J. Cole, Lute & DaBaby Show Why NC Is 1 Of Hip-Hop’s Hottest States Under The Sun

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Dreamville continues to celebrate this year’s release of Revenge Of The Dreamers III with more and more visuals. The label’s collaborative record dropped this summer and presented vocals from each member of the collective: J. Cole, J.I.D, Bas, Lute, Ari Lennox, Cozz, Omen, and EarthGang. Just a month ago, Heads got a visual for the album’s closer, “Sacrifices,” featuring EARTHGANG and J. Cole, as well as rappers Smino and Saba, delivering some of their most heartfelt lyrics to date. Now, the label is blessing us with a music video for “Under The Sun,” a standout Soul-sampling cut from the record, featuring three fire-spitters from North Carolina: J. Cole, Lute, and DaBaby. It’s also the song that opens the chart-topping compilation. In a 2019 that also includes stellar albums by Rapsody (Eve), Little Brother (May The Lord Watch), and plenty of incredible creations by 9th Wonder & The Soul Council, this is just one more reason to root for the diverse and dynamic Rap scene in the state.

The song begins with a sample of The Argo Singers’ “I’ll Be Waiting for You,” vinyl crackles, pops, and all. Cole takes the track’s first verse. He slyly transitions his flow through the short burst of braggy bars: “I been on the craziest wave, if I’m on the stage / An M is my minimum wage / This ain’t no kennel, behave, Ni**as is with all that barking, we send ’em a stray / So in a way we the dogcatchers, how many bullets your dawg catchin’? / Sawed-off, raw dog fashion / Hauled off, hope God-catch-him.

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Kendrick Lamar hops on the song’s two bar hook for an un-credited feature, as Charlotte’s Lute keeps up Cole’s pace with his second verse. He spits: “Potato over my gun, I move in silence ’cause ni**as be clocking my funds / When they should keep eye on they b*tch ’cause baby girl coming with son / Ni**as be judging my moves, but please tell me, what have you done? / My cousin might air out the party for fun / Pistol grips get to squeezing, wish a ni**a would like Liam Neeson / I don’t even need a reason, loyalty over treason.

One of North Carolina’s latest breakout stars, DaBaby takes the song’s third verse. The Charlotte, North Carolina-raised rapper kicks it up a notch, riding the song with a perfectly matched flow: “I just put diamonds on all of my teeth, now they probably think I ain’t intelligent / In the H*micide Unit interrogation, asking questions, you know I ain’t tell ’em sh*t / B*tches call me a jock, all-American, I’m at the top of my class with my letterman / I remember back in college, b*tches knocking on my dorm door, I ain’t never let ’em in / Now you know that that’s cap, know I hit a few, Ain’t no job, I’m selling gas like I’m Jiffy Lube / I had a freak, used to f*ck while her boyfriend in class, I hit her from the back from like 10-to-2 / No back and forth with these rappers / They mention me, dissin’ me, no talkin’ back, I won’t mention you / Watch, when I come put that iron on your ass and I dip, they gon’ want me to snitch in my interviews / I’m on fire, b*tch, I’m lit, but I’m really cool / Don’t acknowledge the shrimps when they ridicule / They don’t come out after dark / B*tch, I swim with the sharks / You ain’t got enough heart, get a bigger pool / Wanna fight but he bigger, I ain’t really trippin’, reach under my shirt, grab a bigger tool / I got a Glock with a d*ck, let’s get physical / They gon’ be hollerin’ out, ‘RIP,’ and they missin’ you / They got me started, I might as well finish it, I’m from Charlotte, you know how these ni**as do.”

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Directed by Scott Lazer, Aisultan Seitov, David Peters and Chad Tennies, the video shows the trio as three Rap stars putting on for the state they call home. Revenge Of The Dreamers III is out now, while an expanded, deluxe edition of the album is on the way. This song and others from the compilation are currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist.

In March, DaBaby dropped Baby On Baby. Last year, J. Cole released the chart-topping KOD, named one of AFH‘s best of ’18. In late ’17, Lute released West 1996, Pt. 2 on Dreamville.

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#BonusBeat: The recent music video “Sleep Deprived,” featuring Lute, King Mez, Omen, and Davionne: