Before midnight on Wednesday, Rema surprise-released his second EP of the year suitably titled Rema Freestyle, a four-track project comprising his freestyles that has now gloriously trafficked in his emo-trap alter-ego. Finally. Since signing to Mavin Global’s new imprint Jonzing World this year, the 18-yr-old rapper’s pixie-dust popularity has cut through a restless swathe of Gen Z (and milennials!), evoking their hazy, late-teen desires around romance and sex with the ubiquitous, chart-topping song Dumebi and our current digital cocoon symbolised through social media.
On Freestyle, Rema comes off unhinged and unrestrained in the opener Boulevard, which sounds Wizkid-y in the first few lines and then morphs into a lovely trap confection, where he raps slickly against lush, siren-like noises, about a romantic feeling unreciprocated: ”Bad girl she told me she doesn’t like me/she’s an animal she just want to bite me.” And then, as if to compensate himself, Rema embodies another pop-cultural figure for lyrical detail: ”Like Bruce Wayne, like Bruce Wayne/I got the money looking like Bruce Wayne.”
If Rema has Iron Man, Freestyle has got Spiderman, which its catchy, loopy chorus that feels destined to become a bigger, viral song in the coming weeks. My personal favourite, American Love, is the EP’s most versatile and complex track just for its arrangement, shapeshifting with obvious influences from artistes like Lil Wayne and Post-Malone, and the peer-appropriate Juice WRLD. Trap out the Submarine has some skeletal singing and emo rap, and must have inspired the EP’s animated artwork cover.
On the whole, Freestyle is remarkably pristine in its production, and positions Rema as a promising, colossal force. You can stream the EP below:
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.