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Rema Is the Next Generation of Nigerian Pop

Born Divine Ikubor, Rema grew up in Nigeria’s bustling Benin City, near the country’s southern coast. He was forced to mature early on, after his father died from asthma-related issues when Rema was only 8 years old. Then, in 2015, his older brother passed away as well. He was forced to go to get a job to help out his mom, who worked as a trader of wholesale goods. “I was lost after losing my brother,” says Rema, suddenly stoic. “I had to change the way I talk, the way I act, and fight to make it in society.”

It’s hour in city, Nigeria, and Rema is ensuring his angle is ideal for our video decision. It takes him one or two of minutes, however he manages to put his 3 slick-backed dreads and his fresh precocious ocean blue OVO polo—sent from Drake’s manus man, jazzman El-Khatib—in the frame. At the beginning of our chat, the 19-year-old’s lips square measure forcibly tight, as if he’s attempting to act composed by not permitting his bright smile to burst through. Eventually, he fails. He encompasses a ton to be happy concerning right away.

Sitting in an exceedingly lavish room at the headquarters of maven Records, Rema shows off a shelf of trophies the imprint has earned with a Vanna White-like flourish. In March, he discharged his debut self-titled EP on maven, that has gained a name for minting polished Afropop stars like Tiwa Savage and Reekado Banks across the last seven years. however Rema’s EP marks a brand new era for the label, and maybe for Nigerian popular music genre at massive. It options four distinct tracks that introduce the country to his young attack Afropop, which contains a piece of Western influences and a soft voice that creates each word sparkle.

In 2018, a bored Rema randomly decided to drop a front-seat freestyle to Afropop star D’Prince’s “Gucci Gang” on social media. The post got around, and Rema soon received a DM from D’Prince himself. The teenager was quickly flown to Lagos to record. “At the time I only had trap songs, so when [D’Prince] put me in the studio with an Afrobeats producer I was scared,” Rema explains. “But I just mixed my trap vibes in and didn’t force it.” D’Prince took the music to his older brother, Mavin Records founder Don Jazzy, and Rema became the powerhouse label’s latest signee. “I was screaming ‘Yes, oh my god yes!” Rema recalls, looking like he’s about to burst into tears of happiness all over again. “The biggest label in Nigeria wanted me.”

Bad Commando’ is a latin pop song with a seriously beautiful video, heavy on aptly utilized aesthetics. The vocal deliveries again see Rema on his ‘Indian wave,’ as we heard on ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Corny.’ Lyrically, Rema talks about his arrival into fame alongside its perils and pluses.

Rewind,’ is another sonic enigma. The bass guitar is very latin. The underlying drums seem a mix of latinx and native American origins – something from a band like Country Comfort. But lyrically, this song is just a bad idea. Rema rigmaroles between socio-political chatter and how a woman moves like a tornado.

Spaceship Flores’ is easily the best song on this EP. It sounds like something XXXTentacion could have done. Coincidentally, X also had a song calls, ‘Jocelyn Flores.’ However, Rema finds a pop ting to this music. Oh, this is addictive. Rema is special.

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