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Pulse review of ‘Big Time’ by Rexxie

As a young man in the University, Rexxie delivered a career-defining beats for Slimcase whose “Shaku Shaku” sound swept across Nigeria’s soundscape and ushered in another era of street music, an Era Rexxie would go on to play a prominent role.

After making his name as the go to producer for any act who wanted to score a street hit, Rexxie would go on to become synonymous with Street music as he proudly owned up to on his debut project ‘Afro Street’.

His debut album ‘A True Champion’ documented his surreal rise to fame and this is easily reflected in the heavyweights he was able to pull together for the project. And while several songs on the projects are distinct, they fail to come together as a coherent body of work. This is a familiar failing that has plagued street acts. Despite becoming the Street champion, Rexxie wanted to be more than just being the go-to guy for Street music albeit he gained incredible success and two Grammys awards from this tag.

For his sophomore album, ‘Big Time’ it’s easy to see the manifestation of a whole different mindset. One where he isn’t chasing hit songs or trying to assert himself as the Greg Kurstin of Street music. He appears to be preoccupied with putting together a cohesive body of work that transcends beyond his primary base and sonic familiarity. To go by the title, he wishes to go big.

While Amapiano is a common denominator across his debut and sophomore album, the former had a more street-facing cadence while ‘Big Time’ is more delicately curated for a Pop audience.

Even while employing a dominant Amapiano sound, Rexxie was able to refine it to fit into Pop space that makes for more appeal and balance.

The Pop direction is evident in the first track where Lojay delivers a mid-tempo melody over a Rexxie soft-kicking Amapiano beat. Lojay’s pop delivery is an element that’s repetitive all through the project.

On ‘Call My Phone,’ super duo Ajebo Hustlers switches between a Pop delivery and smooth rap which is similar to what Alpha P and Azanti did in ‘Dinero’ where they added some Trap flows over an Amapiano beat.

The synergy that Alpha P and Azanti display is also repetitive in Teni and Sarkodie‘s ‘Fallacy’ as well as ‘Lagos’ where Busiswa, L.A.X, and Shashie combine smoothly. The manner in which the featured artists achieve a comprehensive partnership is a testament to good A&Ring as well as the careful curation that runs through the album.

Even in Street-pop records like ‘Taka Oshi’ with newcomer Berri Tiga and ‘No More Condition’ feat Zinoleesky there’s an underlying sonic cadence that’s achieved through a Pop delivery.

Rexxie successfully tweaks the underlying Amapiano theme to fit into various familiar Afrobeats territories. In ‘Lagos,’ the Amapiano leans towards the synth-driven South African variant while in the club banger ‘Abracadabra,’ he employs log drums which is Nigeria’s primary Amapiano component.

In ‘Credit Score’ feat Zlatan and NSG and he adds Drill elements through the application of the log drums and in ‘Again’ feat BackRoad Gee he delivers a Swing beat as he explores the dual UK sounds that have interacted with Afrobeats in recent years.

While topically, the album doesn’t retain a dominant theme, the sonic coherence that employs an underlying Amapiano sound with Pop leaning speaks to Rexxie’s intention. And as far as the title is concerned, it presents him to be more than just the go-to guy for Street music.

In ‘Big Time,’ Rexxie recruits the assistance of the Afrobeats superstar as he sought to display that he’s more than just the go-to guy for street hits.

With production credit across all 12 tracks, Rexxie displayed his talent that extends beyond party starters. His production on ‘Slow Whine’, ‘Fallacy’, and ‘Again’ offers insight into his capacity to play at the level of other producers who are considered versatile. Also, his use of violin in ‘Dinero’ is a statement of his ability to create something similar to the distinctive component of Magic Sticks beats.

The album achieves a comprehensive listening experience, especially for its sonic coherence and the synergy between the collaborators.

Overall, ‘Big Time’ is a notable improvement on his debut album as it takes Rexxie’s abilities beyond the singular scope of Street music while positioning him for more success.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

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