Every Friday, our new music column Rap Song of the Week breaks down all the new hip-hop tracks you need to hear. Check out the full playlist here. Today, J.I.D and J. Cole open D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape with “Stick.”
Earlier this week, J. Cole surprised Dreamville fans with the news that he teamed up with DJ Drama for a new Gangsta Grillz mixtape. The project doesn’t come entirely out of left field, since the mixtape king is performing a special set at Dreamville Festival this weekend (April 2nd-3rd) featuring Lil Wayne, T.I., and Jeezy, but it was still exciting to see two blog era veterans come together.
Once Cole dropped the artwork, it was also apparent how seriously they took the project. With the entire Dreamville roster draped in dark clothing and Photoshopped in front of a war zone, it looks just like covers printed for the actual CD mixtapes released in the aughts.
This time around, of course, DJ Drama isn’t operating in the gray area that led to his Atlanta studios getting raided by police in 2007. Recently, he’s brought the Gangsta Grillz series back and started teaming with artists like Tyler, the Creator, rising Milwaukee rapper Lakeyah, and Jim Jones for label-approved releases that maintain the mixtape feel.
D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz toes that same line, with the entire Dreamville roster taking advantage of the musical freedom afforded on a project that’s not labeled a studio album. The opening track “Stick” is ready for the moshpit, as rising Atlanta rapper Kenny Mason and Sheck Wes help get J.I.D and Cole get slick with gun talk over bombastic horns and gunshots interspersed throughout.