It is quite hard to deny that Rema is one of the modern acts that has pushed Afropop into a modern and new generational genre. The singer has always introduced a vivid array of music-encompassing elements stretching from the high energy of Trap to the harmonic undertone of Reggaetón and the enveloping sonics of Bollywood themes.
All of these influences come to a peak on Rema‘s debut album, “Rave & Roses”. The project is a 16-song collection in which he deftly details love, addiction, and fate.
Rema expresses himself deeply on this album and analyses socio-economic issues with collaborations from a diverse lineup that includes US singer 6LACK, UK rapper AJ Tracey, and French vocalist Yseult. This album came through with all these talents without compromising the sensual drive that fuels most of “Rave & Roses”.
Let us go through the “Rave and Roses” album, track by track.
Divine is about Rema’s birth, and it depicts the difficulties, stress, anxiety, and anguish his mother had to endure. Regardless, it was the simplest birth she had ever experienced. She then named him Divine.
The best bit of the song demonstrates how far that extremely divine boy has come, as well as discussing how his mother’s prayers have been fighting battles since before he was born, and he deserves everything he gets.
Hold Me [Rema & 6LACK]. This song is a mature expression of love. Rema mentions a girl who isn’t entirely focused on the show, which is unusual in this generation. She primarily seeks someone who will love and respect her. She doesn’t care about his celebrity status, she only wants to hold him down and be his true love.
So the title denotes a sense of security around this woman. That’s what every man seeks: those peaceful moments in this crazy world where you feel protected.
Rema collaborated on this tune with 6LACK and brought his A-game. This song is a work of art.
Dirty is about sweet love and the beautiful moments that two persons can experience. It has a “Soundgasm” vibe to it, in my opinion. Also, the song’s final statement is primarily about the joy of having someone you care about.
Rema told Apple Music that this song is the next level in the “Hold Me” narrative; that’s how it progresses down the album.
Then we have the album play down and transition into party smash hits “Calm Down” and “Soundgasm”, two of which are amongst the album’s pre-release.
Time N Affection [Rema & Chris Brown]. This song is about how much time and effort you invest into someone you care about. Notably, Chris Brown‘s vocals can be heard on yet another Afrobeats album. He, indeed, contributed to the record’s uniqueness.
Jo is a lighthearted and upbeat record. The song is simply a cheerful groove that encompasses the album’s entire roses theme, which is linked to love.” Note that the Yoruba translation for dance is jo.
Mara is about the addiction and chaos that love brings. It’s that kind of advanced form of love, it’s actually called obsession.
Are You There? is a theme for a call to action. We are enraged by the government, and yet we have gradually accepted their nonsense, and we simply ignore it and only speak up when it affects us. We are still whining about the same things our parents were whining about.
Rema complains about numerous challenges everyone faces in this song, as well as the methods he has uses to express his thoughts about certain topics in Nigeria. Many things are happening at once, yet some people complain but still make time for clubbing while others are dying.
As a result, he chose to stop caring. He can’t be here focusing on the country’s negativity, so when he’s on vacation abroad, no one should bother him.
FYN [Rema & AJ Tracey]. “FYN” is about a young Benin boy named Rema who is working his way up. That’s how I used to refer to my “Big Bosses” back then “young and fresh n****s”
Rema hopped on this track and described himself as having reached this level. AJ Tracey nailed it with his verse. His flow was perfect for the lyricism, and his voice was perfect for the beat.
Carry is essentially the same concept as Rema‘s big hit “Lady“, he is praising an African woman’s body and what she represents from the inside out.
Wine [Rema & Yseult] is a love song written in English and French. Rema’s attempt is beautiful, you know, getting the French people to feel the Afrobeats rhythm. The music notes are clear; Yseult and Rema developed a strong bond with this album.
Notably, [Rave & Roses co-producer] London was responsible for ensuring that the collaboration took place; Rema says that London completed the song halfway and then forgot about it. Then London did his thing and returned with vocals from Yseult.
Rema really expresses his gratitude to London for bringing Rema and Yseult‘s worlds together. I will love to see a video for this one, we might as well have a summer explicit video like “Essence” in 2021.
Runaway. Rema stated that this song was influenced by his experiences prior to becoming famous. We live in a culture where boys hustle, and a guy could easily grab your babe, and you start to feel insecure about keeping down such a gorgeous girl because you’re broke and not in the position you want to be in.
“Runaway” is practically telling a girl that her love will not thrive in this environment. It’s the equivalent of telling her to run away with you and build a unique love for both of you.
Most part of the “Rave & Roses” album is love-themed and sensual. The track with the most valuable pen game is “Divine” then followed by “Are You There?”, in my opinion.
The love grows stronger from track to track, according to the album’s arrangement—from “Hold Me” to “Dirty” to “Mara” to “Love“. It’s a very good record – it’s both buzz and love. Two fantastic mediums, two fantastic frequencies to tap into, to completely encapsulate the Rema brand.
Remember Rema called himself “the future” on stage at the 2019 Headies ceremony after winning the Nigerian awards show’s Next Rated category. Those statements were considered a bold self-assessment by critics, however, the Benin-born musician has lived up to expectations.
Raves & Roses is the biggest Debut Afrobeats Album of all time as of today.
You can listen to the “Rave & Roses” by Rema here.