On ‘RAVAGE’ EP, Rema wants the industry to know that he’s the chosen one.
When Rema released his eponymous debut EP in 2019, it rubbed off on listeners as a curious one that explores Western elements at a level never attempted by an Afrobeats act.
If his early avant-garde approach to Afrobeats came in the form of Trap music marked by mumbling flows and Indian melodic interpolations, this mindset to continue reinventing the wheel remains very much the same with his latest EP ‘RAVAGE’ released 5 years later.
In a dominant 2023 where he reached international heights never recorded by an Afrobeats act, Rema continued to make concerted efforts to replicate his global success domestically. At the height of the international success of his smash collaboration with Selena Gomez, Rema released the ultra version of his debut album ‘Raves & Roses’ which had singles ‘Charm’ and ‘Holiday’ crafted for the Afrobeats audience with the former becoming an instant hit.
With the December festive rush on the way, Rema is back with a new set of offerings that celebrates and consolidates the remarkable success he has enjoyed in 2023.
Rema shares that ‘RAVAGE’ EP is inspired by an inner rage to communicate some feelings he has held back for too long.
“It’s not fuelled with negativity, rather it’s fuelled with drive, passion & destiny,” he says.
Indeed, Rema boldly communicates his feelings by making it abundantly clear that he understands his status in the scheme of things. He knows he’s unstoppable and he says this without mincing words. There are no tongue-in-cheek moments. He declares himself the Prince of Afrobeats and dares anyone to say otherwise.
‘RAVAGE’ EP is driven by rage both in the themes and in sonics. From the chest-thumping lines to the aggressively passionate larger-than-life approach in delivery, Rema lays rightful claim to the Afrobeats throne.
Recruiting the services of two of Nigeria’s most exceptional music producers London and P.Prime, Rema goes off on a boisterous declaration of his status as a generational superstar and his intentions to take the game to a whole new level.
He calls himself a troublemaker on the opening record. With more life experiences than many can manage as a teenager, Rema has paid his dues and now he intends to be sworn into the inner circles of Afrobeats superstar OGs. He flaunts his status and cautions those who dare to be like him and follow his style to save their money because it takes more than fashion to impact the global Pop market – a feat he has accomplished.
The EP is marked by an exhale of fire with Rema making it clear that his humility shouldn’t be taken for cowardice.
“If I’m not HIM, who then is it?” he asks in ‘DND’ where he morphed into a hyper version of Wande Coal.
Like Nigeria’s Hip Hop Capo Reminisce, Rema declares that he has moved on to greater things and he’s not to be disturbed with pointless comparisons to pairs whom he has left in the settling dust of his international ascension.
Even while making chest-thumping singles that spare neither the class of Afrobeats cats, Rema still crafts the records to offer sonic appeal. The party-starting drums of ‘DND’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ make them a perfect fit for Detty December where the Rave Lorde will be celebrating his unprecedented international success.
His hyper and aggressively passionate approach to ‘RAVAGE’ EP is marked by the up-tempo ‘Smooth Criminal’ where like a man possessed, he deploys eclectic Pop rap in a chest-thumping use of lamba that takes the song to the street.
It’s the same assuredness in his abilities that informs the sensual lines of ‘Don’t Leave’ where he favours uptempo delivery that dazzles but fails to achieve the required verisimilitude needed to drive such a record.
‘Red Potion’ is a full circle moment as the daring approach to Afrobeats that announced Rema’s entrance in 2019 and which was skeptically received by some listeners is now a marker of his distinction. The melodic maneuvers, the Pop rap flow, the crowded nature of the composition, the references, chest-thumping, and innuendos are quintessentially Rema.
And what’s even more brilliant than Rema’s ability to craft an almost unreplicable niche is his ability to effortlessly switch it up whenever he wants to.
Above comparisons, stupendously imaginative, beyond forgery or imitation, the Prince of Afrobeats. Rema knows he’s HIM and he needs no one to tell him that.
On ‘RAVAGE’ EP, Rema wants the industry to know that he’s the chosen one. The crowned prince who will someday inevitably sit on the throne. I dare say, his message has been unequivocally received.
• 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
Album Sequencing: 1.9/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.8/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.7/2
TOTAL – 9 – Champion