Rema to drop his 2nd album; A look at some of the best sophomore albums in the last 4 years

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Nigeria’s Rave Lord, better known as Rema, announced the imminent release of his sophomore album, titled ‘HEIS’, on Monday, July 8, 2024,

While the rest of the album is set to be released on Thursday, July 11, 2024, Rema has already dropped ‘Hee Hee’, a track off the album where he laughs at his haters and Benin Boys featuring Shallipopi.

Rema burst onto the scene in 2019 with his breakout single ‘Dumebi’ and has yet to back down. Leading a new charge of young musicians, or as some would call them; New Cats, he solidified his status with his 2022 debut studio album ‘Rave & Roses’, featuring collaborations with international stars like 6lack, Chris Brown, AJ Tracey, Yseult and Selena Gomez.

Rema at the Headies Award show
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Rema’s sophomore album has to be successful

Rema is not alone in his sophomore success. The past four years have seen a surge of new talents from Nigeria making significant strides with their second albums. Following the success of these sophomore albums, a lot is expected from Rema’s He-Is. Judging from the name of the album and some subtle lyrics from his recent singles, this is an opportunity to show that Rema is indeed, HIM

Some “new cats” who dropped their impressive in the last 5 years include Fireboy DML with Apollo, Asake with Work of Art, Ayra Starr with The Year I Turned 21, and Blaqbones with Young Preacher. These albums helped to establish these acts as more than a “one album wonder.” A path that Rema would seek to follow.

Now, as Rema prepares to unveil ‘HE IS’, the music industry waits eagerly to see how he will further captivate audiences.

Our review of select sophomore albums since 2020

Fireboy DML- Apollo (2020)

When Fireboy DML released his debut album Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps, critics were shocked because it is rare to see any musician release an album without featuring anyone else. Especially as he had Olamide, a legend of the Nigerian music industry on the same record label.

Now, there were worries that his sophomore album”Apollo,” released in 2020 would not live up to the hype, a worry that critics should not have had. On Apollo, Fireboy seemed to try a variety of sounds and styles to create a cocktail of beautiful music that has now created a unique fanbase for him.

All of his talent was on display, the soulful voice, carefully worded lyrics, and his ability to seamlessly blend Afro-pop, R&B, and contemporary sounds on the album showcased a more refined version of Fireboy. While he explored various themes of love, sef-discover, ambition, and more, the maturity in his sound allowed him to connect with listeners on a deeper level

Asake- Work Of Art (2023)

Asake announced himself to the scene with his unique blend of Afrobeat/Afro-piano/Afrofuji vibes with a few hit singles and then his debut album; Mr Money With The Vibe.

Asake Work Of Art

The journey from his debut to his second studio album was particularly remarkable as he had set a pretty high standard for himself. His sophomore album ‘Work of Art’  is a testament to his growth as an entertainer and musician, from the album cover to the arrangement of the tracks and the subliminal messages appreciating his craft, art, and the silent tribute to Basquiat, his prowess as an intelligent storyteller shone so brightly that he remained ‘Lonely at the top’ of the charts for a very long time.

Ayra Starr- The Year I Turned 21 (2024)

Ayra Starr has once again captivated music lovers with her second studio album, “The Year I Turned 21”. Following her debut album titled ‘19 & Dangerous’ Ayra’s latest musical endeavour not only showcases her growth as an artist but also establishes her as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry as she is one of the leading female figures in the Nigerian music industry and globally. 

Ayra Starr, Burna Boy, and other Nigerian artists steal the show at the 2024 Glastonbury Music Festival

Ayra has come a very long way over a short span and “The Year I Turned 21” marks a significant evolution in her musical journey, where her artistic maturity shines through in every track with soulful depth and emotional resonance. The album delves into Ayra’s personal experiences and reflections as she navigates the complexities of youth, love, and self-discovery.

“The Year I Turned 21” solidifies Ayra Starr’s position as a rising star in the Nigerian music scene and beyond, showcasing her growth as an artist and her ability to captivate audiences with her soulful voice 

Blaqbonez- Young Preacher(2022)

Blaqbonez had been popular on YouTube for his freestyle skills and his debut album ‘Sex Over Love,’ was received with mixed feelings but was largely successful. Following the success of his debut album “Sex Over Love”, his sophomore album, ‘Young Preacher’ showcased his growth as an artist and also solidified his place as a force to be reckoned with in the rap game.

Blaqbonez

Young Preacher marked a significant evolution in his musical journey, where Blaqbonez’s artistry and storytelling prowess are more refined and nuanced than ever before.

Compared to his debut album ’Sex Over Love’, “Young Preacher” sees Blaqbonez exploring deeper themes. He effortlessly navigates different styles and sounds, from trap-infused beats to Afrobeat influences, showcasing his adaptability and willingness to experiment.

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