Hip hop has been sleeping on Spillage Village for too long. After J. Cole’s endorsement, people are finally waking up – just in time for the Village’s biggest year yet. Here’s everything you need to know about the visionary 5 man collective.
Spillage Village is the most talented collective that you’ve never heard of. The five man collective pulls inspiration from their jazz and soul roots to create a sound that is unlike anything else in hip hop today. Imagine if Kendrick Lamar, Outkast, and Dizzy Gillespie got lost in the woods for a month with nothing but a mic and a bag of mushrooms. That’s Spillage Village.
We’re not the only ones that know these guys are special – J. Cole is in on the secret too. Given Cole’s love for poetic flows and the imaginative, it isn’t surprising that the majority of the Village signed on to Cole’s label Dreamville Records in 2017. With Dreamville behind them, the talented artists of Spillage Village are on an unavoidable crash course with success.
From Atlanta to Baltimore, Spillage Village is the brightest gem in alternative hip hop today.
The Origins of Spillage Village
Originally founded by Doctor Dot and Johnny Venus of EARTHGANG, Spillage Village began its collaboration in the early 2010’s at Hampton University in Virginia. Spillage Village is not a cohesive group like Brockhampton or Wu-Tang – they are a collective of individual artists that occasionally tackle group projects together, more like Pivot Gang or A$AP Mob. The members of Spillage Village are primarily focused on their own individual careers but come together with the rest of the group regularly to mark their growth as artists with a new album.
The name Spillage Village is a bit of wordplay around the word ‘spilling’, which means “to say what needs to be said without fear” according to long-time Spillage Village member Hollywood JB.
A Good Time to Be in the Village
Spillage Village was the best kept secret on the east coast. But after signing with J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, that’s all about to change. Now is a great time to get in on the wave for two big reasons.
EARTHGANG, the creative force behind Spillage Village, is dropping their EP Royalty later this January. Royalty will be the third and final installment in the duo’s trilogy of EP’s celebrating their recent signing to J. Cole’s label, Dreamville Records. Judging from the first two installments, Rags and Robots, it’d be a huge mistake to let this one fly under your radar.
Secondly, Spillage Village standout member J.I.D is going on tour with EARTHGANG to promote his debut album The Never Story. Knowing these artists’ reputation for bringing major energy to live shows, The Never Had Sh!t Tour will be one of the most fun and unique live hip hop experiences of the year. Considering they’re still on the come-up, ticket prices won’t be too high. If you have the chance, GO.
Who is in Spillage Village?
Spillage Village is primarily made up of five core members with a split-base in both Atlanta and Baltimore. The group was originally founded by Johnny Venus and Doctor Dot of EARTHGANG, who recruited rapper J.I.D to the group during their time at Hampton University. Hollywood JB and JordxnBryant joined the Spillage Village ranks soon after.
How did Spillage Village Meet?
The members of Spillage Village originally met during their time at Hampton University. Doctor Dot and Johnny Venus approached J.I.D after hearing his first mixtape “James Hall Mixtape” around campus in 2011. J.I.D was a standout player on Hampton’s football team at the time. The rest of the squad also came into Spillage Village through Hampton University connections including Hollywood JB, who met Doctor Dot at a HU block party and joined soon afterward.
Spillage Village’s Music
Spillage Village has released three albums as a collective. Their first album, Bears Like This, was released independently in 2014. Bears Like This was an exclusive project between the five members of Spillage Village, with no features by outside artists. Two years later, Spillage Village followed up with their second album, Bears Like This Too. Bears Like This Too showed obvious growth by Spillage Village collectively and individually, particularly with their production and consistency. Bears Like This Too showcased Spillage Village’s first work with outside artists, including rapper/singer 6LACK and OG Maco – both of whom are also from Atlanta.
Bears Like This Too Much
In 2016, Spillage Village released their third studio album Bears Like This Too Much. It soon proved to be their breakout project as a collective.
Bears Like This Too Much had some genuine stand outs with very little, if any, filler. Staying true to their roots, Spillage Village avoided too many features. Outside of the Spillage Village core five, Bears Like This Too Much featured only three outside artists: J. Cole, Bas, and Quentin Miller. But they sure as hell made the most of them.
Production on Bears Like This Too Much was from a variety of contributors, including Mac Miller, Childish Major, J. Cole, and Spillage Village member Hollywood JB.
“We use these “Bears” projects like checkpoints, markers in time. The first one came out when we first started fucking around with these sounds. The second one came as niggas had toured a little bit, learned a little bit. At this point now, we’ve been on tours, we’ve got a lot of other things we’ve been working on… We’ve seen a lot more. So this project is the next chapter of that. It’s definitely a crew tape. It’s not for the likes, it’s for the love.”
Give Bears Like This Too Much a listen:
Spillage Village Members
Real name: Destin Route
J.I.D’s stage name was adapted from his grandmother always referring to him as a “jittery child” when he was younger. According to J.I.D, you can pronounce the name either as “jid” or as “JAY EYE DEE”.
J.I.D is originally from Atlanta, GA. In fact, he grew up on East Atlanta’s Bouldercrest Road – the same infamous neighborhood that Gucci Mane grew up in. Although J.I.D was never a star in the trap like Gucci, he was a star somewhere else: the football field.
After playing football for four years at Stephenson High School in East Atlanta, J.I.D went to Hampton University on a football scholarship, where he played cornerback and kick returner. His feet were even faster than his flow – and don’t just take my word for it. J.I.D gives us a little glimpse of his football moves by juking out two cops at the end of his music video for “Never”.
J.I.D ended up dislocating his hip 6-7 games into his sophomore season, derailing his football career. A year later he got kicked out of Hampton and began focusing on music. J.I.D moved into an apartment with Johnny Venus and Doctor Dot of EARTHGANG while working various part time jobs, including working at call centres, fast food restaurants, and delivering pizza.
After busting his ass for a few years, J.I.D’s hip hop career started gaining traction. The exposure he got through Spillage Village’s first album Bears Like This got him a gig opening on Ab-Soul’s “These Days Tour”. Bas, a J. Cole understudy, also happened to be on that tour. It was this connection that brought J.I.D to eventually sign with Cole’s Dreamville label in 2017.
The Never Story
In March 2017, J.I.D released his debut album The Never Story under Dreamville Records. With major label backing, J.I.D had his first opportunity to really flex his creative muscles. The Never Story tells the story of how J.I.D ‘never had shit’ before he started rapping – particularly hope for the future. The album went on to make Billboard’s Top 20 Rap Albums of 2017, with its single “Never” making Pigeons and Planes’ Best Songs of 2017. The Never Story had guest features from EARTHGANG, 6LACK, and Mereba, with production from J. Cole himself.
Aside from his work on all three Spillage Village albums, J.I.D also had a notable vocal feature on “Jermaine’s Interlude” from DJ Khaled’s Grammy-Nominated album Major Key.
In addition to opening for Ab-Soul, J.I.D also opened for J. Cole on the international 4 Your Eyes Only Tour in 2017. He also had a few smaller solo tours over the years. Next up, J.I.D is touring with EARTHGANG for the Never Had Sh!t Tour in February and March of 2018.
Real names: Olu O. Fann, Eian Undrai Parker
EARTHGANG is a hip hop duo featuring Atlanta natives Johnny Venus (Fann) and Doctor Dot (Parker). EARTHGANG is known for pulling inspiration from a wide range of genres and artists.
Their origin is well-documented in all of EARTHGANG’s interviews, two lyricists formed their partnership in 2008 while on a 10th grade field trip and proceeded to hustle together as indie artists for nearly a decade. Venus and Dot later went to attend college at Hampton University where they released their first EP, The Better Party, and formed the Spillage Village collective.
“When we create, our goal is to set the listener in a mood for each track… the style is all a part of the execution. You’ll hear who we are, where we’re from, and what sounds we like through our music. We pay attention to details.” – EARTHGANG
EARTHGANG’s musical style is just as eccentric and eclectic as their clothing. Beats are diverse and each song paints a vivid new picture in your ears. Listen through any of EARTHGANG’s three albums and you won’t find a single recycled flow on any two tracks. Johnny Venus and Doctor Dot aren’t just rappers or musicians – they’re true creatives. The duo from Atlanta has so much variety and actually seem to get off on doing things differently, as you can see in their music video for “Meditate”:
The real story behind EARTHGANG’s name is an enigma. When asked about the origins of ‘EARTHGANG’, Johnny Venus issued this vague reply: “The name came to me abruptly one day. It represents what we’re made of and why we do what we do. It’s for the people by the people. Our music is influenced by the conscious and subconscious, and we create it to influence the like.”
As memorable as EARTHGANG’s name is, it doesn’t come anywhere close to their chemistry or flow.
Rags, Robots, & Royalty
After signing with Dreamville Records in late 2017, EARTHGANG quickly announced a forthcoming trilogy of EP’s to celebrate the new partnership. The trilogy’s first two installments – Rags and Robots – showcased a musical consistency and ear for a hook that had been missing from past projects. The two EP’s featured guest artists including DC Young Fly, Childish Major, Mick Jenkins, and fellow Spilage Village member / Dreamville artist J.I.D. EARTHGANG also recently announced that the trilogy’s final EP, Royalty, would be released this January:
Royalty In January ????
— Venus & Doc (@EarthGang) December 19, 2017
Since their inception, EARTHGANG has toured with a variety of artists including Ab-Soul, Mac Miller, Bas, and fellow Spillage Village member J.I.D. Next up, EARTHGANG is touring with J.I.D for the Never Had Sh!t Tour in early 2018.
Real name: Justin Bryant
Hollywood JB is the unheralded crucial cog that provides so much of the character to Spillage Village’s projects. Originally from Baltimore, Hollywood JB met EARTHGANG at Hampton University and decided to join Spillage Village after Doctor Dot pitched the idea to him at a block party.
Hollywood JB is a key producer and vocalist for Spillage Village. JB has the best ear for hooks out of the group and infuses their music with a jazzy, soulful vibe. His vocal style is reminiscent of Talib Kweli and he has a memorably smooth cadence.
Why the name Hollywood JB? Apparently the name is satirical. According to JB, he isn’t an attention-seeking, all-eyes-on-me kind of guy – but when he was younger, people told him he needed a ‘catchy’ and ‘famous’ name to blow up. And what’s catchier than ‘Hollywood’?
“When I do get ‘famous’ nobody can ever tell my I went Hollywood because I’ve BEEN Hollywood.” – Hollywood JB
Hollywood JB’s Music
Outside of his Spillage Village work, Hollywood JB hasn’t released much individual music. JB did release his debut EP, Triumph, back in 2014 – but you can only find the project on Soundcloud or Bandcamp. Having personally produced seven of the EP’s thirteen songs, Triumph showed off Hollywood JB’s skill not just as a vocalist, but also as a producer.
We have one other notable bit of sustenance from Hollywood JB in his single, “Game7”. This song is legitimately quality, featuring a superb hook and an early Kanye West feel on production. Unfortunately, “Game7” is only available on soundcloud, much like the rest of HJB’s discography. Check it out:
JordxnBryant, aka JordunBryant, is Spillage Village’s most elusive member by far. There is next to no information available about JordxnBryant anywhere online. We speculate that he may be related to Hollywood JB (aka Justin Bryant) but can’t confirm the connection. Aside from his work on Spillage Village’s three albums, he’s also been featured on J.I.D’s “Para Tu” and Hollywood JB’s EP Triumph.
JordxnBryant did release a full album on bandcamp in 2013, titled Quiet Life. He was the executive producer for the album as well as its primary vocalist. It’s lowkey some great music to listen to while studying, working, or just unwinding.
Here’s JordxnBryant’s Soundcloud if you wanna do some investigating for yourself.
The Future of Spillage Village
In the meantime, you can catch 3/5 of Spillage Village on the Never Had Sh!t Tour next month, following the release of J.I.D’s album The Never Story. The tour begins in Seattle on February 1st and tragically only goes as far East as Memphis, TN. Knowing Spillage Village, the shows will undoubtedly feature unparalleled energy, crowd surfing, and mosh pits galore.