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This weekend, Dreamville Records released Creed III: The Soundtrack. J. Cole’s label provided the sounds for Michael B. Jordan’s film in the Rocky franchise. Across 18 songs, one of the most respected labels in Hip-Hop seizes the opportunity to show its depth and range. In the tradition of Death Row, Top Dawg Entertainment, and other similar soundtrack plays, the whole Dreamville roster shows up—with guests including longtime affiliate REASON, Symba, Big Sean, Westside Boogie, Buddy, Tierra Whack, and more.
Why J. Cole Is The Tim Duncan Of Hip-Hop
J. Cole appears in one spot, “Adonis Interlude (The Montage).” Named after Michael B. Jordan’s film character, the 95-second song finds Cole rapping to Dr. Dre’s “The Watcher” beat. Nearly a quarter-century after the 2001 album version, Cole raps the song as his rendition: “Things just ain’t the same for young Jermaine / Still underrated but far from underpaid / And though some problems did fade, the hunger stayed / These stomach rumbles can humble thunder, uh / I’m still fueled by the ones that slumber / The standout amongst the one-hit wonders / So when the dust settles and the sun is under / The horizon, y’all should run the numbers, man / Uh, who the f*ck want what with me? / Hardest out and I say that reluctantly / ‘Cause this should go without sayin’ but y’all playin’ dumb / Far as thеse rappers go, I’m not fearin’ nonе.”
In the second half of his verse, J. Cole gives warning that he has plans for 2023. “As seen by me thumbin’ through green, I become a gardener / Pullin’ up in the supercharger / Me and two things like a double entendre / Ni**a want beef, I’m a #9 combo / Not one designer in my ensemble / You’re tuned to the realest, maybe to ever spill his / Heart until it’s drained, feel his pain, trust / Sixteen ain’t enough to do it justice / Just cop The Fall Off and he’ll explain / Is it the end of the chapter, happily ever after? / Bet this gon’ be the year that fulfill his reign, man.“
Cole has been promoting the idea of The Fall Off since 2018’s KOD campaign. Since then, he released 2021’s The Off-Season. In January, the elite MC/producer gifted a peer with a verse to their beat, resulting in “procrastination (broke).” Previously, in 2002, JAY-Z used Dre’s three-year-old beat for “The Watcher 2,” featuring Dre, Rakim, and Truth Hurts.
There are additional highlights from Creed III: The Soundtrack, including song by Lute, Cozz, JID, REASON, and Arin Ray. The AFH playlist also currently features fresh music by Logic, Redman, Statik Selektah, Lil Wayne, Mondo Slade, IDK, Larry June & Alchemist, MC Bravado, Wordsworth, J. Rawls, Your Old Droog, and LaRussell & Hokage Simon, among others.
#BonusBeat: In late 2022, Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast listed the 10 best verses from the year, including a show-stopping display from J. Cole: