Dreamville Records

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Dreamville Records
Dreamville-Records.jpg
Founded2007 (2007)
FounderJ. Cole
Ibrahim "Ib" Hamad
Distributor(s)
GenreHip hop, R&B
Country of originUnited States
Location
Official websitedreamville.com

Dreamville Records is an American record label founded by American rapper J. Cole and his manager Ibrahim Hamad. The label is currently distributed through Interscope Records, a unit of Universal Music Group. The label’s roster includes Bas , Ari Lennox, Cozz, Omen, Lute, JID, EarthGang, and Cole himself. Dreamville also houses American record producers Elite, Ron Gilmore, and Cedric Brown.[1]

History[edit]

2007–2012: Formation and early years[edit]

Rapper J. Cole founded the label in 2007

During the composition of The Come Up, Cole started his own record label in early 2007 with current Sudanese-American label president Ibrahim Hamad. Cole and Hamad met while attending St. John's University. Cole sought for an avenue to release his own music, while Hamad yearned to start a record label, prompting the two to team up to form Dreamville Records.[2] Rapper Omen has been affiliated with Dreamville since the beginning, Omen and Cole met on rapper Canibus chat forum at age 17, where they shared music.[3] Omen was also featured on Cole's mixtapes, The Warm Up (2009) and Friday Night Lights (2010). In 2011, Dreamville was associated with rapper Voli and alternative rock band StartYourOwnRebellion, while Dreamville was still in early formation as a vanity label imprint.[4][5]

2013–2014: Revenge of the Dreamers[edit]

The Dreamville Records logo has been changed in 2014, when the label signed a deal with Interscope

On January 28, 2014, at a show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, Cole announced that his Dreamville imprint had signed a distribution deal with Interscope Records. Attendees at the show received a flyer announcing the deal and a mixtape, titled Revenge of the Dreamers. On the same day Cole announced the signing of Queens-based rapper, Bas. Cole spoke with Billboard about the Interscope deal saying: "We've been dreaming about a label situation for years." "The deal's been official since late December, and we'd been working on it for a while before that, but it felt too important to just go out and yell it right when it happened. It needed a more grand announcement." Cole explained that talks with Interscope began when Joie Manda, Interscope president of urban music, reached out to him in 2013, Cole said: "I thought he wanted me to produce someone over there and I was excited about that, but then he told me that he really believed in me as an executive, a label CEO and a producer. A Dr. Dre to his Jimmy Iovine. He had the vision."[6]

2014–2016: Revenge of the Dreamers II[edit]

On June 26, 2014, J. Cole officially announced the signing of Los Angeles-based rapper, Cozz.[7] Omen didn't officially sign with the Interscope deal until after his debut album in 2015.[8] On December 8, 2015, Dreamville released a collaborative album titled, Revenge of the Dreamers II, officially announcing two new label signees, Charlotte rapper, Lute and Washington D.C. singer Ari Lennox.[9] In an interview with the Rap Radar Podcast, Ibrahim Hamad broke down the self-sufficiency of the artists on the label saying: "I like letting them figure out what their path is. I look at it like, because we learned what learned from Cole being signed, what I like to do is [say] ‘what is your vision, and let us help you’. I don't ever want to tell an artist no you can't do that, that's not fair to them."[10]

2017–2019: Revenge of the Dreamers III[edit]

On February 20, 2017 Dreamville announced the signing of East Atlanta-based rapper JID.[11] Dreamville announced the signing of duo EarthGang on August 31, 2017, the duo consist of Atlanta-based rappers Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot. Both EarthGang and JID had previously toured with Bas and Omen prior to signing to the label.[12][13]

On January 6, 2019, Dreamville announced a 10-day recording session in Atlanta for the label's third compilation album Revenge of the Dreamers III, ending on January 16.[14] During the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dreamville held multiple events scheduled for the weekend, starting with an exclusive limited edition merchandise pop-up shop, a Dreamville brunch, and a private concert featuring the artists on the label taking place after the All Star game.[15][16] On July 5, the label's third compilation album was released to critical acclaim from critics and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 115,000 album-equivalent units in its first week.[17] The album earned nominations for Best Rap Album at the 2020 Grammy Awards, while "Middle Child" and "Down Bad" were nominated for Best Rap Performance.[18] In April 2020, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[19]

Roster[edit]

Current artists[edit]

Act Year
signed
Releases
under the label
J. Cole 2007 (founder) 9
Omen 2009 1
Bas 2013 5
Cozz 2014 3
Lute 2015 2
Ari Lennox 2015 2
JID 2017 3
EarthGang 2017 2

In-house producers[edit]

Studio personnel
  • Juro "Mez" Davis (mixing and audio engineer)

The Dreamville Foundation[edit]

In October 2011, Cole established The Dreamville Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Foundation says that it was "created to 'bridge the gap' between the worlds of opportunity and the urban youth" of Cole's hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. With volunteers, the Foundation conducts philanthropic activities, such as an annual "Back To School Supply Giveaway" to provide supplies to school children.[28] The Foundation also launched a book club for young men and sponsored "The Nobody's Perfect Writing Contest and Mother's Day Brunch" for students. It sponsors an annual weekend of Fayetteville community events called the "Dreamville Weekend" that features a discussion with the Young Men's Book Club and Appreciation Dinner and a Career Day panel of African-American professionals in a variety of fields.[29]

In 2014, Cole purchased his childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for $120,000 through the Dreamville Foundation. The home had been repossessed from his mother years earlier, while Jermaine was attending college in New York. His plan is to turn the house into a homestead for single mothers and their children to live rent-free. In 2017 NFL player Colin Kaepernick donated $32,000 to the foundation. The money will fund multiple projects for the organization.[30]

In September 2018, the Dreamville Foundation unveiled a new initiative to aid victims of Hurricane Florence in Fayetteville, NC. According to the foundation's website, donated funds will go toward "hot food stations placed throughout the city, temporary housing options for families, and stocking of food pantries/shelters", as well as local charities that provide services to Fayetteville residents.[31]

Dreamville Festival[edit]

On April 27, 2018, J. Cole announced the Dreamville Festival, the festival featuring local music, culture, food and art, and also include a mix of up-and-comers and national acts. It is expected to be an annual festival.[32] However, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, the event was postponed from its original date. The festival was rescheduled and be held at the historic Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 6, 2019. The lineup included all of Dreamville's artists as well as SZA, Big Sean, Nelly, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Davido, Teyana Taylor, Saba, Rapsody, and Mez.[33] The Dreamville Festival plan to donate proceeds to the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy and the Dreamville Foundation.[34] The festival sold out with a capacity of 40,000 people to become the largest event in Raleigh. Ibrahim Hamad remarked on the festival saying "We're not like other companies that are based in a city. Our label is very much an idea, more so than an actual physical place. So you can create it and take it everywhere. To bring that into the festival—where you can just create a place and make it Dreamville and be able to bring people there—was always this cool goal. And that's what makes it unique. It's not based in an actual city. It's just based in our minds."[35]

For the 2020 season, the Dreamville Festival is front-of-jersey sponsor for USL Championship soccer team North Carolina FC.[36] The second annual festival was initially slated for April 4, 2020 however, due to the coronavirus pandemic it was postponed and eventually cancelled.[37]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Dreamville Ventures[edit]

On October 12, 2020, Dreamville announced the formation of Dreamville Ventures, a multi-disciplinary media company. Damien Scott is leading the division as president with Candace Rodney as executive vice president, overseeing daily operations including verticals across music, TV and film, publishing, apparel and live events. In a press release with Variety, Cole said: "Dreamville has always been a mom-and-pop operation with grand ambitions and ideas that extend far beyond music. The hiring of Damien and Candace not only expands our family business with two of the smartest and most capable executives in the industry, but allows us to take a massive leap towards turning those big ideas into reality."[38]

Dreamville Studios[edit]

On October 12, 2020, Dreamville Studios was launched, a content studio that will produce original and co-produced content, with Candace Rodney who serves as president of Dreamville Studios. Ibrahim Hamad said in a press release: "Dreamville is a brand we built from the ground up and the appointments of Damien and Candace allows us to take the company to levels we’ve always dreamed of while keeping our core values and beliefs at the forefront of our expansion."[39] Candace Rodney previously worked as Senior Vice President of Development at Wilmore Films, as well as positions at Sony Pictures Television, Lionsgate Television and Creative Artists Agency.[38]

Dreamville Films[edit]

Dreamville Films, Inc is an American entertainment company founded in 2015 that produces and distributes films. In 2015, they established a distribution deal HBO.[40] They released documentaries J. Cole: Road to Homecoming, Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming, and J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only in partnership with HBO.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Artist Album Details Peak chart positions Certification
US US
R&B/HH

US
Rap

J. Cole Born Sinner 1 1 1
Bas Last Winter
  • Released: April 27, 2014[43]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
103 18 13
Cozz Cozz & Effect
  • Released: October 3, 2014[44]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
160 31 17
J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive
  • Released: December 9, 2014[45]
  • Label: Dreamville, Roc Nation, Columbia
  • Format: CD, digital download
1 1 1
  • RIAA: 3× Platinum[42]
Omen Elephant Eyes
  • Released: June 21, 2015[46]
  • Label: Dreamville
  • Format: CD, digital download
Bas Too High to Riot
  • Released: March 4, 2016[47]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
49 7 6
J. Cole 4 Your Eyez Only
  • Released: December 9, 2016[48]
  • Label: Dreamville, Roc Nation, Interscope
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
1 1 1
JID The Never Story
  • Released: March 10, 2017[49]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, Spillage Village
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download
197
Lute West1996 pt. 2
  • Released: September 29, 2017[50]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
Cozz Effected
  • Released: February 13, 2018[51]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, Tha Committee
  • Format: CD, digital download
J. Cole KOD
  • Released: April 20, 2018[52]
  • Label: Dreamville, Roc Nation, Interscope
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
1 1 1
Bas Milky Way
  • Released: August 24, 2018[53]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
35 19 17
JID DiCaprio 2
  • Released: November 26, 2018[54]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, Spillage Village
  • Format: CD, digital download
41 21 17
Ari Lennox Shea Butter Baby
  • Released: May 7, 2019[55]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
67 38
EarthGang Mirrorland
  • Released: September 6, 2019[56]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, Spillage Village
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download
40 22 20
Spillage Village
(with JID & EarthGang)
Spilligion
  • Released: September 25, 2020[57]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, SinceThe80s
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download
141
J. Cole The Off-Season
  • Released: May 14, 2021
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope, Roc Nation
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
1 1 1
Lute Gold Mouf
  • Released: October 4, 2021
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: Digital download

Live albums[edit]

Artist Album Details Peak chart positions
US
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive: Live
  • Released: January 28, 2016[58]
  • Label: Dreamville, Roc Nation, Columbia
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
71

Compilations[edit]

Artist Album Details Peak chart positions Certification
US US
R&B/HH

US
Rap

Dreamville Revenge of the Dreamers
  • Released: January 28, 2014[59]
  • Label: Dreamville
  • Format: Digital download
Dreamville Revenge of the Dreamers II
  • Released: December 8, 2015[60]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, digital download
29 4 3
Dreamville Revenge of the Dreamers III
  • Released: July 5, 2019[61]
  • Label: Dreamville, Interscope
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
1 1 1

Extended plays[edit]

Artist Extended play Details
J. Cole Truly Yours
  • Released: February 12, 2013[63]
J. Cole Truly Yours 2
  • Released: April 30, 2013[64]
Bas Two Weeks Notice
  • Released: April 15, 2014[65]
Ari Lennox Pho
  • Released: October 21, 2016[66]
  • Chart positions: No. 20 U.S. R&B
Dreamville 1-888-88-DREAM
  • Released: June 12, 2019[67]
Dreamville ROTD3.COM
  • Released: July 1, 2019[68]
Bas Spilled Milk 1
  • Released: August 9, 2019[69]
Ari Lennox Shea Butter Baby (Remix EP)
  • Released: March 27, 2020[70]
J. Cole Lewis Street
  • Released: July 22, 2020[71]
Cozz Fortunate
  • Released: December 2, 2021[72]

Mixtapes[edit]

Artist Mixtape Details
J. Cole The Warm Up
  • Released: June 15, 2009[73]
J. Cole Friday Night Lights
  • Released: November 10, 2010[74]
  • Chart position: No. 7 U.S.
Bas Quarter Water Raised Me Vol. 2
  • Released: May 26, 2013[75]
Cozz Nothin Personal
  • Released: January 4, 2016[76]

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US US
R&B/HH
US
Rap
CAN NZ
Hot
"Down Bad"[77]
(with J. Cole, JID, Bas & EarthGang featuring Young Nudy)
2019 64 26 22 69 10 Revenge of the Dreamers III
"Got Me"[79]
(with Ari Lennox & Omen featuring Ty Dolla Sign & Dreezy)
[A]
  • RIAA: Gold
"LamboTruck"
(with Cozz featuring Reason & Childish Major)
"Costa Rica"
(with Bas & JID featuring Guapdad 4000, Reese LAFLARE, Jace, Mez, Smokepurpp, Buddy & Ski Mask the Slump God)
75 30 71
"Under the Sun"
(with J. Cole & Lute featuring DaBaby)
44 18 16 72
"Bussit"[82]
(with Ari Lennox)
2020 Revenge of the Dreamers III: Director's Cut
"Still Up"[82]
(with EarthGang featuring Reason)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Got Me" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, but peaked at number 3 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]