Album- Alaga Ibile
Guest Artistes- Sossick, Endia, Olamide, Obadice, Naeto C, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy
Producers- Sossick, Shizzi, Chopstix, Sarz, Dee Vee, Jospo
Record Label- Edge Records (2013)
Duration- 55 minutes
Indigenous rap is the in thing now with Olamide and Phyno being the poster boys of the new rap movement. While they may hug the headlines an equally talented indigenous rapper by the name of Reminisce serves as the lord of the underground. Having struggled to gain recognition early on his career, Reminisce embraced his indigenous side and released the hit single ‘Kako Bi Chicken’.
It’s been two years and some months since the release of the single that finally put Reminisce on the spotlight. Within that period he dropped his debut album Book of Rap Stories which largely went unnoticed. This time around with a better understanding of his abilities as a bilingual rapper Reminisce drops his second album Alaga Ibile.
On this project majority of the production is handled by Sossick who is best known for his work on Da Grin’s classic sophomore rap album C.E.O which is also regarded as the greatest Yoruba rap album ever. With additional production from wonder boy Sarz, Alaga Ibile is Reminisce’s most impressive work so far.
Remilekun Safaru starts his album with ‘Intro’ which features menacing piano keys similar to that of a Dr. Dre production. Reminisce shows his unique bilingual qualities when he spits ‘wanna know the truth/mi o ki n se butter/ spent most of my youth chilling in the gutter/smoke a lot of kush that’s why I stutter/but mi o le nowo lori jewels got to take care of my daughter’ . The thumping street influenced production continues on ‘Government’ featuring Endia and Olamide. On the Chopstix instrumental Reminisce and Olamide go hard with their Odua bars before Endia cleans it up with his rap/dancehall mash up verse.
The chemistry between Reminisce and Sossick is spot on. The tracks ‘3rd World Thug Freestyle’ and ‘Pimp by Blood’ are decent tracks featuring Reminisce dropping his flashy bars over Sossick’s banging production. Going a step further, Sossick helps Reminisce bring out his introspective side on ‘Turn It Around’. The rapper forsakes his showy style to chronicle his rise to the top while Sossick delivers the gloomy chorus he is known for. This is the centre piece of the album and it is encouraging to see Reminisce showing a new side to himself even though it is only on a track.
The Reminisce and Sossick combination fails on two songs. The fault is more of production than rapping with Sossick choosing to ape American rap beats for Rem’ to rap on. ‘Swagu’ featuring Oba Dice and ‘Buga’ featuring Naeto C sound disconnected and disjointed.
You don’t have to go far on the album before you know that Reminisce has other ambitions apart from dropping rhymes for the streets. The next track ‘Sunkere’ reveals Reminisce’s talent of mixing rap with Fuji. The Sarz produced ‘Fantasi’ is the perfect example of this merger with Reminisce becoming a full time Fuji artiste. Hip Hop purists might balk at the transformation but at the end of the day the song is a crowd mover which is all that matters. The pop star Wizkid donates a hook on ‘Eleniyan’ which sees Reminisce dishing his patent rhyme style of mentioning fashion brands and street lingo.
Not all the mainstream experiments work on this album. ‘Ife’ is just too much singing for Reminisce. In his attempt to deliver a love song the rapper goes too far. His collaboration with Davido on ‘Daddy’ is album filler at best. Luckily the humorous ‘Agidigbo’ which name checks several joints where runs girls hustle comes off well and ‘Rude Girl’ featuring Burna Boy is an impressive dancehall track.
Most indigenous rappers get very uncomfortable when rapping in English. Reminisce is an exception. He switches from English to Yoruba and vice-versa well. With such an exceptional gift it is strange to hear him only rap about a limited range of topics. With such a deep voice and bilingual flow one would have expected Reminisce to touch on several topics that will push his brand further.
However despite his limited range, Reminisce has dropped a solid album that should see him in the top spot with his contemporaries.
Sossick who is no stranger to producing solid albums has helped Reminisce orchestrate a solid piece of work that is part Hip Hop and part pop. Reminisce should no longer be regarded as the chief of indigenous rap (alaga ibile) but the high chief.