First Listen #38: Spillage Village’s ‘Spilligion’

Today was supposed to be the start of the second half of a two week-long galavant into the world of 90s and 00s R&B albums by women. After spending some time with Kelis, India Arie, Jill Scott, Floetry, and Ashanti last week, I was excited to listen to some more music from some more amazing women. But a few songs/projects came out (as well as some weird news, musically) within the past couple of days/weeks that I really wanted to talk about on here, so I’m taking a small break from the Week Fulla, which will (hopefully, if mental distress stays away lol) continue next week. For now, we’re talking about Spillage Village’s Spilligion (2020).

Photo Credit: https://www.thefader.com/2020/09/25/spillage-village-drop-new-album-spilligion

2020: Spilligion

(via Genius)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Reddit these days. The majority of my time is spent dodging questionable posts on different subreddits about race and gender (as to not start an argument with some random person over the internet), but I do spent a pretty significant amount of time looking through and participating in different conversations about music. Spilligion had been making rounds a lot over the past couple of days; people were saying that it was amazing and one of the best projects they’d heard in a while – potentially giving in “album of the year” status. I’d been meaning to listen to it at some point, but those RAVE reviews and the beautiful splattered vinyl that was released to go with it, I had to listen to it sooner than later. And….WOOOOW. What a great project!!

So hold my hands and dance with me tonight

You know, they say we’re all about to die

And maybe it’s the love we all are tryna find

Who knows what lies, it’s only by design

Spillage Village, “Jupiter”

I mean, in reality, with such amazing people on this project, I’m not surprised that I’ve been enjoying it as much as I have (currently on my third full listen). We have Spillage Village (JID, Mereba, 6LACK, EARTHGANG, Jurdan Bryant, Hollywoood JB, and Benji), Masego, Chance the Rapper, Ari Lennox, Buddy, and Ant Clemons lending their musical talents, as well as Kountry Wayne, Desi Banks, and Big Rube offering some comedic and spoken word moments on the project. And it comes together so so well.

One of the first things to come to my mind, as I approached the ending of this project the first time was how I wished Revenge of the Dreamers III (2019) came together this well. While I did eventually like ROTDIII a lot more after giving it a second listen a few months back, there were moments on the project where the pacing felt off and the story that the project was trying to tell felt very loose, despite the very capable storytellers on the album. The narrative on Spilligion (which I keep calling “spill-la-gee-en” in my mind lol) is a lot clearer to me. It’s very much a project meant to reflect what life looks like for them – and us – right now. And that, for me, is a big reason why this project is so successful. We get conversations about Coronavirus, we get mentions of current racial politics and police brutality, as well as conversations about fame/celebrity, love, nostalgia, and the use of religious symbols and imagery to make commentary on a world that feels like it’s going to hell – FAST. And while, the project jumps from topic to topic, it doesn’t feel like a rushed job.

I read a little bit of an article from Rolling Stone – which I typically don’t do for these because I want to focus heavily on how I felt about things, but it felt a little more necessary with this – where members of the group talked about how instead of the products of the project coming from various studio sessions, it was primarily a product of being stuck in a house together while being on stay-at-home orders in Georgia during the “height” of the pandemic. Which for them, created a more natural experience, where they could create and live together, in between games of Monopoly. And you can feel that through the music. Nothing on this project feels like a forced attempt at making a project with 8+ people on it work; it just felt like a bunch of friends (who just happened to be some of the most talented people in the game right now) that decided to do something with their time, while they were stuck in the house together. And nothing about their specific styles, flows, or personalities get lost in that work, but we get all the things we love about them individually.

I have a few favorites on this. One of my quick favorites was “Jupiter” – the project’s final track. OMG. I literally had to run the track back after the first 30 seconds because I wasn’t ready for the folky, indie-pop vibes that were were gonna get on that. It was giving me very much Grouplove vibes and was the perfect show of how versatile they all are as artists. Ugh, the guitar on that track is *chef’s kiss.* “Judas” was another quick favorite; I don’t believe we’ve ever gotten Chance and Masego on a track other (edit: quick Google search says no), but I really enjoyed the two of them on this together. After a pretty big chunk of questionable verses in the past couple years, this song proves Chance can still gives us a solid verse. And Masego’s voice!!!!! Him and Buddy on the chorus was fantastic. OOH, and ARI LENNOX ON THE INTRO!!!!!! WHAT WAS THAT???????????? ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS MOMENT. (edit: I just found out Monte Booker produced “Judas” and like….OF COURSE he did. I can totally hear that classic Monte sound now!) “Cupid” was another really good track. I loved how jazzy it was. 6LACK’s “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” verse intro had me SHOOK, and Lucky Daye is perfect on the hook. “Oshun,” and “Shiva,” were also really good and two of my favorites. Ooh, “End of Daze” was another one I liked; it reminded me a lot of “Algorhythm” from Childish Gambino’s 3.15.20 (2020) – a “welp, the world is on some BS., and we’re probably all gonna die soon, but we can at least groove!” moment. Only thing this project was a Smino/Saba verse. Now that I know Monte helped produce this project, I’m very surprised there’s no Smino verse.

I really hope we get another Spill Vill project in the future; this is one supergroup that has IT. And it would be a shame for us to not getting at least one more album/mixtape from them. I’m excited to listen to Spilligion, once the pre-orders for the records finally ship out. I can already tell that this is gonna be one that I’m spinning constantly.

Overall Project Rating

Featured Image Credit: https://ktt2.com/spillage-village-thread-23093


(listen to Spilligion on spotify by clicking the image below)

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3 thoughts on “First Listen #38: Spillage Village’s ‘Spilligion’

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