Before this album’s release, you could argue that Reminisce was a niche rapper, as he is tucked away at his corner of the southwest where he is king, slumming it with the noisiest rappers out there. Your evidence would be that he has only gained notoriety for his roles in King of Boys, and King of Boys: Return of The King. But not after this album. Reminisce may have dropped the year’s best hip-hop album.
ATSG Vol.1 has been long expected, and the final product is worth every day spent. The album provides an exquisite listening experience whether you are competent in Yoruba or not. Reminisce often takes inspiration from traditional Yoruba and fuji music and contemporary Yoruba music. He doesn’t just incorporate them as they are, instead, he transforms them into more contemporary bites that are easily digestible. The result is a project with high-quality musical production and lyrical and thematic depth. ATSG Vol. 1 is his radio-friendliest offering yet.
The first track, Eyes, has some of the best saxophone solos on the Nigerian scene, and the choir backup is expertly done. It sets the entire album’s energy; it gets more intense here. Mayorkun sings the hook, one of his best works on a hip-hop track.
Eyes is sonically blessed. The production is masterful as it employs inspiration from numerous genres of local Nigerian music. Coming out of the Southwest, this has to be one of the best music albums this year, and obviously, “the best in the Southwest, okay”.
Awon Aye features a creative use of the saxophone and some of the finest compositions. Perhaps, if I understood the Yoruba language more, I would tell precisely how intricately crafted this track was.
The chorus in Orin talks about Reminsice’s journey to where he is. A song like this gets us to understand the struggles that his music has seen to get this good. Say what you want about how there is a choir in almost every song, the production team knows how to use multiple voices well and as Olamide leads the hook, it becomes perhaps one of the best things you will hear on the album.
At this point in the album, you won’t be mistaken if you think Reminisce sounds different from how he sounds on other tracks. This could perhaps point to the sparse use of autotune for the voices on this album.
Hustle features BNXN on the hook and the supremely talented D Smoke, so this song is primarily English. It speaks on hustle, trying your best to get what you want. D Smoke matches Reminisce’s energy on this track, spitting a verse that seamlessly glides from line to line. Here, you have two rap maestros at work, and listening to this jam is like eating warm, sweet bread, with Buju as the butter. And there is that sax backup to elevate the sonic experience of this jam.
Ever heard one of those cyphers where rappers emerge en masse and strut their stuff? ENKR feels like that, except these three rappers feel like a whole block of lyricists rolling out some of the hardest bars they have ever written. Ycee shows up and murders his verse. Rhookcastle carves his first name in stone with his peppered flow on this track.
Shina Peters is the track where you can see and almost touch the tools of Remilekun Safaru’s trade and why his music is timeless. His use of traditional fuji rhythms and contemporary Yoruba music in his songs has always been masterful. He has wholly owned that style. Therefore, his combination with Mohbad will be unstoppable as that is also Mohbad’s creative forte. Together, they create a feel-good song that is unforgettable. If only we could get more features.
Rotate is an interlude that firmly settles us in the album’s party section. Rotate will be used by DJs all through the festive season to hype the crowds in the club up.
You may not be ready for Olu Maintain if you thought you had heard just how hard this album could hit. Odumodublvck, Dremo, Powpeezy and Reminisce take this track apart like tigers, licking the flesh clean off the track. You can add nothing to the quality of hip-hop delivered on this album.
Reminisce has always been great at writing love ballads. His poetry picks up speed when he decides to wield it.
Why defines why Yoruba men are demons. Reminisce courts a woman, worries about his insecurities and hopes she stays with him. The style is very aggressive.
And what is an album rapped in Yoruba without a wedding song? Mora is the gentlest offering on the album. Reminisce raps about the purity of love he has for a girl. This would make a great addition to many wedding playlists.
In Recycle, Reminisce says about the state of the hip-hop industry, “Ain’t nothing changed, since I dropped the last one.” He is not wrong.
ATSG Vol. 1 sounds more natural than most of the projects out this year. The instrumental composition was put together by people who understand what makes a beat melodious. Underneath the drums and bass are tuneful compositions, either by piano, saxophone or other percussion instruments. You won’t find wandering tunes or throwaway loops.
With Alaye To Se Gogo Vol. 1, Reminisce proves he is a music industry veteran. He has grown consistently and delivered songs that grow to become classics. A lot more credit should be given to him.