Rapper, Demiji Omoya released a 3rd EP, Memoirs of 618 on March 30th. The emcee introduces us to his mind, struggles, thought-process, and life convictions. It is a very conscious and introspective project. The EP also spotlights how the corrupt society is a major cause of the declining mental health of the Nigerian Youth.
This isn’t my first time listen to Dimeji (also 618), but I’ve always felt he and Femi Jr. have the same rap style; topic, delivery, knowledge. They are both self-aware and express themselves perspicuously. The reason why I enjoy both of them is one comes from the angle of Haves, while the other comes from the have nots.
Here’s my take on this classical, traditional conscious hip-hop EP, Memoirs of 618.
Dimeji opens the EP with insightful rhymes. These lines show you that he is well-read, composed, and self-aware. He talks about the demons he battled to transcend into this current mental and spiritual state he is currently in. The rapper spotlights the corruption, the ripple effect of its practice in the daily lives of the youth. Both Haves and have nots.
The track runs on a looped violin-only sample, which immediately demands your full attention to hear him out word.
Essence of Adolescence
He partners with a long-time friend and colleague, Lekadot, to talk about privileged youth and debauchery lifestyle. Only this time, he focuses on his time as an undergraduate of OAU, Ife. This particular song is my favourite as I could relate, almost literally with his lines, during my time on the same campus. The song went from how fun it was when it all began and went on to how it spiralled down for everyone in his circle. Under peer pressure, a lot of youths turn to crime in order to surpass or match their friends’ lifestyles.
“Before I found God, It was money I did worship/Replacing my insecurities with filling purses” line showed when he reached a point of realisation of the vain life he was leading. He became self-aware, and began to ask questions “There’s got to be more to life than this”
Elixir is a unique version of 50 Cent‘s 21 Questions. He shows his tender side as he lays out his worries and insecurities with his love life. Cake Bas provide soft melodies to capture the mood of the song. The song is well put together, and gives the B.I.G nostalgia. He rides the beat’s bounce neatly as he delivers smooth lyrics of a man drunk in love.
It isn’t a coincidence this song comes after Elixir. Dimeji brings forth his hard side, after showing us his soft side in the preceding track. He goes all out on this beat as he makes his point regarding his lyrical and emcee abilities. He took on complicated rhyme schemes and rhyming with words that naturally didn’t rhyme.
Dimeji was all on point on lyrical and the song is a good bop jam that elevates your mode and gets you nodding your head involuntarily. He had a roll call on the second verse; from his mentors (Modenine & M.I) down to his crew. It should bring in good streaming numbers, as it will be present in a number of playlists.
Memoirs (Dark Days)
This track is a sequel to Essence of Adolescence. Talks about the depression that comes after the pleasures of adolescence and then jolted back to reality. Dimeji found solace in writing down his thoughts, he found a purpose and passion in rapping. This new dream was also fuelled by the good life that awaits a successful artist, and the energy he got off Blaqbonez and Astrap‘s passion for making hip-hop music.
Millions of Nigerians are currently grinding to get out of dark days from the endless social injustice being dished out by public officers on citizens. The emcee goes “without the fame and the press, finances and cheques/politicians would step on my neck” to point out how the system is designed to frustrate your efforts to earn a better life.
Viveeyan was the star of the show, with an immaculate performance that puts the entire song into perspective.
Burden of Proof
A poignant song that puts a spotlight on the consequences of corruption on the Nigerian youth. The song used an interview cut of American Jazz poet, Gil Scott-Heron (video below), and Prof. Lumumba as its intro. Both samples did well in preparing the listener’s mind for the song.
He raps “All we said was to #EndSARS, and all they did was to bring pain” to paint a picture of the current mental and emotional state of the #EndSARS protesters. A peaceful protest about the high-handedness of the police, on its citizen, was met with water cannons, tear gas, illegal arrests and detentions, police brutality, and extrajudicial killings.
All the institutions put in place to (provide and maintain basic amenities) guarantee the future and safety of the citizen are riddled with corruption. Whether you are an upstanding citizen or not, so long as you are young and earn a good living (or not), you already make the cut for police harassment in the country. The situation has left millions of Nigerian youths in trauma, always in a constant state of anxiety, at home and/or in public.
It is the right song to end the ep, as it reflects the times the album was produced.
Memoirs of 618 is a short novel about the mind (mental and emotions) of the Nigerian youth. They spend a part of their adult life searching for their purpose. They worry about their love life, their partner’s commitment. The descent into debauchery and the growth that comes with hitting rock bottom.
Lyrically, I’d say Dimeji has it on lock. He falls short on delivery. He seems to more words in small spaces, thus compromising rhythm and breath control. The emcee could try working around it by picking up Rick Ross‘ chilled style of not chasing the beat, while he works on improving his breath control.
The EP is a very decent project. Dimeji delivers an EP that looks at the challenges and mental gymnastics of the Nigerian youth, due to the effects of corruption. Regardless of your source of wealth, as private (non-politically affiliated) citizen, we are all preys to the ills of our society.
I enjoyed Memoirs of 618 and it has good replay value. Looking forward to his debut album.