After making fans wait eight years for his fifth studio album, releasing and changing his tracklist three times, Reminisce finally released it to the public on October 27, 2023.

Many Nigerian OGs are tiring out, and their new albums barely give the value of their previous work. But not Reminisce, who’s been in the game since 2003. He returns with Alaye Toh Se Gogo, his first body of work since El-Hadj in 2016, and it’s worth the wait. 

On first listen, there’s no ascertaining what direction he’ll attack in, even though a general idea of his brand pops in one’s head — clever one-liners and lamba, charging quotables and daring subliminals at foes, sexcapade and high-libido anthems, with some romantic cuts, of course.

He’s been in the limelight for eleven consecutive years since 2012, remaining highly rated and critically acclaimed through it all — “do am if e easy,” Reminisce dares naysayers on the opening of this new album.

Alaye Toh Se Gogo is a street laurel that loosely translates to “certified boss” or simply “top boy,” but the type that Dushane in the grimy British TV show Top Boy would aspire to become. It’s a different beast when a veteran steps out, especially after hibernating for almost a decade.

The first track, Eyes, is a look-back at the uneasy come-ups he achieved against odds. He shares how if music hadn’t paid off for him, an unclean route would’ve likely made a way. This is a story that finds resonance with many individuals around the world.

Mayorkun’s support in chorus duty makes it the perfect album opener — a good combo of rap and singing — as Reminisce fires two shells of boastful yet introspective verses. He had to remind listeners and the competition that he gets sharper with age. He already proved he’s among the meanest rappers in the country.

Awon Aye follows. In Reminisce’s singing bag, another ammo spawned, shot at animosity and jealousy. He cleverly interpolates Pasuma’s Ligali into the hook, giving a local tongue-lashing vibe to it. This song is potent enough to give supposed detractors a wobbly walk when they pass by.

Since Omo X 100 dropped in 2021, Olamide only sings the chorus on their music collaborations, the heavy rap-lifting left to Reminisce. However, on their latest, Orin, the third track on ATSG Vol. 1, they relayed their silent battles and unexpressed emotions, which they compensate with a rewarding bank account and baller lifestyle. They talk about how hard it is for men to bottle up their feelings and keep rising to the occasion. Though soul-lifting, this track is a classic case of men drowning in hustle as a suppressant or escape from vulnerability and life’s drama.

If you’re familiar with Reminisce’s catalogue, all the man wants is his money and more money. This is the theme of Hustle featuring Bnxn and D Smoke. Alaga recounts his struggles to succeed and the vim to push his hustle and never stop.

Well, what’s a Nigerian to do?

The next track plays, and with it comes a realisation that Reminisce’s rap cuts are getting shorter with each song. In just a minute and approximately thirty seconds, Reminisce went full rapper mode on Recycle, just flexing his lyricism. It’s unsatisfying, but there’s more rap on the next track, E.N.K.R. The album version of the previously released song includes Ycee and artist-producer, Rhookcastle, who had the most outstanding performance on it.

Reminisce gets on his “sex symbol” assignment with innuendos at the core of his music on this album. On Shina Peters with Mohbad, he paints a picture of his sexual affairs — straight to the “ta-ta-ta” playlist.

Although Rotate brings out your waistline and legwork, it ends before four steps are made. Another display of Reminisce’s versatility, he effortlessly sings fuji with a new-age delivery that maintains its tempo and modulation, making street-pop his domain. Olu Maintain, the next track, showed him in his fresh pocket; a drill jam alongside youngins Dremo Drizzy, OdumoduBlvck and Powpezzy.

Oxlade’s falsetto cued in Why?, a romantic song in which Reminisce remained uncouth. The longing expressed on the song segued into Mora, a folklore performance — one of the best songs on the album — quite similar to his 2017 hit, Ponmile.

Although a filler Reminisce insisted on keeping on the album despite his team’s stance, Tight featuring Kayode, is a chilled braggadocious song about making money and having fun. It also speaks to Reminisce’s dedication to propelling young talents to a wider audience. Kayode, Powpeezy and even OdumoduBlvck, who recorded his verse for Reminisce before his breakout song, Declan Rice, dropped earlier in the year. On the Zero Conditions podcast, Reminisce mentioned how he’d rather do this than tweet about his support for the “young cats”.

The album ended with an acoustic rendition of Mora, the perfect street song to express love that doesn’t want to end.

Alaye Toh Se Gogo is a solid body of work away from his previous works and successful formula. It offers cohesive production and stellar performance at the age of 42. Age is just a figure in hip-hop. Legends in their 40s and 50s, like Show Dem Camp, M.I Abaga, Nas, Wu-Tang, still make music, cancelling the old “too old to rap” narrative. Fact is, if you got it, you got it.

Reminisce got it. 

Alaye Toh Se Gogo is the new honour the street has bestowed on him. This title encapsulates his evolution as an artist, solidifying his superstardom and street legend.

It’s three days to our meat festival in Lagos. Get your Burning Ram ticket ASAP.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.