Like most young people, Mavin Records’ fast-rising wunderkind, Rema is a big fan of superheroes. The 19-year-old’s first two projects have songs named after Marvel favourites, Iron Man and Spider-Man. He even has a giant teddy bear he recently dubbed his sidekick.
With his latest release, Bad Commando – his third body of work this year – Rema all but confirms what we’ve suspected for a while now: the pint-sized singer with an affinity for masks is also a superhero in his own right, and his primary power is an innate ability to bend any genre to his will.
As for his secondary power, Rema seems to be clairvoyant, able to tell when he has a huge hit on his hands. Like with the career-defining “Dumebi”, which he prophetically opened with “another banger”, he kicks off the mixtape’s standout track, “Lady” with the same bold and undeniable declaration.
That’s not to say the other three songs on the project couldn’t all be easy hits. The title track has the youthful energy of his Obama-approved single, “Iron Man”; “Rewind” is the whine-ready track 2019 has been sorely lacking; and “Spaceship Jocelyn” will certainly please fans of his trap-influenced sound.
Speaking with OkayAfrica about his penchant for genre-hopping, Rema said:
“There’s no actual box I belong to, I create different types of sounds. I’m led by my spirit to create.”
All in all, Bad Commando, like both projects that came before it, is an inventively produced and solidly performed effort that proves Rema is the most exciting newcomer in Nigerian music today, and his seemingly superhuman grasp of afropop makes him the hero the far-reaching genre needs right now.
Listen to Bad Commando here.