Ten years ago, Nigerian superstar rapper Reminisce AKA Alaga Ibile released his debut album ‘Book of Rap Stories’.
This album came at a time when Hip-Hop was undergoing its first major evolution in the hands of new school rappers who deployed sonically appealing style as opposed to the traditional hardcore hip-hop style.
The Street’s Hostile Takeover: During the commercial height of Hip-Hop in Nigeria, indigenous rappers played a vital role in popularizing hip-hop. They also popularize a style of music capable of mutating and evolving in a manner that retains the attention and patronage of a growing audience that found a much-needed connection and identity with indigenous rap.
These indigenous rappers were condescendingly referred to as Local Rappers by a section of the hip-hop community. This was a tag they would come to wear as a badge of honor and while the non-indigenous section of Nigerian hip hop will suffer an inevitable slump due to its foundation being built on the derived taste, Local Rappers continued to evolve and soar.
‘Book of Rap Stories’: One of the rappers that defined the Era of the Local rappers and who has remained one of Nigeria’s finest rappers is Reminisce.
Alaga Ibile as he is fondly called has been in the corridors of Nigerian hip-hop since the late 2000s. He however didn’t really get his foot in the room of hip-hop stars until the early 2010s.
After Reminisce appeared on Jahbless‘s 2011 hit single ‘Joor O’, he followed it up with his break-out single ‘Kako Bi Chicken and for him, nothing was the same.
Reminisce is a man of many talents and ‘Kako Bi Chicken is a Sarz-produced single that basically showcases these talents. A fuji-inspired single, Reminisce combined Fuji Tungba with rap to deliver an electrifying performance that stunned the listeners.
Looking back at his debut album, Reminisce showcased his strong leaning to the street while putting up impressive efforts to offer a balance that appeals to a wider audience.
In ‘Quality’ and ‘Ever Since’ feat. 9ice, and ‘Jemi’ feat. Jahbless, Reminisce delivered his lines in English. In ‘2Mushh’ the other leading single off the album, he delivered a smooth rap performance in Yoruba generously sprinkled with street slang.
On ‘If Only’ Reminisce delivered a pop song blending English and Yoruba in a performance likely inspired by the P-Square pop sound that dominated that era.
Reminisce was active during the hardcore era of Nigerian hip hop and his music was also influenced by hardcore US rap. He showcased this in ‘Gbabe’ feat. Dagrin & XP as he dug deep and delivered a hardcore rap.
In the ‘Book of Rap Stories’, Reminisce gave listeners a glimpse of his ability to deliver sultry content with ‘Quality’. This ability to deliver stimulating content will be further showcased in subsequent projects alongside his many other talents.
Reminisce also made a play for commercial singles with songs such as ‘2Mush’, ‘Tinkin’ feat. Patoranking, ‘Kako Bi Chicken’, ‘Jemi’ feat. Jahbless, and ‘Caro’. However, only ‘Kako Bi Chicken’ and ‘2Mush’ achieve mainstream success.
Success, Impact, and Longevity: ‘Book of Rap Stories’ enjoyed modest success with ‘Kako Bi Chicken’ and ‘2Mush’ achieving wide patronage.
‘Kako Bi Chicken’ earned a nomination for Best Street Hop at the 2012 Headies Awards. At the 2013 Headies Awards, ‘2Mush’ earned a nomination for Best Rap Single, and ‘Book of Rap Stories’ earned a nod for the Album of the Year.
The album was able to give Reminisce the success needed to position him as the Chairman of Street music which was captured a year later with the release of ‘Alaga Ibile’.
The album doesn’t offer much nostalgia as the majority of the singles and the project as a whole didn’t make a strong impression on consumers.
Despite not being a commercial success, ‘Book of Rap Stories’ was a debut album that showcased the rich multi-faceted talents of one of Nigeria’s finest rappers and it contributed to the rise of the Local Rappers.