The X3M Collective Release “The XPERIMENT”, the First Album by a Creative Agency
By sticking to the tenets that X3M Ideas is built on, the team has once again thought outside the box with The Xperiment.
Clarence Mac Ebong
●7th February 2023
The effect of the pandemic has changed the idea of what work culture should feel like and be. Before the world was thrust into a mask-infested frenzy, it seemed unlikely that one could work in an environment that is set up to spark ideas and excite the senses. That is not to say that it was so far-fetched, but hybrid work schedules and tailored team bonding exercises are more frequently adopted across different sectors of endeavor. After all, prolonged periods of straitjacketed uprightness make for dull boys and girls.
This is especially true in the media and entertainment spaces. Although it is important to have a good organizational structure, it is only a framework within which our creativity can come to life. The only way to stand out in an oversaturated world is to find your sweet spot and show your X-factor. X3M Ideas, one of Nigeria’s foremost creative agencies, understands and embodies this.
Founded by Steve Babaeko, X3M Ideas has grown in influence since its inception in 2012. Through innovative advertisements and experiences, the advertising giant spread its tentacles into the music space through the X3M Music imprint, which boasts Praiz and Simi as some of its big stars. Interestingly, its latest musical exploits come from the in-house staff of X3M Ideas and not its signed artists. To mark the 10th anniversary of the company, the X3M Collective put together The Xperiment, becoming the first creative agency in West Africa to do so.
Nafisah Abdul, who was in charge of A&R for The Xperiment opened up about the experience of putting the project together. “It’s a very unique project, it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever worked on,” she said. “Most of them [the artists] have never worked on a music project. They are simply creatives who love music, except some industry people like Boogey.”
At first, this inexperience jumps out to the trained ear, but one quickly gets sucked into the project’s experimental nature. “Flex” opens the floor and the mind of the listener to the artists’ potential as every line bounces off the record’s bumping production. You find solace in the simplicity of the lines when you remember the team’s relative lack of know-how. Anything other than simple would have come across as pretentious.
The Xperiment explores a range of melodies that are peculiar to the Nigerian sound. “Soco” could easily pass for a Kizz Daniel record if he recorded on that same beat. Music lovers have a natural feel for vocal placement and execution, and the looped “i no wan love” dovetails with the song’s chorus. The X3M Collective finds its feet across the project’s 24 minutes and constantly changing climates. Within The Xperiment’s shades and moods, the collective’s mental state is one of aspiration to be something more; a representation of the state of the country as we know it.
“Tanana” portrays that beautifully. It reimagines the image of Nigeria and what the ideal living situation would be. While the song does seem like wishful thinking, its execution captivates. Between friendly policemen, good roads, and reduced traffic jams, the X3M Collective paints a picture of a better Nigeria that does not seem far-fetched at all. Obaro Obiuwevbi of X3M Ideas who served as a manager of some sort opened up about the project. “We wanted to make music that speaks to life, love, and everything we all live,” he said.
Just like any well-rounded scientist, the X3M Collective understands that some experiments take time. Obiuwevbi revealed that the project a year and eleven months to complete (I refused to round it up to two years for the sake of being factual). In that time, the team uncovered more layers of their capabilities, both on an individual and collective note. Putting this project together saw the X3M Collective blur the lines of work and fun to create a project that’s worth pressing play on.
Through the X3M Collective, we realize that the work of musicians is not always as glamorous as it seems. A lot of work goes into crafting a project worth anybody’s time. By sticking to the tenets that X3M Ideas is built on, the team has once again thought outside the box with The Xperiment.