ALBUM REVIEW: REXXIE’S “A TRUE CHAMPION” [@rexxiepondabeat]

Words by: Blossom Maduafokwa

Nigerian Street producer Rexxie has just dropped his album A True Champion, and, as promised, he recruited the champions of the Nigerian & African diaspora to feature on it.

Rexxie has been the quiet force behind Nigeria’s contemporary Street revolution, producing for the likes of Naira Marley, Zlatan, and Lil Kesh, so a full length project of his handiwork has been highly anticipated by practically the entire scene.

A True Champion starts out with one of its most famous songs, “Frenemies” featuring singer Oxlade, a surprisingly chilled tune considering Rexxie’s typically grittier, Street-based style. Oxlade comes with melodic energy as he challenges all the enemies that “wanna hold him down,” and Rexxie, as though trying to make a statement, shows the world just how versatile of a producer he can be.

“Frenemies” is not one to miss, and is followed by one of my favourite’s on the album, Teni’s “Boi Boi”. Having recently dropped her tape Wondaland, Teni has been on a consistent roll this year, and “Boi Boi” only adds to her extensive list of accolades. It is sweet but still underscored with a classic, steady-paced Street rhythm, delivering the kind of production we expect from Rexxie.

Then comes “Mofoti 2.0”, a rendition of the beautiful yet underrated Naira Marley track Mofoti, This time, veteran Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie was recruited for the track alongside Naira Marley. While “Mofoti 2.0” doesn’t quite beat the original, it brings with it the heat and fast-paced rhythm that all Sarkodie tracks carry. It is also Sarkodie’s second time working with Rexxie (his first Rexxie-produced track, “Bumper”, is an utter banger and is one of the most hard-hitting Street songs out there), showing clearly that Rexxie’s influence extends far beyond Nigerian borders.

A True Champion started off strong and it continued that way too, with notable ups such as “KPK” and “Booty Bounce”. The album also paired Midas the Jagaban and Zinoleesky, two artists whose collaboration should have been obvious all along. With their similarly high, far-out vocals coupled with Rexxie’s laid-back yet sophisticated production, their track “Ginger Me” ranks very high in the album’s hierarchy. One underrated song is Kida Kudz’s “Motherland”, a smooth, sexy track with production vaguely reminiscent of Rexxie’s remix of Pa Salieu’s “Betty”.

One of the album’s best tracks was the pre-released “All” featuring DaVido, a song that was a far cry from Street but very close to the sweet love ballads that we’ve all come to expect from DaVido. It contains in it a light, sweet guitar riff as well as an abundance of declarations of unconditional love, all ingredients for a Nigerian hit. With it, Rexxie was able to flex his muscles as a producer, showing the fact that he could make any genre if he wanted to and make it good, too. And like all Nigerians, Rexxie made sure to include his fair share of Amapiano tracks on this project with “Hobby” and “Champion”.

It should be said that A True Champion is not fully cohesive, at least not in a traditional way. All of its songs do not combine to tell one single, lyrical story. However, since Rexxie is a producer, his project tells a story in another way. It features conventional Afrobeats, Afrostreet, Amapiano, and permutations of all three, showing that, without a doubt, Rexxie can no longer be understood as someone who solely produces Afrostreet. It is the story of his evolution as a music engineer, especially coming off of his one-genre first project, Afro Streets

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A True Champion is also a testament to Rexxie’s growing legacy, a few years ago would not have been on a tape with half of the artists on his album. Yet here he is now, creating music with Africans from across the diaspora, for his own project with the artists as his very own champions. With this project, Rexxie has left absolutely no room to doubt his scope, talent, and influence as a producer. 

Album Rating: 7.5/10

Notable Tracks: “Frenemies,” “Boi Boi,” “Mofoti 2.0,” “Motherland,” “KPK,” “Booty Bounce,” “Zanku 2.0,” “Ginger Me,” “All,” “KPK (Remix)”

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