Spillage Village’s new album, Spilligion, acts as a score to the apocalyptic year of 2020. 2020 in this album represents the perma-frost of our country’s long encapsulated sins and racist institutions beginning to rise, to thaw out. Prayers go up throughout the album like shooting stars: Spillage Village is praying for family, praying for justice, praying for re-birth, praying for power, praying for freedom, praying for good health, praying for more life, more love
Spilligion is showcasing how 2020 is not some misfortunate, random encounter. Spillage Village is drawing our attention to what our country has for far too long ignored, neglected, and tried to bury away. These are black lives, black voices, black beauty, black joy that are being unearthed under all that frigid ice our country is adorned in.
Spillage Village is calling upon spiritual wisdom and enlightenment in order to collectively instill healing so that re-birth and revolutionary change can replace the dismantling of our country’s racist foundation. Although Spilligion is directly addressing the demolition and destruction that is plaguing our country right now – this album is anything but dark.
Spilligion is honest and raw, never turning a blind eye to the amounting presence of injustice, death, and illness that our world is consumed in – but it keeps its eye on the prize. The prize being that justice will one day be restored; the prize being protecting their energy and power.
Spillage Village is seeking out healing through remaining on their spiritual path, returning to the ideology that freedom and equality are divine rights that should never be surrendered or stolen – and when they are, Spillage Village calls upon the strength of the community to fight.
Track titles like, “Baptize,” “Mecca,” and “Oshun” speak on healing waters, powerful deities, and sanctuaries as being the ultimate tools for battle. This a returning to faith, as Spillage Village demands our country repent for its racist sins. Acknowledgment of the past and consistent action must be brought forth in order for healing and rebuilding to ensue.
Spilligion sonically highlights the wide range of different genres, thematic tones, and instrumentation that Spillage Village has to offer. The track “Baptize” is a straight hip hop track, as members JID and Earthgang play a game of ping-pong with the exchange of bars and flows.
Tracks like “PsalmSing,” “Hapi,” and “Jupiter” are doused in folk and gospel influences – piano keys and rich, soul vocals galore. Other tracks like “Shiva” and “Oshun” act as R&B ballads. Spillage Village’s versatility, authenticity, and poetic lyrics are what make Spilligion a true masterpiece.
“Hapi” is a song that stands out tremendously on the album. “Hapi” is appreciating the safety and security that is found amongst the woods which Mereba and Johnny Venus address directly in the chorus.
They sing, “I met a man playin in the woods. His piano was off-key. He sang to me softly. I bet he wouldn’t change it if he could. Gunshots ringin’ in my hood. They sound so off-beat. I’m prayin’ they don’t off me. I promise I’d change it if I could.”
These lyrics are directed towards America’s inability to change – no reparations, no justice, no peace can come from a man who is unwilling to listen to the songs of others, and adjust his tune accordingly. No justice or peace can come from those who are unable to silence their own tune and amplify those who need it the most.
Mereba spits about a desire to hide away amongst the woods, craving detachment and numbness from the trauma that lingers in the cracks of city sidewalks. Her desire to enter a fable, a daydream is broken by the responsibility she feels to provide aid, support, and healing to her community.
Johnny Venus breaks out into a riff of stunning vocals – the magnitude behind his voice isn’t based on technical skill, but rather the profound level of emotion he is able to express. Rapper Benji closes the song out with one of the most beautiful and vulnerable verses I have ever heard to date. He raps, “All my life, I had to fight. All my life, passin by. All my life, I had to write, all my life I had to die. All I had to sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears pays the price.”
Spillage Village’s desire to not only use their artistic gifts to heal and soothe the collective, but also keep us focused on the goal ahead just drives home how dedicated they are to honoring their autonomy. Spilligion is what I imagine a fable to sound like, a retreat back to community, peace, and love after a seemingly endless journey.
The last track off the album, “Jupiter,” is a true campfire song, teetering on finding acceptance and bliss through uncertainty and change. In the chorus they sing, “So hold my hands and dance with me tonight. You know, they say we’re all about to die. And maybe it is love we are all tryna find. Who knows what lies, it’s only by design.”
Spilligion is the album of the year to me, analyzing the various layers of 2020 and throwing it in the time capsule. The ending of the track, “Hapi,” features a voice-over from Big Rube that completely captures the essence and message behind Spilligion.
“Your freedom is beyond anyone outside of yourself controllin. It can’t be bought, and sold, given away, or even stolen. It’s a divine entitlement, vital to the nourishment of the soul. Encouragin’ spiritual growth to channel the ethereal flow, creation’s river across the cosmos. This blessed osmosis, triggerin consciousness to focus. And the paradigm ascension, transcendin’ beyond all space and time dimensions. Not to mention my penchant for benediction.
Been addicted minds, been consistent in my grind, of usin’ every pen and pencil I can find. To elevate the state of decline, that’s draggin my people down so deep that the climb could never be done in a single lifetime. So I write life’s lines, correction my lines write life. Correction my life lines right up. When serving my purpose to write and recite what touches and sights ignite that unite us. So we can finally stop runnin’ from freedom.”