Meet Rema: The Rise of an Afrorave Pioneer

Divine Ikubor, known globally as Rema, is a Nigerian rapper and singer-songwriter born on May 1, 2000. Celebrated as a trailblazer in modern music, Rema has played a pivotal role in popularizing the Afrorave subgenre within Afrobeats. His journey to stardom began in 2018 with a viral freestyle on Instagram set to D'Prince's "Gucci Gang," which caught the attention of industry heavyweights and set the stage for his meteoric rise.

Early Life and Discovery

Born into a Christian family in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, Rema's musical passion was ignited during his secondary school days at Ighile Group of Schools. Tragedy struck with the loss of his father and elder brother, leaving his mother to raise him. Her influence was instrumental in shaping his future. Rema's break came in 2019 when D'Prince discovered his viral freestyle and brought him to Lagos, offering a record deal with Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin Records.

Breakthrough and Initial Success

Rema's self-titled debut EP, released in 2019, topped the Nigerian Apple Music charts and featured the breakout hit "Dumebi." The song's music video, released in May 2019, quickly amassed millions of views on YouTube. His growing influence was underscored when former U.S. President Barack Obama included another of Rema's tracks on his summer playlist.

In 2020, Rema's music was featured on the FIFA 21 soundtrack, further expanding his global reach. By September 2021, he had become a brand ambassador for Pepsi, alongside label mate Ayra Starr.

The Afrorave Movement

In 2021, Rema embraced the Afrorave label for his unique blend of Afrobeats with Arabian and Indian influences. This genre, originally coined by South African artist Toya Delazy, resonated with Rema's style, fostering a dedicated fanbase known as Ravers.

Albums and Continued Success

Rema's debut studio album, Rave & Roses, released in March 2022, was a commercial triumph, debuting at number 81 on the Billboard 200. The album featured collaborations with international stars like 6lack, Chris Brown, and AJ Tracey. Its lead single, "Calm Down," and its remix with Selena Gomez, became a global sensation, peaking at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and spending 58 weeks at number one on the U.S Billboard Afrobeats Songs chart.

In 2023, Rema continued to break records with the release of his EP Ravage, which set a new Spotify Nigeria First-Day Streaming Record and included the hit single "Trouble Maker."

Personal Life and Advocacy

Rema has used his platform to raise awareness of cultural practices and traditions, promoting his heritage. In 2020, he made headlines with accusations against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) concerning the death of his father. Despite gaining admission to the University of Lagos in 2022, Rema had to leave in 2023 due to the ongoing ASUU teaching union strike.

Accolades and Impact

Rema's influence on the global stage is undeniable. Rolling Stone described him as an emblem of Afrobeats' global rise, while The Guardian Nigeria highlighted his role in showcasing the dominance of Nigerian music internationally. Rema has received numerous awards, including the MTV Video Music Award for Best Afrobeats Video and the Billboard Music Award for Top Afrobeats Song. His album Rave & Roses Ultra became the first African album to surpass two billion streams on Spotify.


Rema's journey from a viral sensation to a global Afrorave pioneer is a testament to his talent and influence. His music continues to break barriers and inspire artists worldwide, cementing his legacy as a true musical trailblazer. As he continues to innovate and captivate audiences, Rema's star shows no signs of dimming.