Remilekun Safaru, known as Reminisce, of the ‘‘Kako Bi Chicken’’ fame, is hot again with the song entitled “Daddy” that featured Davido. In this interview with TADE MAKINDE, the rapper opens up on his steady rise to the top in the music industry, his relationship with Olamide and contract with a whiskey brand. Excerpts:
Book of Rap Story. Fans believe you killed the album by not allowing it to run its span. What do you have to say to that?
That’s not correct. I only want to believe that the album has run its time. It was out for about a year and a half, March 30, 2012 to November 2013. In this age where old is not close to new, that’s a long period enough for a good album with four hot singles on it; Kako bi Chicken; If Only; Too Much and also Too Much remix.
Is the life span of an album supposed to be determined by the number of years or acceptance from fans?
Well, for me, four popular songs in my first album hardly happen to a first timer or for someone who does not have a solid ground. So, dropping a first album, and a successful one at that, really gave me the confidence to believe more in myself. Now, I have a stand in the industry. I want to do something greater than what I did with my first album. When the first album came out, I did not have a record label. I did everything alone as an independent artiste. Now that I’m back with Alaga Ibile, which has also received a very massive acceptance, I can only say I am very happy about it.
So, you don’t think you killed the first album when you immediately released Alaga Ibile after Book of Rap Story?
No, I don’t think so because most of the songs in Rap Story are still hot and enjoying air play. Besides, I still perform them at shows till this moment.
Is Alaga Ibile doing good compared to the first album?
Of course, it is. In fact, it is doing much better than the first album because in five months, I have sold 820,000 copies.
How do you know that?
I have a receipt to prove it. I don’t go on Instagram to post what I have sold or the type of cars I drive and all that stuff, but we all listen to music and we know who is selling, who is not. We know those artistes who depend on hype to be relevant, and those whose songs are really selling and I can tell you that at this moment, Alaga Ibile is selling. Daddy is one of the biggest songs on the album and that, to me, is an honour. Honour in the sense that I did not expect I was going to be in the big league with the top players. It is a wide and very big league with a lot of competition. For example, sometimes when am in the traffic I ask CD vendors myself if they have Alaga Ibile CDs. I also ask other marketers. Though they won’t really disclose how many copies of CDs they’ve sold since you have been paid by them to market your songs, I know the industry is really moving. I promise myself to drop videos every month as my token of appreciation to my fans.
It is believed that you are the king of the street now. Before, it was the late Dagrin, but Olamide, in a song entitled “Sitting On The Throne” said he’s not fighting you or MI. Why would he even say that?
Well, everybody knows that we are both from the South West and we are doing good with a lot of similarities. We are also I.D Cabasa’s product at different times. I am from the earlier with the likes of 9ice, etc, while he was with Seriki, so we have a lot of similarities. However, people expect us to fight, especially our fans, but we can’t. I said this at an edition of the monthly Industry Night which he attended just to support me by performing. I even talked about my misunderstanding with Vector and that we are still good friends despite the misunderstanding. I remember back then when our indigenous rap had no stand in the music industry. We were not accepted by many in the country, but now we have a ground and the story is very different. Despite that though, I think it will be wise for us to come together to push others up just like Remedies paved the way for people like us. So, to me, no one is any king. Terry G, Timaya, Oritse Femi are all favourites of the streets. The masses love them for their styles of rap. We need to know that rap is about bragging, rap is not really about being king of anything. Anybody can call himself king anyway, but in the rep music industry, anyone who calls himself king, or herself queen is just mocking himself or herself.
What is Alaga Ibile in your own definition then?
Alaga Ibile, in my own context, is the masses favourite. The one the street wants, who Ibadan people call son of the soil. The one that doesn’t even see himself as anything, but is a lot to the listeners, the fans.
Has your self-proclamation as Alaga Ibile caused any problem with Olamide?
I have not proclaimed myself as any alaga, it is the title of my latest album. And why should that cause any problem between me and Olamide? I told you Ola and I are cool. Ola and I can never have any grudge, never. The sky is enough for birds to fly. I cannot be at two locations at the same time. The same applies to Olamide as well. It’s just that competition will want you to bring out the best in anyone. Just as it is between Ronaldo and Messi. Football has passed the era of just one person shinning and taking all the glory. Both of us are doing well in our different ways and nothing of such can happen.
What was your relationship with Olamide before now?
It’s always been the same brotherly relationship, even before he broke out. I watched one of his recent interviews on MTV where he said I was the definition of “Surulere”. That I am a perfect example of a very patient artiste. That shows how much respect he has for me. I also respect him. Not because he said that on TV, but because he is a good guy. He is very humble. He has also gone through a lot in this industry but many don’t know that. To still be humble after all he has gone through means he has a lot of heart.
What else can you say of Olamide?
I can’t say anything again brother. I am okay with Ola, that’s the truth.
How long did it take you to record Daddy and also to get Davido on the song?
We actually wanted to work together last year Easter but I was busy and he was busy as well. I went to his house but we could not record. When I was about to release my album, he told me he would love to be on it. Convinced that he is very good and that he has a good highlife voice, I decided to sing “Daddy” with him. Again, there was a day I was watching his interview on television where he was asked who his favourite rapper was and he mentioned my name twice. I like him a lot. He is very humble and a good guy. Not just him, even Wizkid and Olamide give respect back to the people who respect you.
How do you come up with your video concepts? They don’t seem to be the same?
(Laughs) I try to keep them simple, that’s my secret. I am not a fan of gold necklace and wrist watches. It’s not that I can’t afford it, it’s just not me. I found out that a lot of people listen to my song and see me as a model. As such, I don’t want to mislead them or create an impression that wealth comes easy and won’t work hard. So, most times I talk about my struggles. Videos are just promotional tools to explain what you are talking about in a song.
What message then are you trying to pass with the picture on the back cover of your latest CD where you have a bottle of whiskey on a table and a cigarette in your hand?
That’s me trying to let the people know that I get my inspiration from listening to others, that’s the ear phone; motivation from my cigar and drink and knowledge from books.
What is your deal with Jack Daniels?
I just signed a deal with them to do a series of concerts. It is like they are fusing afro beats with rock music and also unveiling new brands we don’t have in Nigeria. It’s a live concert and I am very happy to be part of it.
Does it not bother you that Nigerian artistes use their songs to promote alcohol use?
Well, it depends on the message any artist is passing. Some sing about girls with big asses, etc. No one has the right to decide what anybody sings. That is why we have age clarification. You just cannot tell people not to drink or smoke.
So, you don’t see conflict in Reminisce promoting Jack Daniels and not a soft drink?
No, I don’t. I am over 18 and the people I sing to are over 18. Whatever I post on any social network is not an explicit content, so I don’t think it’s a problem.
You said it last year in a paper that marriage is not yet. Now that you are now doing good, is it still the same?
No I have not changed, I already have a three and a half years old daughter and I am also seeing someone now that hopefully I should marry. At the moment, my daughter is my prior nothing comes before her.
How does it feel to be a single father?
Wow! It feels so good really. It makes you feel responsible and makes you do the right thing. You have someone to give the best and invest on because you know his or her future depends on you. I also have a trust fund for her. Before I think of buying a car or anything, I think about her first