Rema's Rise: 5 Factors To Account For The Star's Appeal
5 Factors To Account For Rema's Rise: An Overview
Rema is one of Nigeria's biggest stars. Ever since the Benin-born Divine Ikubor got his break last year with "Dumebi," the Jonzing World/ Mavin Records artiste has morphed into a global phenomenon, achieving commercial and critical success with his trio of 4-track EPs.
Poised to become one of the biggest stars of his generation (and any generation), Rema's meteoric rise has been attributed to a number of factors, with one of those being his ability to make music within the many genres, therefore broadening his listenership, with loyal fan bases from his native Benin City to Atlanta, US, where the Trap scene has shifted the state into focus, even as Hip Hop rises to become the biggest genre in the United States, one of the biggest music markets in the world.
Other factors make for Rema's appeal.
1. He's only twenty
Obviously, one of the strongest points of "Dumebi" was the back story behind the song, that a nineteen-year old was behind it. Suddenly the song's lyrics which had Rema mention the names of older entertainers – Omotola, Toke Makinwa – was spurred on by the endearment usually afforded a teenager.
The video shot for the same song – which initially sparked concerns – also threaded down the path, as Rema and a group of Gen Z peeps on a road trip. Rather than appropriate the typical appeal of sex, his management sold him by his age. Ever since, the aesthetics driving his general branding has been patterned to match the young adult's – jeweled teeth, face masks, dreadlocks – atypical desire to channel the flagrant.
2. Rema is one hell of a hustler
The story of how Rema got signed is much storied: he'd put out a freestyle video on Instagram, responding to a challenge by D'Prince. The Jonzing World boss was sold on a particular kid's talent, so much he invited him over to Lagos to record music.
That story, while a unique one, is also the story of thousands of up and coming artistes who frequent spaces such as Instagram, hoping to jump on the latest challenge by an established artiste. That Rema's break came by this shows an artiste in touch with the peculiarities of his time. Since then, Rema's efforts have embodied the hustle, the relentless pursuits of one's dreams.
3. The versatility of his music
Rema is a curious musician, and one of his biggest strengths has been his ability to channel that enthusiasm into his songs. Obviously a young artiste grown on global sounds rather than just the indigenous, Rema has been the unique bridge between those two worlds, as he's appropriated genres as diverse as Trap, Afrobeats, EDM, and emo-rap.
4. The timing of his breakout
By the time Rema released "Dumebi," it was the last year of the decade and more importantly, it was a time when listeners were moving on from the Pop sounds that had dominated for much of the decade. Moving on could be sensationalist, but more accurately, the music of up and coming acts were being consumed and enjoyed.
Alongside the new faces (Joeboy, Tems, Fireboy DML) Rema was fashioning a lane for the youngster and his youthful take on contemporary Pop music. "Baby" and "Jealous" were some of the biggest songs around, perhaps only bested via popularity by Rema's "Dumebi." With the hunger for categorization sharp as ever within the Nigerian demography, the "young ones" were poised to become the biggest stars in no time.
5. The purposefulness of his PR (public relations)
Since his breakout, every of Rema's moves have been deliberate, a genius masterclass on branding, delivery, and everything else. So purposeful are these that many have attributed his success to Don Jazzy, a great who's help shape the careers of many top artistes, most notably D'banj, who would go on to become the first artiste of the Afrobeats to the World movement.
Employing 1 - 4 factor in this article, Mavin Records have aggressively pushed Rema to an homegrown fan base while keeping up with his perception abroad. Analysing his projects via this metric, we could say the debut Rema EP was Afrobeats–charged, with songs like "Corny" and "Iron Man," (which made President Obama's favorite songs of 2019 list) endearing him to the Nigerian fan base. The Freestyle EP, with its obvious Trap and emo-rap tendencies, was targeted at the US; and with Bad Commando, Mavin Records are pushing Rema further into other global markets, most notably to the Latin Pop and Carribean scenes. His latest song, "Beamer (Bad Boys)" a collaboration with Jamaican producer Rvssian, is further proof of Rema's rising global appeal.