The Chicago native Pivot Gang rapper Saba, who dazzled Ambrosia For Heads and many more last year with his record CARE FOR ME, takes the song’s fourth verse with an intense set of bars felt from the heart: “Look at what a motherf*cker do for the cash intake / They’ll be right across your head like it’s Ash Wednesday / You got to just get off your ass like your ass is fake / You can’t sit, and if we ain’t siblings, then I can’t relate / To they sh*t, I’m Asic, I run sh*t, I got it jumpin’ like pump fake / I don’t need nothing but one take / I’m from the part of the city where young ni**a keep him a nine like one-plus-eight.”
Head honcho J. Cole closes the song out with two verses, feeding off of the energy provided by Saba, Smino and Venus, and delivering some of his most confident bars to date. He begins his stanza with intimate rhymes: “You can’t be everything to everybody, I wanna be your lover, your best friend / Your Batman, Spider-Man, fighter pilot shooting down your rivals and I wanna d*mn near kill you to be the one that heal you up / I wanna be the one that feel you up / On nights when you need good d*ck to cheer you up / I wanna be the one to build you up / A wall worth five billion bucks to keep out the rah-rah
/ And the blah-blah-blah, so nobody try to steal your thunder / Pull you under, toss my hopes out, Royal Rumble / We done moved out to The Boondocks, built a big house, there he wonders / How somewhere along the way, he went from ‘Huey’ to ‘Eddie Wuncler.’” His flow’s switch ups on the song’s closer are impressive, and his lyrics are some of the most potent on the record.
The music video, which boasts some impressive production, ends on a visual of EARTHGANG member Jenny Venus’ mother. The visual itself was shot on the one-year-anniversary of the death of Venus’ father, Milton Ahdwele Fann, whom the video is dedicated to. Notably, this song is co-produced by Groove Chambers (with Henny Tha Business), whose Tree Sounds Studios played host to the sessions. He previously made “Awnaw” for The Nappy Roots.
Several selections from ROTD3 are available on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist.