It was some minutes past 2 when I knocked on the gate of the house Remy Baggins stays at. To make sure I was at the right place, I put a call through to his manager, Eskor. Eskor and I had gone forth and back, cancelled and made up, rescheduled and postponed the meet with Remy Baggins.
Remy Baggins is like a nomad. One time he’s at a production camp, dispensing beats. Another day he’s off somewhere else, refilling his creative juice. Breezing into the apartment after Eskor had come to get me, we’re greeted by the hostile disposition of Eskor’s hairy dog, Momo and then Remy Baggins walks in from a nearby room to usher me into his temporary creative dome where KRK speakers and a mid-sized monitor sits firmly on a desk.
For Remy Baggins, he’s yet another genius belonging to the sprawling caste of producers in the backend system who are rarely acknowledged. While most producers only deal in refining the back end systems, Remy Baggins also shows attendance among producers who double as singers. Six projects in four years. Blending different genres, various themes, Remy Baggins is definitely top tier. Though he disagrees on being labeled as an experimental artist, his early leanings into music made him this versatile and diverse.
“When I was small, I visited my uncle’s house,” he recalls. “He had a piano and I played something. Everyone was looking and my uncle was now like you people should get this boy a music teacher. They got me a teacher, I learnt the piano, went to secondary school, an Anglican school. I began playing the keyboard in school as the church’s organist, all the hymns and stuff.”
When in SS2, Remy Baggins came across Eminem’s Not Afraid, he described it as a game-changing moment. Bored, looking for what to watch on TV, he scrolled through TV stations before skipping to a music channel where he finally caught the last verse of the song. “I was like who’s this guy, I can do this because I use to write a lot,” he tells me. “I’ve been a creative writer, I can write this stuff, I can do this. From there I started writing raps, then started performing it. There was something we call Variety Sunday, we’ll compose songs and perform in front of the entire school in the hall.”
Remy Baggins Debut Project
At the time Remy Baggins served up his debut project titled VIV, he had begun crafting tracks for artists like Jinmi Abduls and Dami Oniru. VIV was the offspring of his journey so far. Being his first, it came across as a personal journal listeners can flip through and learn from the lessons of Remy Baggins. “Inspiration for VIV was just thoughts going through my head, unfiltered. I touched on everything, there were love songs, random tracks, songs about sex and even Christian like songs.”
The fact that Remy Baggins has put out six projects in four years startles me. Add that to his vast production credits that includes Tems’ Try Me, PsychoYP & Azanti’s Focused and series of tracks for Bella Alubo, Dami Oniru and Ice Prince. There’s some mixing and mastering works that come in as well. Maintaining a high creative inspiration at times when there are lots of projects to handle is a rare trait. “For me, I just give myself time,” Remy Baggins explains. “I change my environment also. Plus I watch a truck load of Anime series like Hunter Hunter, Demon Slayer, Attack on Titan. Also I get inspired by things that happen around me. Personal stuff and things I see people go through.”
In 2017, Remy Baggins alongside Straffitti executively produced Ice Prince’s experimental project, COLD. Ice Prince had profound words for the genius that is Remy Baggins adoring him for kickstarting the project. Remy Baggins produced four tracks off the EP and he puts it down to trying things different from the norm. “We just said to Ice, let’s put you on some other things. It’s not every time afrobeats.”
There was also Gboju, a track that appeared on Ejoya’s class of 20 album. Remy Baggins wasn’t the producer, but this time he was showcasing his lyrical dexterity on Telz’s bouncy, war-like beat. “It was at the production camp. Production camps are usually quite fun. It gives me the opportunity to bounce ideas because I usually work alone. But I love production, writing and improving people’s ideas.”
“Telz was downstairs playing the beat, I was upstairs then I heard it. I ran downstairs, begged Telz and told him ‘take flash, give me this beat right now’. I collected the beat, went back upstairs, recorded the beat, recorded the first verse in 20 minutes. Gboju’s version on Ejoya was just me.”
“So I said that can’t be the end of the song. I called YP, he talked to Mojo, oya let’s do this. We did it. Oya let’s run video, we did that also.”
With Remy Baggins being a prominent name in the production space, I inquire about his dealings with artists. There have been tales about artists delaying production fees or reducing percentages on split sheets. Sometimes also, producers are denied royalties. It’s still a growing industry yet lessons have to be learnt by those coming, I tell Remy Baggins. “It’s not fair to say artists don’t treat producers right. Some producers also don’t treat their instrumentalists right. Some don’t treat their back up singers right. Some people are just bad. If you can just open your eyes to see the kind of person you’re working with and know how to deal with them.”
Eskor also chips in. “Sometimes it’s not even the artist themselves, but their management team just decides to be crack heads.”
From there, Remy Baggins and I flip through the different phases of his career. Working with artists. Releasing albums, each new one differing in their themes each year. In 2020, Remy Baggins dropped Amaterasu, a hip hop album. Remy tells me it was all done in a week. Amaterasu was like a pedestal for him to lay off the emotional baggage on his heart. It’s why “No Regrets,” the project’s climax holds a lot of emotional value to him.
“On that song, I was talking to everyone I feel like I’ve let down in some way because of the path I’ve decided to take in my life and also address some other people that didn’t support me then but are now trying to be cool with me. Tying everything together and saying I’ve been under pressure, waiting for my moment. I know I’ve made mistakes but I have no regrets.”
When I ask Remy Baggins for advice to producers just coming up, he points to education and acquiring knowledge as the safe pass to avoiding being cheated in the music space. Talent isn’t everything he says. “Go and read about the music business, go on YouTube. Don’t let anyone take you for an idiot and never be in a situation where someone is telling you trash because you don’t know what he’s saying. Try as much as possible to be prepared and be informed.”
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here