Before diving in, I must settle the early debate this album has caused on Twitter: DaBaby is NOT a better rapper than J. Cole… but he definitely had the best verse on the “Under The Sun” track! Some have said it was close between the two, but I think it’s just folks giving J. Cole respect. Either way, the album started off with a bang with Cole, Lute, DaBaby, and Kendrick on the hook. Perfect combination!

There has been so much hype surrounding the release of this project. I had to jump onboard, even during the July 4th holiday, to see what the buzz was about. The decision to lead all tracks with “Under the Sun” set the tone for the album. Most people who listen to music nowadays don’t have a long attention span. So starting with this song gives listeners the juice to continue listening. “Under the Sun” features J. Cole, Lute, Dababy, with Kendrick Lamar on the hook (more like adlibs to separate the verses).

What makes the song great, outside of the artist who appear on it and their verses, is the sample chosen. It’s starts off with an old school soulful feel that’s quickly interrupted and broken down into a beat, then Cole rips his verse. If I could only recommend a few tracks from this album, this would be my first recommendation. A “must listen” type of song.

The second recommendation would be the very next track, “Down Bad,” keeps up the same energy set by “Under The Sun. JID anchored the song by covering the chorus and his own verse. I feel Johnny Venus had the next best delivery on the track, although if you look at the lyrics without the music, it doesn’t seem like much. Honestly, reading the lyrics shocked me a bit because the delivery made it seem like much more was said. Maybe that’s just me.

Now, we all know about “Middle Child” by J. Cole since it was released earlier then the rest of this album. I don’t see a need review that. It’s a hit. We all know. Next!

I believe “Costa Rica” is likely to be a favorite among those who are more accustomed to today’s type of music. It’s not really my style, but it is a bit catchy. I may not turn it off right away when it comes on in the car, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I’d rather listen to something like “Self Love” which features Ari Lennox, Bas, and Baby Rose. First thought when it gets going, “Now this is a song I can body roll to.” Don’t act like you can’t picture yourself doing it too.

My last highlight is “PTSD” which features Omen, Mereba, Deante Hitchcock, and St. Beauty. It stands out from the other tracks because of the subject. We just wrapped up the month of June which was PTSD awareness month. I recently wrote a post about it, so it’s still fresh on my mind. I think it would have been a genius to have had this single released a bit early, on June 27th, for those suffering from PTSD to hear and relate to these artists through music. In addition to its significance, “PTSD” is a track that flows as story. It feels like rap in its purest form. It feels like poetry. If you’re really listening to the lyrics, you can feel the expression and the story. I’d classify this track as a “must listen” as well. I don’t want to limit the significance by sharing what I got from it, but there’s definitely a message to be heard in this song.

Of course, there’s many other songs in ROTD3 that are just as good as the songs I mentioned above, but I wanted to highlight a few and give my opinion. If you haven’t heard it yet, go and listen to the album now!

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