Reminisce thinks his best body of work is 'Baba Hafusa.' On the streets of Nigeria, consensus is that it's 'El Hadjj.' However, this writer thinks 'Vibes and Insha Allah' might actually be Reminisce's best body of work. While 'Vibes and Insha Allah' has the 'EP advantage,' getting an EP right still requires a ton of work.
What Vibes and Insha Allah represents is the power of concise expression by uniting what matters with the artist's inner fabric and what the streets want. It's about finding the balance of what's important. Even from a streaming strategy point of view, Vibes and Insha Allah got it right - Fireboy has emerged as Nigeria's most streamed artist over the past nine months.
For what this project is meant to be, this is adult contemporary Hip-Hop. It might not be the type you got from iLLBliss on Illosophy or IllChapoX or the type you got from MI Abaga on Illegal Music III, Yxng Dxnzl or Judah EP, but it's still adult contemporary Hip-Hop. While there are similarities, the difference is in the market those album and these three artists exist for.
Reminisce gets it right on this project by finding the perfect balance between what a 35+ man on the board of Exxon Mobil and a random vulcanizer in Yaba, Lagos would enjoy. At its bedrock is the is also the sonic expression of the average Nigeria - Afro-pop by way of lamba and Hip-Hop/Rap.
This is best exemplified on the Krizbeatz-produced Hip-Hop record with the Afro-pop hue that is, 'Jogodo.' Reminisce takes the shackles off, employs an empirical gaze and speaks his mind on topics he's distanced himself from for years. He fires shots at Hip-Hop purists, obsessive body enhancers, the corrupt Nigerian political elite and Nigerian pastors.
This is a socio-political examination of self and society through a personal lens as he takes the gloves off, “No more Koni Koni, let me talk my sh*t…” That bit about a rapper taking an Uber is hilarious. On the opening track ‘Vibes,’ the adult contemporary Hip-Hop helps Reminisce discuss the gruelling task of making music in life as a girl-dad during the think of COVID-19 lockdown.
Perhaps the most relatable conundrum for fathers is enjoying their lives as a fathers even while feeling the pressing need to work. ‘Gbedu,’ the Afrobeat madness and the more ‘vibey’ ‘Ogaranya’ are Reminsce’s self-coronation after 10 years of hustling. But while ‘Gbedu’ feels more resonant, ‘Ogaranya’ is a more strategic song tailored to a younger social media/streaming demographic.
While ‘Ogaranya’ lacks that extra layer of shock value, it is slowly finding a home with women. It still has some way to go to become a hit, but those are not bad signs. But from a topical perspective, when you are 39 in your 10th year of stardom, you have earned the right to brag and even call yourself, ‘Ogaranya.’
‘Eja Osan’ featuring Tiwa Savage and ‘Over 2.5’ are a mix of strategy and mainstream Afro-pop with the soul of shepeteri. As the drums knock with the vengeance of The Count of Monte Cristo, Reminisce and Tiwa Savage adulate the body of a Yoruba woman with doses of attractive vulgarity.
‘Over 2.5’ looks set to be the biggest hit from this project though. This is a street anthem that millions of mainstream Nigerian football fans will get attracted to. It speaks about the sports gambling culture that is prevalent in the Nigerian mainstream, which Reminsice garnishes with social media lingo, "It will end in tears." That’s already a unification of demographics.
More so, the song has a resonant riff that forms its main melody as well as a drum pattern that mainstream Nigeria loves.
For what it’s meant to be, Vibes and Insha Allah is a sound body of work. There’s something for everybody and it’s filled with money makers - the most important thing. 'Ogaranya' feels it could draw good numbers from streaming. 'Over 2.5' feels like tailor-made for endorsement deals and even as a hit. 'Eja Osan' is feels like a mainstream-friendly song.
The conundrum though is that the opening three tracks are the best songs on this EP with 'Jogodo' in a world of its own. The best song on it might not be as good as songs from Reminisce’s last two albums, but Vibes and Insha Allah will write its own success stories on its own terms.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
8.0 - Champion