The night Reminisce and friends thrilled the Lagos streets

On 26 February, rapper Reminisce headlined a lively series of performances also featuring his peers. Tagged “The Street Concert” and supported by Samsung and Orijin, two brands the dyed hair rapper endorses, the event took place at the parking lot of the Ikeja City Mall located on the Lagos Mainland. Extra support on the night was provided by The Zone Agency, Notabene and Halogen Security Limited.

Olamide hugs headliner Reminisce. Photo: Clicks and Tones
Olamide hugs headliner Reminisce. Photo: Clicks and Tones

Before Reminisce’s entry onstage, a hype man set the mood singing along to a DJ set and speaking to the attendees. “If you are from the streets, put your hand up,” he yelled. The audience, already a throng, yelled back and stretched their hands towards the darkening sky.

The headliner came on wearing a face cap, shirt with folded sleeves, and jeans. The shirt came off as songs from his Book of Rap Stories, Alaga Ibile, Baba Hafusa and El-Hadj flowed live from his microphone. At the end of his first set, a new Samsung phone model, Galaxy Grand Prime Plus, was unveiled. In introducing the phone, the rapper spoke to his audience in Yoruba and English.

Rappers Seriki and Baseone, without heavy airplay on mainstream radio, came on to overwhelming cheers, proving that the Nigerian music industry might be fragmented into 'street' and 'non-street' categories. With Reminisce, they performed the song 'Feego'. Each of their punchlines drew applause from their audience.

Songs from these rappers, though not well-known to the general public, could be heard rapped word for word by members of the audience, who seemed to connect to these artists like family. Both rappers did some freestyle, some rap version of spoken word poetry in the grand Yoruba hip-hop tradition. Seriki, a huge star in the streets, connected a punchline to global politics. “The madness in my head is greater than the one in Donald Trump’s,” he said. The crowd hollered. The street-pop artist called Small Doctor had a similarly thunderous reception.

The one rapper who, to some degree, maintains both street and non-street fans, Olamide, a frequent Reminisce collaborator, showed up to one of the highest cheers of the night. Along with Reminisce, he performed their classic tune, ‘Local Rappers’. Only Phyno was missing from the original line-up. Clad in a blue jersey with the Italian flag, hair dyed, cheeks full, he then proceeded on a string of his own hits, each sparking revelry among the gathered fans. His new single, ‘Pepper Dem Gang,’ saw the introduction of YBNL new artist Davolee. The newcomer then used his boss as hype-man on 'Festival Bar', a song of his own.

As the night wore on, more artists of the pop scene came on. Some like Niniola, YCee, Viktoh, Eva, Falz and Harrysong, performed songs. Others like Koker, CDQ and Reekado Banks had sub-song-length cameos.

When Reminisce returned minutes before midnight, he sounded tired. Understandably perhaps. Unlike before he lip synced to his music. Ice Prince succeeded Reminisce's second coming. Although not the most street rapper on the night, Ice Prince was well-received by the audience. He closed the concert.

The night showed that Reminisce and his cohorts command quite a following in the streets, enough for a very succesful concert. There was another theme just under the surface of the fact of Reminisce's street appeal, as demonstrated mainly by Ice Prince: Even in the streets, hit music has undeniable currency.

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