Lost Files is a column dedicated to celebrating older projects that might have flown under the radar when they were released. This week, we take a look at L.O.S member Bridge's 'Regular Trademark'.
The turn of the last decade remains a landmark moment in the Nigerian music scene. It signified the beginning of a new era, a handing over of some sorts, from the old guard to the new. While acts like 2face heavily dictated the sound of the 2000s, the dynamic duo of Paul and Peter Okoye, Sound Sultan, the R&B/Pop quartet Styl-Plus and many more, much younger and vibrant artists like Wizkid, Davido, Olamide, Burna Boy ー some of the biggest and finest stars the country has ever seen ー all emerged at the start of the 2010s with their music quickly defining the zeitgeist of that period and beyond. Outside the reins of the mainstream, a fresh crop of bright, young and gifted musicians were also slowly making a name for themselves, championing a fresh and unique sound while also pushing for the crossover that their talent doubtlessly deserved. One of such acts was the Hip-Hop collective L.O.S.
When L.O.S, the energetic quartet of Zamir, Bris B, Tomi Thomas and Bridge debuted with their Shank-assisted single “Magic”, they sounded peppy and newfangled. The way all four distinctly delivered over the pop-inspired production ー while also playing to their collective strength to ultimately make “Magic” a cult classic ー was highly refreshing to see. “Bad Guy P”, their hip-hop-centric follow-up was even more exciting. It caught the attention of Banky W and Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie who eventually appeared on the rework of the song which became a sleeper hit of some sort. They showed immense promise on both outings, dishing out an eclectic and exciting fusion of refreshing sounds. However, as time passed, the singles slowly fizzled out until there was nothing. For months on end, there was complete silence from the group, leaving fans and admirers with many unanswered questions.
The members of L.O.S would later resurface after an extended period out of inactiveness, albeit this time as solo acts. Zamir, the more prominent member of the crew, was the most active, with a handful of loosies scattered across various music blogs. Tomi Thomas would return with Patience, a fine collection of R&B, pop and house-inspired cuts. Bris B also made a comeback with Microphone Messiah, a 10-tracker that saddles a catholic mix of styles and sounds. Bridge, the most reclusive member of the crew, remained silent until 2017 when his chef-d’oeuvre ー and only solo body of work till date ー Regular Trademark dropped.
The lead single “Needy” came early in 2017, giving an ample glimpse of Bridge’s evolution. While his earlier appearances on L.O.S’s singles saw him mostly favour cut-throat raps and witty lines, the release of “Needy” presented a more melodic Bridge who softly sings about a love interest. He’s equally tender and virile in his approach. “Girl, i never been lost in anything else but girl I been wanting you,” he sings on the refrain before he proceeds to sing about his obsession with women’s backside. The entire project would be released in November of the same year and its 13 tracks mostly merge his preferred rap style: punchlines and hard-hitting bars with softer, melodic dalliances.
“Searching”, the swirly love-inspired opener finds Bridge deep in his singing bag. He’s floating over plush synths and mid-tempo drums, going on and on about a girl that “makes his dreams come true”. The Tomi Thomas-assisted “Yawa” however, finds him doing the opposite. While he’s head over heels on “Searching”, singing about the girl of his dreams, he’s trying to stay away from a tricky affair on “Yawa”. “This girl na yawa and i no like wahala” he repeatedly sings on the hook.
On “Sauce” Bridge has got his full braggadocio garment on and he’s flexing it without restraint. “Half of these industry niggas with old money / Twenty milli in your account that’s no money / And i ain’t about that salary life that’s slow money / Niggas stuck in traffic that go slow money” he raps with an effortless cadence. He’s doing the same on “Kilo” as he talks big about throwing the most exoctic private parties and moving blow straight from Argentina.
Apart from finding the right balance between his ruthless bars and euphonious singing, his duality — almost like he’s switching personas — also helps power the album and ultimately makes it more relatable. One minute he’s trading iron-clad bars with Esojay Luciano about money, designer clothing and other random stuff, the next, he’s got his heart on his sleeve, asking to be accepted by a love interest. He’s not afraid to properly present these different sides of himself. He’s a cocaine linchpin who moves blow faster than Ricky Bobby, and he’s also a wide-eyed loverboy who just wants to have his love reciprocated. Just like every other human being, he’s multifaceted, and that's perfectly okay.
On “Alaye”, the penultimate track, he melodically raps: “I’ve been waiting for a long long time, to take what’s mine / My stars don align / Omo mehn, I’m finna take what’s mine’’. However, after the release of Regular Trademark, Bridge would once again go incognito. The reason for his prolonged absences isn’t definite, but he still surfaces from time to time on guest appearances or releasing the odd single here and there, making sure to remind everyone what a prolific artist he can be on any given day.