Album – El-HadjArtiste – ReminisceGuests – Ice Prince, Oladips, Seriki, Sojay, 2baba, Terry Apala, Olamide, Mr Eazi, Solidstar,Producers – Sarz, Sossick, Jomane, PBanks, Tspize, Pheelz, Tyce, Camo Blaiz, TMXO, Record Label – Le Rose Rouges (2016)Duration – 57 Minutes
Reminisce’s albums so far are like a revealing journey through a river in a jungle of indigenous music. Every project comes prepared with a theme, with each new project unveiling a deeper and different side of the rapper. Although last year’s ‘Baba Hafusa’ failed to live up to its promise, “El-Hadj” is here, to wash away the aftertaste of such an anti-climactic project.
The LRR rapper has been on a campaign to get this project out of the way, relying on more direct, and less-discreet songs such as ‘Ponmo’, ‘Poison’ and ‘Gboriduro’ to keep fans entertained while he worked on this project. There was hardly any break all through, as the rapper showed acumen in pushing out music.
2016 is here, and we have another Reminisce album, “El-Hadj” was named because of his intended pilgrimage to Mecca, planned for 2017. This is the album before the “Hajj”; El-Hadj. It’s a new and grounded reality for the rapper, who has had quite a run in the game.
The breadth of his new mental state is first shown on irresistible ‘Where I come from’, a bouncy, reflective single in which vivid lyrics about the state of the dismal state of the nation, meet repetitive synths and massive drum beats. The story here is about Nigeria, and down to the mundane things of life. But there are plenty more narratives that make up “El-Hadj”.
It’s not exactly a strict concept album, but each track is a picture – some funny, some tragic – based around the rapper’s life and experiences. The rapper has been through every facet of the hustle in a ruthless industry, and life in general. These he unravels in ‘I remember’ with revealing lyrics: “I remember when I was young, ti ma wish e Michael Jackson (I wanted to be Michael Jackson” – and, if you can afford them, the tears. 2face Idibia brings on the introspection on ‘Nobody knows’.
There’s plenty of upbeat tracks: ‘I.N.B.G’, a thumping blend of Mr Eazi’s hook, gives up a grateful Reminisce. ‘Telephone’, ‘Simpleboy’, ‘Daily basis’ and all their highlife percussions and talking drums are true party enrichers. Their rich guitars, an intoxicating ensemble of mindless relief. ‘Konsignment’ and ‘Owo re’ offers bouncy stoners with bass drums and dynamism that would not seem out of place on a DJs prime time mix. Reminisce’s language shifts accordingly, too.
On ‘Oloun’ his braggadocio matches that of protégé Oladips lyrics, while on ‘Feego’, he brings together a crowd to bring the project home with hard-hitting lyrics from Ice Prince and Seriki.
This is a super project, with no downside, except that the brevity of Terry Apala’s teasing skit is criminal. It is a solid grounded work, as Reminisce once again takes advantage of his perfect rap voice and a grounded mentality to provide the ultimate feeling of happiness and empathy, while still being the Reminisce, that we all know. This a higher project than the last one, born from a trip to a personal place of worship and nostalgic reminiscing. It’s a pilgrimage of some sort for the rapper, as he connects to a deeper level of narration and vulnerability to recreate his Mecca.
Rating - 4
3-Worth Checking Out