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A Pulse review of ‘Alaye Toh Se Gogo’ by Nigerian rapper Reminisce

Reminisce’s return had to be on his terms. He wasn’t going to do music just for the sake of it. He made this clear in an interview with renowned Culture Journalist Ayomide Tayo where he revealed that he was done making movies despite enjoying critical acclaim for his role in ‘King of Boys’. Such is Reminisce’s ability to leave things behind when he’s convinced he’s done with them hence fans had to wait 8 years for him to release ‘Alaye Toh Se Gogo’.

On ‘Alaye Toh Se Gogo’, Reminisce highlights his status as a Nigerian rap great who has endured for over a decade. He looks back at the journey with fondness, and gratitude, and with the confidence of an OG who has stuck around long enough to collaborate with the new school of rappers.

A rapper’s rapper, Reminisce need not reinvent the wheel, instead, he offers the quintessential versions of himself that have earned him the love of fans and the respect and admiration of colleagues. He stays true to his code while offering diversity and injecting excitement through tailored collaborations.

Reminisce’s cadence makes him a rapper whose music appeals to both inner-city and urban listeners. Like his character in Kemi Adetiba‘s Netflix special ‘King of Boys’, Reminisce has a street cred that runs across the southwestern part of Nigeria and beyond. A grounded family man with an eye for business, Reminisce is among the few rappers who frequent boardrooms and lend his image to top brands.

His versatility is on full display on ‘ATSG’ where he offers different pieces of himself. Whether it be classily narrating his come-up in ‘Eyes’, calmly putting his detractors in their place in ‘Awon Aye’, or playing giving insights into his sexcapades in ‘Shina Peters’.

Reminisce could deliver vulgarity just as well as he can craft serenading tunes like ‘Why’ where he duets with Oxlade and in ‘Mora’ where he explores the folk music with which he creates his classic ‘Ponmile’.

He can lay the hardest 16-bar verse just as smoothly as he did in ‘Recycle’ while also still weaving through speaker-rattling Street Hop records as he did in ‘Rotate’.

Across 13 tracks, Reminisce offers different pieces of himself that he ties together with his cadences which makes for a well-executed album.

With over a decade in the game, Reminisce looks back at his come-up with the satisfaction of a man to whom less was given yet made the most of it. He has been grinding in the music scene for 20 years (since 2003) and after eventually gaining mainstream success in 2012, he has continued to stay relevant. It’s from this mindset of an overcomer that he opens the album.

Introspection is a major part of the album. At 42, Reminisce is at a point in his life where he looks back fondly at the journey and makes music from the position of an OG who hasn’t lost touch with the street.

“Took a minute before I made it so I hustle like never f**king made it,” Reminisce says in ‘Hustle’ on which BNXN delivers an exceptional chorus. Across the album, he restates this struggle to gain success and it continues to drive him to keep pushing himself.

Never one to shy away from saying how he feels, in ‘ATSG’, Reminisce has a word for his contemporaries both veteran and new. He doesn’t care for the Nigerian hip-hop GOAT list nor does he care for the naysayers. “Not to be fucked with…Not to be tweeted about,” he says in ‘Recycle’ as he gives out a clear warning to his detractors. He goes hard on the Boom Bap ‘E.N.K.R’ where he thumps his chest in quintessential rapper fashion and shows the flows that place him in a league of his own. His status as an OG is highlighted next to YCEE and the youngster Rhookcastle who held their own.

He offers some modern touch on the chest-thumping Drill record named after the “Yahooze Master” Olu Maintain who brought luxury into Afrobeats. While chasing luxury and big drip, Reminsice, ODUMODUBLVCK, Dremo, and Powpezzy also gave shoutouts to late rap great Da Grin.

While he’s a rapper, Reminisce has a decent collection of street hits in his cache and he showcases the Neo Fuji side of him in ‘Shina Peters’ where he shines next to the late Street Hop maestro Mohbad and in the jarring street innercity carnival crafted ‘Rotate’.

He offers Pop leaning records in ‘Why’ where Oxlade lays a smooth verse and on ‘Tight’ where he lays Pop rap flows over Kayode’s chorus. And in ‘Mora’, Reminisce serenades on a Folk record that would find ready listeners in older and female demographics.

At a time when Nigerian albums seem to struggle with offering sonic coherence while still delivering diversity and excitement, ‘ATSG’ offers diversity without losing its purpose.

The album offers the exciting parts of Reminisce who continues to remain one of Nigeria’s Hip Hop most prolific rappers. The collaborations infused much needed sonic diversity and excitement while the production and sequencing provides an enjoyable listen experience with no part of the album feeling flat.

With ‘Alaye Toh Se Gogo,’ Reminisce shows the veterans how to make an album on their terms while still crafting music the mainstream can enjoy.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2

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