Album Review: Reminisce – El Hadj

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Rapper Reminisce returns on ElHadj with his now familiar brew of menacing beats (manufactured mostly by Sarz but with help from the likes of Sossick and Pheelz), sexual innuendo and fairy tales taken directly from the streets.

Having come a long way from his underground days, and arriving just as the local rapper movement was gaining momentum, Reminisce stuck around till his dreams became reality. Indigenous rap became mainstream.

But Reminisce has had to adjust and perhaps dilute his sound along the breadth of four albums to become an artiste that can be appreciated by all manners of listeners.It is not a sell out or dumbing down as much as it is an adaptation. Konsignment is the result of such compromises, a dance ready, moving-with-the-times kind of number that plays like a close relation of Falz’s guilty pleasure, Soft Work, only more adult in nature.

Telephone is another. In which hard guy Reminisce sings his own chorus, chants the verse and enlists the help of Olamide who is either the most successful or most tragic case of ‘’moving with the times’’ depending on who you are speaking with. Produced by Pheelz, Telephone is a harmless pseudo highlife confection that comes ready to impress on the pop charts.

READ: VIDEO: Phlex ft. Reminisce & Yung6ix – Roger

Reminisce’s El Hadj review

Those who are here for the hard core Reminisce can get their fix on lead single Asamalekun, a brooding shot of braggadocio, menace and prayer. There is also the throwback Where I Come From, a hopeful celebration of hood life and I Remember, an autobiographical narration that is at once stirring and sobering.

Parental advisory material is to be found on Ibadi, not the most original of titles but a serviceable, sweaty track that navigates the seedy world of strippers and pole dancing. Reminisce makes amorous advances to a girl crush on OwoRe and after asking for permission to fry her pomo and dodo, accedes that the ultimate decision lies in her hands.

Because Reminisce’s status state of mind is beast mode, no guest artiste ever came to a Reminisce project unprepared, it doesn’t matter if they are singers or rappers. He is just as likely to outshine the former as he is to murder the latter group. Wizkid, Davido, Phyno have all been noted to be on their best behaviour whenever they are guesting on a Reminisce track.

For El-Hadj, the unpredictable Solidstar turns in excellent work on the booty calling sizzler, 1.4.D.R  (One for the road). Ghanaian wunderkid brings his reggae-highlife flavour to I.E.N.B.G (If E Nobi God) and elder statesman 9ice continues his not so credible streak of only committing to interesting work when guesting on people’s project.

Speaking of, 2Baba himself, King of the can’t-be-bothered-so-I’ll-just-phone-it-in guest arcs seems genuinely excited by his supporting turn on the TMXO produced highlight Nobody knows. But it is the perennially underrated Sojay who does the most with a superior vocal turn on the closing song Larger than Life.

With big name collaborations, slick production work and familiar themes of sex, religion and the hustle, El-Hadj may be Reminisce’s most accessible album yet, a pilgrimage to the mind of the man and his experiences so far. The genuine revelations are few and far between but having arrived without the unnecessary tell all promised teased by last year’s Baba Hafusa, El-Hadj still lands with a thud.

Score: 7/10        

Wilfred Okiche

Wilfred Okiche

Wilfred Okiche is a movie buff and music head. He is still waiting for that one record that will change his life and remains ever optimistic. You can follow him on Twitter @drwill20

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