Unlike the raucous calls for justice on heavy hitting tracks by Run the Jewels and and Meek Mill, Spillage Village just wants to get by.
Hip-hop has long been infatuated with judgement day. 2Pac dropped Me Against the World in 1995, an album featuring self-conscious cuts like “Dear Mama” and “Death Around the Corner,” only to follow it up with All Eyez On Me, which represented a tonal shift in his artistry. Rather than being focused on the present, Pac, after undergoing something of a spiritual awakening following his prison stint, focused on the afterlife, bisecting a wealth of party anthems with the conscious track “Only God Can Judge Me.”
Artists like Lauryn Hill and Master P followed a similar path, highlighting the transient nature of life on earth. Now, more than 20 years later, super group Spillage Village is tackling a similarly bleak outlook on humanity, with their latest single “End of Daze.”
The group originally teased the track on Instagram on March 18. Two days later, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a lockdown order, forcing the state’s 19 million residents to limit travel and gatherings, effectively upending the economy. The stock market fell to historic lows. Bodies were piled into freezer trucks. All of the imagery assigned to an apocalypse — death, mourning, depression — was suddenly implanted into every aspect of American (and international) culture.
Though the track was a timely summation of fears around coronavirus, it’s official release on June 11 coincides with an even stronger case for concern. Protests over the death of George Floyd have raged for the last few weeks. The movements are a culmination of the worst hits of the year. The United States is at a turning point, both amidst a national health crisis and racial injustice. Meanwhile, Spillage Village is trying to make the best of it.
Unlike the raucous calls for justice by heavy hitting tracks like Terrace Martin’s “Pig Feet” and Meek Mill’s “Otherside of America,” “End of Daze” is decidedly calmer. Simple synths, percussion and hand claps lay the foundation for Spillage to harmonize on the hook. “It’s the end of days, end of times/ my oh my/ Up in a blaze, you can’t hide/Why oh why,” the group sings. Verse after verse comes packed with “get it while you can” bars, highlighting the inevitable destruction that follows after months of viral infection and injustice.
The track’s music video exists in a similar emotional purgatory. The gang huddles around a tiny, CRT television watching headlines roll by — Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are mourned. Weed clouds billow around the group, the only comforting smoke after buildings burned across the nation. “Feeling like the Lord left the room/ Dead bodies risin’ from the tomb,” Hollywood JB spits on his verse. “The news keep saying we’ll die soon/ So sit back and roll up to my tunes.”
Resistance is futile for Spillage Village. Whether we like it or not, judgement day is right around the corner.