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WPGM Commentary: Reekado Banks On The Making Of His Debut EP ‘Off The Record’

My name is Reekado Banks and you can tell that I am in high spirits. Reason number one: I am still here, breathing. The second is because, we are inching closer to justice for victims of the Lekki Massacre and the Nigerian-government-enabled violence during the #EndSARS protests.

The UK parliament held a special hearing earlier this week to debate sanctions against all the political elements that are involved in the violence against peaceful Nigerian citizens. I don’t want to bore you with how sad it is that we have to depend on international intervention for the rights of Nigerians to be respected, but I am at least glad that something can be done.

Finally, I am happy that my debut EP Off The Record is available for you to press play on everywhere!

If you look closely, you’ll see the Gabon flag under the record player, you’ll also notice that the colours all over the design are drawn from the Gabon country colour. You can also find an airplane runway in between the tigers (to symbolize the no-flight situation during the lockdown).

As I close, I have just one request: DISTURB EVERYONE ABOUT THE EP. Make sure everyone in your life and on your social media pages know that Off The Record by Reekado Banks is arriving this Friday. It doesn’t stop there, take the disturbance a notch higher when the EP drops. Slam it, share it, dance to it and be happy with it.

The first track on the EP is “Need More” featuring Kida Kudz and EO – I have known Kida Kudz for about 11 years now, so we’ve been geez, and we really got a lot closer about 4-5 years ago. We started from a competition (Peak Talent) together back in 2009 which he won, he’s a cool kid, he’s been my guy, I’ve been there for him.

So when I called him for “Need More”, it was pretty easy for him to return the favour and jump on record just like that. And I remember meeting EO in Lagos, he was in Lagos at some point I think in 2018 or so, I can’t remember.

We met backstage at a show, he came to tell me how much he likes my music and I just felt like that was cool and I found out who he was… and you know, we became friends and that was cool.

“Need More” was made in my room, it was produced by Blaise Beat, I had Marv (my A&R) in the room that day, I had Attifaya in the room, we were just vibing.

We started to create something from scratch which was “Need More” and lyrically it was sounding super dope, the mood we were trying to paint (I don’t know if that’s a right word) was just really cool. My A&R Marv thought it was a good idea to get Kida Kudz and EO on it, and since they were my good friends, it was easy for me to call them.

The idea for the second track “Happy Yourself” was to tackle police brutality in Nigeria among other things. Because of the reality of the situation in the country, we have to be happy regardless of what’s happening.

Despite all the profiling and police brutality, we have to be happy and just keep moving and that’s like the main theme of the song. The song is a dancehall record so it’s not something you have to ‘jump jump jump’ to. It’s just really a mellow vibe, I want people to be Happy regardless.

I remember making the next track “Rora“, and I remember it was a good time, I was alone in the studio with the producer Tuzi. He had played me the beat earlier, then he played other beats.

I had to ask him to go back to that one, and I decided to make a vibe and I’m really just happy with the success of how the song came to be, I liked the fact that people like it so much, it feels really special, it feels like a brand new start to my career at that junction.

The process of making “Rora” was crazy. At the time I lost files, I was on that song recording and re-recording for about four months and at some point, I almost got confused and I didn’t want to put it out anymore because it wasn’t sounding good in my ears.

But then we found the full recordings we thought we had lost, old files and stuff you know… I was able to patch it up and give the final result that we have now.

I have a really great relationship with Tiwa Savage, who is featured on the next track on the EP. We enjoy each other’s company so it’s really easy to work with her. I started making “Speak To Me” in Young John’s studio and Marv (My A&R) once again thought Tiwa savage would be a great option for that song.

Honestly, it wasn’t my favourite song from the start, but somehow, Tiwa complemented it and it became a beautiful song. I remembered calling Tiwa Savage over to the house, she came by and we were in the studio with Young John and it was about 2am when she laid her verse and we were just vibing the rest of the day.

“Speak To Me” is a song about love, so I expect everybody to dance, merry and be joyful and have enough life in them because the song is really really energetic.

Attifaya, who is featured on “You Dey Mad“, is a Nigerian artist, you probably don’t know him yet but he’s a really talented guy. I started to work with Attifaya a long time before now, he co-wrote many of my songs and I’ve featured on a lot of his songs and we’re just really cool like that.

He started making “You Dey Mad” with the producer 1da Banton when I walked in the studio. I thought if it could sound so good at first listen, I could put a relatable touch to it. So I jumped on the song and now here we go. The song is about reality, it’s about shutting out the noise and pressure.

At the time we made the next track on the project “People Dey“, Mr Eazi and I used to talk a lot, like everyday… It just felt so right to put Eazi on it so I sent the record to him and within hours, he sent his verse back.

It is a realistic tune, the lyrics are very relatable. I really want the listeners to know that as they go on in their journey, they’ll run into questionable people and situations but the key is to never lose sight of who you are and what you’re about. People will always be people, just be who you are.

For the final track on the record, we got Harmonize to feature on it. He is such a cool guy, I think we started talking over the phone and then via the internet, and then at some point, we met over a show. Before working on “Mama” with him, we worked on a song for him, so it was pretty easy to get him on “Mama”.

I started to record “Mama” with TYmix who produced it, I sent it to Harmonize, and he was excited about it. The song is about Africa, so getting Harmonize for the collaboration was perfect, and he killed it. I’m just excited about the song. The song preaches love, it preaches unity for Africa and that’s really like all we need right now, togetherness.

Listen to my full Off The Record project below!

Words by Reekado Banks // Follow him on Facebook + Instagram

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