The majority of what the public knows about Reekado Banks the artiste is housed on Spotlight, his 2016 debut album that placed him on a pedestal as one of Nigerian pop’s great hopes. Taking sonic influences from a number of genres, EDM, highlife, highlife, and afro-fusion, and powered by hits such as Problem, Katapot, and Oluwa Ni, Spotlight served as the perfect introduction for Reekado and won acclaim, peaking at number 10 on Billboard’s World Album Charts. Much of the praise that came his way was down to his ability to pick up on melodies and intuitively parse them all the while making them larger-than-life pronunciations on themes that resonate with him. In the years since Spotlight, Reekado has grown, building his profile with a consistent streak of singles and features that were at once transformative and grounded in the familiar. That blurring of the line between newer experiences and intimate details is what Reekado Banks attempts to capture lucidly with his second body of work, Off The Record, mining his Nigerian identity for a global audience.
Nowhere is this more visible than on Mama, a highlife-influenced tune that finds Reekado reeling off a list of locations where he finds fun in tandem with Tanzania’s Harmonize before declaring that, ultimately, Nigeria is home. Previously released, Need More flows effervescently on Off The Record, showing Reekado’s curatorial instincts as he co-opts elements of Black Britain’s music with collaborations from Kida Kudz and EO. Rora and You Dey Mad, both previously released, shine brighter as part of Off The Record’s larger motif. The rest of the project features appearances from some of Nigeria music’s heavyweight including Mr. Eazi who stops by for a charged appearance on People Dey, and Tiwa Savage whose presence on the EP gives way to another installment of their ballad efforts on Speak to Me.
On this project, Reekado Banks is more engaging than he’s ever been, tuning out the voice in his head to face the world with a fully-formed voice that thrums with confidence. He is swapping out the contemplative and replacing it with the assured.