It is commonplace, here in Western Nigeria, for parents to be addressed by attaching ‘Baba’ or ‘Mama’ to the name of one of their progenies, e.g Baba Hafusa. Such names evoke respect as they tell us that the person in question is responsible for, at least, the child by whose name he/she is called. Also, such names are usually personal as they are more likely to be preferred by people with whom one is very familiar. Therefore, when I heard that Reminisce’s third studio album would be called ‘Baba Hafusa,’ I had some expectations of the album. Aside from the standard expectations one might rightfully have of an album by a worthy MC of Reminisce’s standing, I particularly expected this album to have a more personal touch, with a fairly liberal sprinkling of anecdotes about his life as a family man, business man, and of course as an artiste. The album art further heightened this expectation as Reminisce (Baba Hafusa) could be seen clutching a teddy bear (probably belonging to Hafusa, I thought) under one arm and holding a baby carriage in the other hand. When you add to that the fact that prior to the release of the album, the Alaga himself posted a picture of his beautiful daughter, Hafusa, on the Internet, then my expectations begins to seem, at least to me, to be justified.
This album opens with Sojay’s pleasantly mellow voice singing I’ve been grinding all my life yeah/ so I can be better… over an unassuming piano riff that soon gives way to a fuller, banging beat upon which Reminisce convincingly laces his spirited flows like butter over bread. Tyrone deserves singular praise for the production on this jam. ‘Grind’ is a fine start to this album and the perfect forerunner to ‘Baba Hafusa, a hit song in my estimation. ‘Baba Hafusa’ has ‘street anthem’ written boldly all over it. The chant of Sha la’laga /sha la’laga /Baba’afusa sha la’laga, which runs through the length of the song, is guaranteed to rouse even the most reticent crowd. Tyrone threw it down again, and Alaga rode it gracefully like a monarch! Nearly every verse on this song is surfeited with quotables that invariably say, ‘Alaga is the king of the street and therefore, not your mate.’ Epic!
‘Saida,’ though groovy, felt too unserious for me and slightly dampened my enthusiasm. The kegite/gyration feel of the song didn’t work for me. And from here on the album seems to sink to a predictable, uninspiring depth until ‘I need a girl’ comes on. ‘I need a girl’ is an introspective, slow jam where Reminisce, intelligently, flays his two-timing mistress for being unfaithful. Although the singing on the hook strikes one as indolent and inept, it doesn’t bankrupt this song of its value. Jam!
I had a problem with the quality of the sampling on ‘Local Rappers’ when the single dropped earlier, and I’m quite impressed that Tyrone took note and amended the album version, which is a lot smoother by the way. This is a track that features three frontline rappers in Nigeria and they all gave a good account except for Olamide who was inchoate and appeared to have had one two many on the night. ‘Tesojue’ is the vulgar hit single off the album, where a brash Reminisce promises to impress his love interest with his lovemaking prowess, if given the chance of course. His proposition when he says Wa fe ku laleyi, comes across a tad menacing, but I hear the ladies find ‘menacing’ oddly sexual, so…
The hook on ‘Alagbara,’ sung by sosick, is a stirring prayer with lyrics that will resonate deeply with Nigerians, being a very religious people. Reminisce equally filled his verses with a rather subtle acknowledgement of God’s blessing upon his life and it was nice. Good jam.
‘Kososhi’ and ‘Busayo’ left me totally jaded. There is only so much ‘breast,’ ‘bum bum,’ ‘yansh,’ ‘sex,’ songs my fragile heart can endure on this album.
Don’t let the title fool you; ‘Nothing’ is no push over. Sarz created the perfect ambience with this laid-back beat for Reminisce and Vector to do their thing and both of them killed it! It will be nice to have accompanying visuals to this song. Sojay also gave a good account of himself on this track, and indeed the album. However, I still think he will have to step his game up a notch for his debut. Reminisce raps up the album with ‘Outro’ where he thanks his fans for their loyalty and puts in a strong, heartfelt word for Sojay. That is selfless! Meanwhile, the ‘Outro’ beat is so good, I wish Reminisce had made a full track out of it, anyway, ama go ahead and murder this shit (in J Cole’s voice) lol!
Tada!! We still outchea fam. No, the album didn’t quite end after the ‘Outro.’ Alaga gifted us a bonus track, ‘Let it be known,’ and this song is pure fire! For me, Reminisce should have had his ‘outro’ speech hitched to this song for a more fitting conclusion. Nice track.
The Mob’s Summary
On the whole, Baba Hafusa, the album, boasts of a couple great songs and “a lot of tungba,” as Reminisce, himself, admitted in a preview of the album here (don’t ask me what tungba means).
However, the most prominent shortcoming of Baba Hafusa, to my mind, is its narrow range of topics. Over half of the songs on the album were about women, and the lyrics were thick with sexual innuendo. While that is not a problem in itself, I find it disturbing because it appears to go against the general perception evoked by the album art and title, and points to a less than thorough song selection process for the album. Apparently, the Baba Hafusa album title is just a title; perhaps they should have left it as just a track name. Also, the production on the album, as a whole, was of dubious value. I think Reminisce would have done well to step out of the familiar, and explore other creative options like Kidkonnect, Ikon, Majorbangz, XO for this project.
Let it be known that Reminisce’s talent, as an MC, is irrefutable; I just wish he had endeavoured to make the creative leap that this project so direly needed.
But what do I know? Cop the album here
*The thoughts and views expressed in this review are exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Jaguda.com.*