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Spillage Village and the Religion of Love

We talk with Earthgang, Benji, and JID on the rebirth of collective Spillage Village, and the quest to spread positivity with music.

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Spillage Village is a collective that revels in different backgrounds, stories, and styles. Members Mereba, Earthgang, Benji, JID, Hollywood Jurdan Bryant, and 6LACK all bring their signature sounds to the musical melting pot, to create something that’s bar-heavy, diverse, and rooted in the creativity of their solidified community. While each member since their 2014 debut Bears Like This has had their successful solo ventures, the chaos of the current climate brought them all into the same room again with the same goal in mind: Spilligion.

Spilligion was created amidst the quarantines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fittingly, it’s encompassed by rarified air and experimentation that enhances each member. Mereba thrives in soul and celebration on ‘PsalmSing’. JID and Earthgang pen heartfelt bars about their loved ones on ‘Ea’alah (Family). Throughout this sea of skill and sounds, everyone shines. But this isn’t about the style of each member of the impressive feature list that includes acts like Chance The Rapper, Buddy, and Lucky Daye. It’s about a unified message of love, freedom, and positivity; things that we could all use a little more of right now. This paints Spillage Village not only as ambitious with their finesse, but appreciative of their journey to get where they are, with an aspiration for a better world.

To get in on the celebrations, I hopped on a Zoom call with JID, Benji, and Earthgang to discuss creating an album in a pandemic, the pillars that make up Spillage Village, and their goals for world domination.

Congrats on the album fellas. How are you feeling?

Olu (Earthgang): It feels great man, it’s a blessing. It was very exciting to finally let people hear it. 

It’s been 4 years since the last Spillage Village project, and you’ve all had success in your ventures. How do you think your growth helps shape this album?

Olu: I feel like quarantine was such an important time to grow for a lot of people. In both good ways, and painful ways. The gift is that we were able to use this process and put it in our music. We can have this house and put the real-time things happening around us into our craft. 

Do you feel like the current climate changed the way you approach the booth in any way?

Olu: It helped me be a little more precise and direct. We were touching on real subjects throughout this album, so these current times helped me be straightforward with what I think. 

I love how this album encapsulates a variety of different sounds to create one cohesive experience. Was there anything particular you guys were listening to throughout the recording process?

Olu: We were listening to anything that came out. We were listening to Drake, we were listening to Young Thug. We were listening to everything. We were seeing how people were reacting to the music, and taking it into account with the stories we wanted to tell, and how we were going to approach the music. 

The album was recorded predominantly in Atlanta, and I think the cultural diversity and individuality of the city shines throughout. Do you think creating there enhanced the project at all?

Olu: Atlanta is super known for its diversity in music. You’ve got Dungeon Family, Lil Jon, Young Thug, Ciara, TLC, so many different styles. The influence of Atlanta is limitless when it comes to music. 

WowGr8 (Earthgang): And even though some of us are not from Atlanta, I feel like its a city that’s rooted in all of us. And it had been so long since we went there to do an album. So we were able to ride around these city streets and put it all together. 

Benji: It was dope for me because I’m from Pittsburgh, and this was my first time being in Atlanta for a significant amount of time, with the opportunity to make music. It was a culture shock to me being there, but it gave me a different approach when it came to making the music. You learn about the backgrounds of people. And how it made them who they are today. We were able to connect in the group and pairing our different stories together. Atlanta is a special place. 

I love how the album title alludes to religions, which all have different pillars to create a unified community. What are the pillars of Spilligihon that brings you all together?

Wowgr8: One for sure is freedom. We believe in free expression and saying what you feel, and how you want to say those things in the musical medium. 

Olu: I think another one is love. Brotherly love, sisterly love, community love, family love. With Spilligion, we wanted to take down the barriers that separate people, and sometimes, religion can be one of those things. We’re all about community. We feel like we built a community recording this album in quarantine. So really, I think that love is the religion of Spillage Village. 

JID, I love your line in ‘Baptize’ “Throw a stone-like David, I got that Tom Brady arm,” and how that represents diminishing external forces with your drive. I feel like, in life, it can be hard to develop that skill. What would your advice be to get that throwing arm working to hit that internal touchdown?

JID: I think the main thing is that you have to be comfortable in your skin, and you have to believe in yourself. If you can wake up and be happy with who you are, it can give you a sense of self-encouragement to go forward. 

Hip-hop today is very much rooted in collaboration, where we have Dreamville, Griselda, Brockhampton, you guys, and many more collectives finding musical greatness in numbers. How do you think coming together enhanced your separate creative visions?

WowGr8: It sharpens steel man. You get a group of good people together, and one will learn how to punch better, another may learn to kick better, all those styles together really benefits everyone. 

Despite the amazing music coming out today, it does feel like public discourses judges artists on what they sell the first week, rather than where their soul is. Do you find that disheartening?

JID: Yeah, it’s disheartening [Laughs]. I’m just so competitive and want to win by any means of winning, even in the smallest regards. But we’ve released so much music, and now I want to see us bare the fruits of it all. I know some people don’t care about accolades, but honestly, I want all that shit. I don’t want to play small ball, because I feel like the type of music we make isn’t for that field. 

The legend Big Rube has a standout appearance on the album. Did you guys learn anything working with him?

Olu: I learned that it’s paramount to give back. You have to give back to the people who inspire you, or even the people you’re inspired by. We had conversations with Rube where he loved what we had going on, and how we were carrying the torch. The fact that he was so willing to be involved in this project is a blessing. Giving back is how you move higher in the game. 

Last one from me guys, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

JID: We want world domination. We want to take care of people and inspire them. We want to bear the fruits of the seeds we planted during this quarantine. I think we want a couple of awards as well [Laughs]. 

WowGr8: We also want everyone to wear their masks! 

Check out Spillage Village’s new album Spilligion here and watch the video for ‘Baptize’ below.


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