The growth of Nigerian rapper, songwriter, and performer Dremo has been a very interesting journey so far. From being just a neighbourhood hero to becoming mainstream in Nigeria. The rapper has been able to do well for himself so far in an industry where rappers are not as rated as their singer colleagues.
DREMO: IN THE BEGINNING
The rapper who was a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) before he got signed into DMW in 2016 has been quite consistent with his craft over the years.
Dremo started in the City of Ibadan, where he will later get his first record deal with APPE, a label co-owned by “Sir Banko”, the former road manager to popular Nigerian singer Davido and the current Sony Music Africa head, and Debo Ogundele (currently a speaker in the Oyo state house of assembly).
While signed to APPE, Dremo released hit songs such as normal levels and the more popular record “OBT“. Songs that got a relative level of airplay on the radio then.
Fast forward to 2016, Dremo will get signed to Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), alongside his colleague, MayorKun. Immediately after signing to DMW, Dremo released his viral single Fela, a cover to American rapper and Kanye West’s signee Designer’s Panda.
Not so surprisingly, Fela (A song that eulogizes the music legend Fela Kuti) became a national tune, getting massive airplay on the radio and becoming a hit on the streets as well.
The rapper will then proceed to release his first official single on the label, Ojere. Although before releasing this fine tune, he had featured on the label’s first collaborative single “Back to Back” where he was joined by label boss Davido, Mayorkun, and his APPE colleague Ichaba.
Ojere will later become a hit song, getting massive airplay both on Radio and TV. The music video for Ojere was shot in Lagos and the Sahara of Dubai, as he can be heard rapping “Asare lo Dubai emi Banko ati OBO”.
After the success recorded with Ojere, Dremo proceeded to release his first collaborative effort with label boss Davido on “1 2 Bang”. A song that performed fairly on the charts and enjoyed heavy rotation on TV as well. The visuals for “1 2 Bang” was shot in Ghana, featuring scenes that highlighted the two having a good time while on holiday.
In 2017, Dremo was invited to the popular Coke studio to do a remake of his hit single “Ojere” with South African house music stars, Mafikizolo and Nyashinski. They went ahead to perform the new remake on one of the episodes in the Coke Studio of 2017. The remake was well received and even went ahead to gain the rapper’s new listening demography.
BODY OF WORKS
Fast forward to 2018, Dremo dropped his first body of work “CNV1“. A project that was critically acclaimed for its delivery, production, and general artistry. On the record, Dremo came bearing gifts as he could be heard bouncing up and down on the various instrumentals that featured on the project.
The promotional single “Nobody“, is a remake of Legendary street rapper, Reminisce’s “Ajigijaga“. On Nobody, Dremo shares in detail the entirety of his come-up story. From his childhood to getting his first record deal, which he signed right in his father’s home, to formerly being a producer, to coming to the city of dreams, Lagos, and even to how he got duped by a promoter. Dremo left nothing unsaid.
When you wonder what Dremo’s come-up story was, just listen to Nobody.
However, the “rapper Wey dey sing song” as he is popularly referred to has continued to grow and evolve. The rapper made his first singing debut on “Kpa“, a record off “CNV1“. On Kpa the rapper was assisted by his label boss, Davido who did the chorus.
Kpa has gone ahead to become the Rapper’s most streamed single on all streaming platforms. Warranting the question, “Is rap really dead in Nigeria?” Dremo is good with wordplays, his punchlines are rock solid, and he is signed to a prominent label but yet people will rather have him sing than rap.
However, over the last couple of years, Dremo has continued to horn his crown both as a rapper and a singer. He has dropped a second installment of his heavily talked about “CNV“, the project featured songs like Mabel with Davido, Konjinaba with Naira Marley, Who’s your guy?, Sharp Sharp with Falz, and a lot of other classics.
In 2021 he released a collaborative EP with Eastern rapper, Jeriq. The project had a total of 5 songs and ran for about 16min. On dropping the project, it got to the No.1 position of the highly revered Nigeria Apple music chart and got critical acclaim as well.
As a singer, he worked on “Confam” with Simi and has continued to create iconic sounds that will influence the culture if proper attention should be put to him.
One thing for sure is that Dremo deserves more than he gets, what or who is to blame we can not categorically say, but we can only hope that the future holds more for the super-talented rapper.