Remi Kolawole, simply known as REMI, has been pioneering the new age of Australian hip-hop since 2013 where he received his ‘big break’ following the release of popular track “Sangria”. With smooth vocals that cleverly dance alongside wavy beats, and a knack for creating soulful Friday afternoon vibes, REMI’s style has been and continues to flourish well ahead of it’s time. His quirky unorthodox way of spitting bars makes his voice distinct amongst a sea of aspiring artists both over east and locally.
Last Friday we were given the opportunity to see him at popular local nightclub Jack Rabbit Slims, where opening acts POW NEGRO and Child’s Play displayed a smorgasbord of sounds evolving around a fusion of contemporary jazz, rock and hip-hop.
POW NEGRO a strangely entertaining group of young musicians set fire to the stage with a high octane cluster of saxophones, electric guitars, and screaming vocals which were occasionally drowned out by the high energy dancing and strangely entertaining body movements of lead vocalist Nelson Mondlane. Despite being slightly difficult to hear at times, an issue often to do with mixing, a better opening act is hard to find and the band created a memorable scene with its multi layered eccentricity and progressive vibes.
Following this, Child’s Play – one half of the popular Perth collective ‘Koi Child’ containing jazz instrumentalists Sam Newman, Christian Ruggiero and lead vocalist Cruz Patterson – took over the stage with a barrage of smooth jazzy instrumentals weaving between complex rhyme schemes reminiscent of 90’s hip hops ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ and ‘De La Soul’. The trio did not fail to impress maintaining their reputation as some of the most talented musicians in Perth.
So where did Remi acquire his signature style and poise? His high school classmate I was lucky to come across at the gig gave me a run down. “He always was a dancer”, specifically a break dancer. Before Remi was taking over stages at festivals, touring Germany and Australia and selling out shows both locally and internationally, he used to break dance at school talent shows. He’s always been tearing it up… and last Friday was no exception. Performing a solid stream of hits including ‘Sangria’, ‘Saggin’, ‘LIVIN’ and recent collaboration with east coast artist Sampa The Great, ‘For Good’, Remi showed us why his music seldom stays below 20,000 hits on any platform. His background in dance reigns true throughout his whole live performance; the energy was rarely low, and the crowd swayed left and right during the whole set. Mid way through the performance he invited Nelson and Cruz onto the stage to freestyle with him something I hadn’t yet seen live, and it was spectacular. Nelson’s wild stage antics, Cruz’ flow, and Remi’s smoothness all displayed over one track were enough to make my night. But let’s not forget Sensible J, Remi’s extremely talented go-to drummer, who assumes a more background role but is just as important to the show as it’s headline artist. He ruthlessly attacked the drums and kept the crowd on beat as Remi jumped around the stage even mixing it up between song transitions and at one point playing a blazing solo.
If there’s one word I can use to describe both of these guys it’s simply ‘humble’, with ‘talented’ coming in at a close second. Prior to the show Remi dapped us up whilst we were waiting in line and wished us all a good night, whilst also showing appreciation for all of the fan/venue support they have been receiving in a recent interview we did with them after their 2016 performance at GTM. Shout out to Jack Rabbit Slims for never failing to impress as this was one of our favourite nights there so far!
Check out our Remi GTM interview here: