If you think you’re up to date with the freshest in Afro-pop artists and haven’t yet heard the name Rema, then you’d best check your sources ’cause you’ve got another thing coming.
The third track off Rema’s recent mixtape was rightfully produced by Drake’s iconic OVO label, amassing over 200,000 Spotify streams this year alone. This number seems slim in comparison to Rema’s signature track Dumebi sitting pretty at over 12 million streams and counting.
Dressed with that signature reggaeton energy that has been key to Drake’s recent pop releases, Rema is first in the pack when it comes to infectiously rhythmic, soulful world dance.
So what makes Rema such an exciting and addictive artist to listen to? It could be the seamless, uplifting blend of traditional Nigerian rhythms and language fused with highly approachable electronic percussion and keys. It could also be Rema’s ability to traverse a range of styles and rhythms, dressing his tracks with wonderfully visual English-spoken rhymes alongside melodic Nigerian verses.
Certainly, Roma’s success lies in his ability to see what works across the swathes of trap, reggaeton and smooth Rnb, extracting just the right portions from his palette to craft something balanced and unique. It goes without saying that in a music market saturated by batches of songs from these genres, listeners are striving to find a sound they haven’t come across before.
For those who are not Nigerian natives or speakers of the language, the worldly, foreign verses could fly right over our heads. However in the case of Rema, the balanced infusion of approachable, sensual English verses with the charmingly melodic flavours of his national language make for an easy introduction to his West-African heritage.
This, alongside the music’s minimalist but movement-inducing production, makes for a masterfully refined sound that lays a modest base for Rema’s rhythmic lyricism. He never fails to find that infectiously danceable groove across all corners of his music.
Having made his way to Germany earlier this year for an exclusive performance on the thriving Youtube music channel COLORS as well as being handpicked to play London’s inaugural Boiler Room festival, Rema has proved he is no stranger to the international music stage. It’s really no surprise for the artist whose lush reggaeton hit Iron Man made its way onto Barrack Obama’s fabled Summer Playliston Spotify.
With a string of massively successful singles and a mixtape (Bad Commando) which has found its way into most corners of the earth, it is with little doubt that we expect to see Rema’s name title the tip of festivals posters as a headline act with the ability to take any audience by storm.
Rema’s Bad Commando EP is out now.