For this interview, I speak to Rema(right), a musician with a keen love of classic hip-hop. His music bleeds classical hip-hop twinned with impressive lyricism.
His music tells a story, in a way that only he could; and that is a refreshing thing to see in the industry. ‘Memoirs of a Poet‘ is my personal favourite, although you should check out the rest of his album, ‘Soul Baby’ below:
Here’s an album for you… Soul Baby Rema https://open.spotify.com/album/1bQWXHyR3GTUC7TzYcv2t8?si=EklKx0g4RIq-uPiCQ8CEbQ
So, Rema; Tell me a bit about yourself?
So, I used to be around in the garage days, I had a song out back then under the name MC Remedy but to be honest Hip Hop has always been my main love. I think Garage was a way of getting heard back in that time. People weren’t interested in hearing hip hop back then. I’ve got back into it again. It’s like a second run really man.
What is the inspiration for the name?
Funny story really man. My name used to be MC Remedy but I found out, well this is a diplomatic way of telling the tale right; but I found out a few years back that somebody was using my name on the garage scene. When I found out I messaged the person and we had a polite conversation about it and that. My thoughts on it were that I had no interest in that scene anyway, so, keep the name. Over the years I shortened it to Rem and then Rema.
What inspired you to create music?
You know what I was the first person in my family to do music, probably the only one really. I just love hip hop man, there’s a friend really who got me into it, a guy called DJ GhostSkillz, when we were teenagers. I’ve got pictures of me at the school disco man. With the mic and that behind the decks, from about 8 years old. It was just born out of a need to rap. I just wanted to rap over everything. I had a guy in Miami sending me beats called Ferocious, and they were nice man, and that kind of awakened the beast really. I only really got back into the game last September and then made the album Soul Baby since then.
As I say, just a love of hip-hop man. In a nutshell, back then it was like you’d get an album or a record and go home and from that you would get an insight into their life. You’d get to imagine where they are from, what inspired them. It was an escape. There wasn’t really a lot of people doing hip hop back then, you know? It was scarce.
What is your favourite track of yours to date and why?
You know what, that’s one of them. I put it on the album as just a selfish one, I didn’t really think that many people would like it. I did put it on there not expecting that much back from it but quite a few people like it so I guess you never really know what people like you know what I mean?
Other than that, probably Making Changes. When I started to see the data and listens, it wasn’t one of the popular ones. I was surprised, to me that was the one I was feeling but you know.
Have you got any upcoming shows?
Yeah, I’ve got a small gig. Its been a long time since I’ve gone out with a performance. I’m putting a show on at a bar called Camouflage on the 3rd of April at West ByFleet. We’ll be doing a few songs from Soul Baby and the guy that I work with, a guy called Physics, me and him have got an album that is near completion so we’re going to do a few songs from that. As much as anything to kind of dust off our own cobwebs and give the people locally a little taste of what we are doing.
Are you comfortable switching genres? Would you experiment with a trap beat? A grime beat?
On the previous album I did before Soul Baby, it hasn’t been released or anything. I’d just come back after a long time and I was trying to do things that I thought people would want to hear. There’s a few grime songs on there. For me, I can write to any beat, so whatever the beat is, I want to write something to it. Since I’ve got on to the production, it’s kind of like, I’ve got a sound within that. I could switch around with this but why not just do this thing. I’m not saying never say never. The kind of collaborations that interest me are two different genres but as a rule I think I’ve found my formula and I’m going to do some work within that.
It’s working right now, the minute it doesn’t work I will have to have a look and change what I am doing. The most important thing about this is making something that you would like yourself. There’s really no criteria other than that.
If you’re making it purely for personal enjoyment, I’ll think you’ll always come out with something that has a meaning.
In the current state of the rap industry and mumble rap. It is heavily saturated at this time with mumble rap songs. Does this concern you in any way?
I think there is that. I don’t see myself in those kinds of markets. Partly because of my age. I’m not in my early twenties trying to compete against them and trying to promote something different to what they are doing because then I’d be swimming against the tide. I’m 40 man, there’s a lot of people that grew up listening to the same music as me who are open to hearing something. When I grew up, all I remember people saying is music was better back in my day. Every generation changes, and people like changes but that’s just what I agree with. Each to their own. I don’t get what these guys are doing but if it makes them feel good and gets out what they need to, then more power to them. But I hope that the people who listen to what I’m doing, my solo stuff and the stuff I do with Physics, they’ll relate to it, relate to me and like it cause its different. We just do what we know how to do and hopefully that translates into the music that people enjoy listening to.
Which social media outlet has benefited you the most?
I tried to get a presence on all of them. They’re all very different in the way that you have to interact with them and the way people use them. Its not like you can have one strategy for all of them. Its very time consuming I will be honest with you. I spend a lot of time initially getting it up and running and now its time to maintain it. One thing which I’ve found seemed to pull things together and I could see traction across everything was Brapp.tv. It’s a platform to literally rap for people and there’s people on there that are rapping themselves. I put some videos on there and the direct correlation I saw from that was good to see. There’s a lot of people that are offering services that want you to buy into it. Brapp.tv is the perfect thing because you can pace yourself. People were going on there and checking out things. I would say that having a presence on everything is important. But then finding a channel like Brapp to then speak to an audience is probably the key thing.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to be realistic about this. When I started to do this years ago, I thought why would anyone want to listen to my music? Forget how good I think it is, you know? People can listen to Jay Z, Giggs, there’s a lot of options. Its really about working out different ways to get peoples attention. People want to watch people. They want to see you doing it. It was better than the 100’s of pounds I spent on paid promotions, put it that way.
Check out Rema’s social links in the icons below.
Check out Johnphysics instagram below Rema:
Check out Brapp.tv at: