No. 5 Collaborations Project is an extended play by British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. It was the fifth out of five EPs recorded in a hope to get him signed by a record label. Sheeran wanted each song to act as a musical and tried to avoid lyrics about women.
Musically the album combined sensitive production, with serious subject matters and "haunting" themes. The EP features a collection of grime artists such as; Devlin, Wiley, P Money, Ghetts and JME. Henry Yanney of Soul Culture gave the album a positive review and the album peaked at number 46 on the UK Albums Chart.
"I’m always being introduced to new people that are really good. Being a songwriter myself, I love the way they put lyrics together. If you listen to Ghetts’ flow, it’s not necessarily like four-bar, four-bar, four-bar. He’ll do a two and a half bar rhyme and then stop, and go into something else. And me as a songwriter, that sort of fascinated me, like how can you get away with that? That really interested me. I’ve started writing songs a bit more like that, lyrically."
Sheeran discussing the "Grime" genre as an influence on his artistry.
The No.5 Collaborations Project was conceived to be a record with every song acting as a musical without "songs about girls". One track speaks of being in a car crash a track he wanted to be "a spiritual thing about being taken home" and another track lyrically tells the story of saying goodbye to someone. When he collaborated with artist Ghetts he wanted to bring-out "the old Ghetts" with a "grimy-beat" and with rapper JME he wanted to bring "humor to the project". The title derived from a time when there was no "hype" surrounding Sheeran and he decided to create a buzz by producing five EP's, an indie-style EP, a singer-songwriter EP, a folk-style EP, a live EP and a collaborations EP which was the fifth leading to the title No.5 Collaborations Project.
The EP is composed of "haunting" and "sensitive production" which "meshes the protagonist’s acoustic compositions with sombre, intense beats". The first track "Lately" features rapper Devlin and lyrically discusses insomnia and stress deriving from their work as musicians, the next track "You" features rapper Wiley lyrically talks of family but the next track, actually titled "Family" which features P Money creates a "tense atmosphere" and recalls a near fatal car crash P Money was involved in. The dark mood is furthered with track "Little Lady" a re-recording of Sheeran's single "The A Team" which features vocals from Mikill Pane. Henry Yanney of Soul Culture gave the EP four out of five marks calling Sheeran an "excellent storyteller" finding "The folk-meets-indie-meets-poetry format seemingly encourages/forces the guests on board to produce more reflective, thoughtful lyricism than per usual". Yanney discussed Sheeran's mainstream success with the EP noting "For an artist on the precipice of mainstream recognition, No.5 Collaborations Project is arguably the most anti-commercial project to emerge from someone at that level" concluding his review stating "The EP which solidifies his ‘One To Watch’ tag, Ed Sheeran, on pure talent alone, remains one of this year’s most promising talents". In the United Kingdom the album spent one week on the UK Albums Chart placing at number 46.