The Collective releases debut album

Lori Vetrano

What started simply as a fun project among friends transformed into the new sensational rap group known on campus as The Collective.

Much like the success stories of Drake and Mike Posner, who both rapped as a hobby, The Collective was formed by friends rapping about good times that they had together. They’ve already performed at Senior Week 2010, have had their songs played at formals and Main Line bars and recently released an album.

It all began last year when two Villanova friends, history major Alain Duroseau ’10 and communication major Joe Caravalho ’10, decided to play some beats together.

“The project began in the fall semester of my senior year,” Duroseau says. “Joe is a huge music man. He was working on some beats, a new project and was like, ‘If you want to listen to it, that’d be great.’ I told him I would not really taking it seriously, but that Friday he was really like, ‘You going to come or what?’ He played the beats, and I realized that this was really, really good stuff.”

The project expanded when Vladimir Edmond, a ’10 graduate of St. John’s University, communication major, audio engineer and Duroseau’s high school friend, visited Duroseau for a weekend at Villanova.

“Joe and I were working on a song, and I knew Vlad could freestyle,” Duroseau says.”So he got involved in the project. We were all in the backyard of a friend’s house freestyling, just chillin’. Joe ran his beat on us, and so Vlad visited again and said, ‘I’m down with you guys.'”

Their hit song, “Twisted,” was then made around Thanksgiving break when Edmond, along with some of Duroseau’s and Caravalho’s other friends and roommates, came to visit.

“We listened to [the beat of] ‘Twisted,’ and we knocked the song out and we had a lot of fun,” Duroseau says. “It’s about when you’re on the dance floor, you think you’re the best person [on it], but you look like an idiot.” The song was literally formed by the group as it sat around and rapped to it.

“I played the beat for Alain, and he came up with something for it,” Caravalho says, who produced the beat for the song. “The last guy [rapping] on it, we didn’t even know him. We met him that weekend in Portland, and we never saw him again.”

Initially, it was only intended to be a song for their friends to listen to and enjoy, but soon their friends and other people urged them to pursue more music-making.

“Our group really got momentum from the Villanova community, and our friends supported the project, so if it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t be possible,” Edmond says. Hence the name of their group, The Collective.

“We didn’t want to have a clear line [of who contributed and who didn’t],” Caravalho says. “It was just a collective effort.” Members and contributors to the group include Brendan Stasiukiewicz, who graduated from St. John’s with Edmond in 2010; Villanova ’10 graduates Kevin Lavery, Jeffrey Stevens and John Rivera; and spoken word artist from the class of 2012, Andrew Riley. They’ve even collaborated with two of Villanova’s other well-known rappers, Louis King and Dorian “D. Wells” Wells on their songs “iBuy,” “I’m Cool,” “From My Hometown” and “Last Long.”

The Collective released its album last Friday (Oct. 15), with 20 tracks including the hit “Twisted.”

“My house in Conshohocken, that’s where we recorded,” Caravalho says. “Not even a professional studio or whatever, it was my bedroom.” The album ends with the cheerily nostalgic “Celebration,” a tribute to the graduates’ four years of college.

“This track was meant to be a kind of 2010 graduation anthem,” Duroseau says. “Kind of a ‘hooray’ for making it to the finish line. It was also a goodbye to all of that and that lifestyle as well.”

Even though they all live in different places and have their own lives, The Collective is continuing with the group.

“[The distance] is definitely trickier, but it’s still working,” Caravalho says.

They’re currently working on a second album with 10 tracks already lined up. They’re also performing a second show but cannot yet release the date or place, according to Duroseau.

“However, if you’re looking for [the show], you’ll find it, and we hope everyone comes through and has a good time,” he says.