The Collectiv3 is a new crew of rappers, singers, and producers based in Lagos, Nigeria. They announced themselves with an LP back in October and a super slick video teaser, and are on a mission to provide an alternative to Nigeria's mainstream music industry, which has been getting plenty of global looks this past year. Mixed by Ikon, the group's resident producer, this FADER Mix is non-stop vibes, rolling from soulful pop to icy beats to intricate instrumentals to BlackMagic's Autotune hip-pop banger "Peace Sign." Dig in below, and scroll down to find out what drives The Collectiv3 and why Nigeria's music scene have never needed them more.
Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings.
IKON: I'm in Ikoyi, which is part of Lagos—one of the most populated cities in Africa. Most Nigerians don't even know (and I happen to feel like sharing) that during the transatlantic slave trade, Ikoyi was a prison camp known as "Eko Oyi" which means camp of thieves; it's now the priciest town in West Africa. Like most days, today the sun is shining, though my drapes are drawn at the moment and I’ve got anime on the big screen.
Tell us a bit about the mix. What do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
The mix is simply a combination of music genres that inspire the sound of The Collectiv3. It's a fusion of some older material and some newer artists out in Africa who are pushing the envelope. Like all good, honest music, it's a soundtrack to life—for Nigerians, for Africans, for anybody really. I imagine you would probably be having a drink with a few close friends appreciating some dope ass sounds, or stuck in Lagos' infamous traffic but rocking out anyways, or it's what's in your earphones as you work. It's universal.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Listening to "Is This Love" by Bob Marley in the early '90s when we used to go on family road trips to a beach resort just outside of Lagos. I still feel happy whenever I hear that song and I love that ability music has to transport you right back to a particular time.
What is The Collectiv3 and how did you all come together?
I've been working with most of the artists in The Collectiv3 individually for a few years and I had tried to put a supergroup together in the past but I guess it just wasn't time. I think eventually you just get tired, and if you're really, really tired, it pushes you to finally take action. Nigerian music has sort of hit a standstill in terms of variety in sound. I don't know why because so many different types of music are being created but there's only one sound that has gotten shine in the past few years. I got tired of hearing it and The Collectiv3 artists got tired of not being heard. Thankfully, this year we all had similar goals concerning music releases and it clicked. Timing is everything and the time is now.
What are the ingredients that make up The Collectiv3's sound?
As The Collectiv3, we interpret the experiences we face living in today's Africa and channel that into music. Lagos has a crazy energy which evolves on a daily basis and the varying perspectives are what shine through on the different songs. The Collectiv3 has rappers, singers, producers, and even a guitarist. We're telling our story our way, inspired by the greats before us, with hopes we inspire those that come after us.
Why does the Nigerian music scene need The Collectiv3 now?
Balance! Somebody needs to take that first step. The industry is for the most part commercially driven. Music created for sales, clubs, brands. That works for most but there is a need for music to be created out of expression, music that people can relate to, music that evokes more than "this rings off in the club," music that inspires different emotions. Beyond the music, we are here to move culture and celebrate shit that's outside of the ordinary. Celebrate individuality, celebrate self—and how dope it is when a bunch of people who are comfortable being themselves come together, inspire one another, and have the courage to bare themselves and their art.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you?
The last book I read was Gone Girl. It made me reconsider the idea of marriage.
And finally, what's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
Jollof rice. Nigerian Jollof rice, as every West African country has their ideas on whose Jollof rice is the best. But to be honest you'll have to ask my girlfriend how to cook it, as my people say "you'll miss road" with my recipe.
FUNBI - Forbidden Fruit
SDC - Feel Alright
Temidollface - School Your Face
Tony Blaize - These Sides [demo]
SDC - Shey Bai
Threewisemen - Bastard
Temidollface - Just Like That
Poe - Sexy Bitch
Ikon - Akintunde
Kid Konnect - Judgment
SDC and Poe - What The Rich Do
Blink - Anyhow
The Pleb - One for Senegal
BlackMagic - Peace Sign
Nayosoul - Ayanfe Mi
EFYA - Life
IYE - Sinnerman
Nsikak - Happy Day