Antoine “Big Samir” Zamundu, who is one half of The Reminders alongside Aja Black, was born in Belgium, raised in Congo, and moved to Colorado Springs when his stepfather got stationed here. The two hip-hop artists first began performing together after Samir, who’d been in the local hip-hop group Accumen, heavily featured Aja on his solo project. They were soon sharing space and, as Samir puts it, “it was only natural to become one.” Since then, they’ve released a mixtape, two albums and a few singles. They’ve also joined Ms. Lauryn Hill on her Homecoming Tour, toured the world — including China, Morocco and Europe — and recently made their Red Rocks debut. In their spare time, what there is of it, the duo teaches financial literacy and songwriting workshops at area schools and colleges. Following are some of Samir’s favorite recordings.
First record I bought with my own money:
Tupac’s 2Pacalypse Now
. At the time I heard it, I only knew a little English, but I could feel the emotions in every song. Tupac has been, and still is, one of my favorite artists. He’s very well-rounded and versatile.
“Wish I’d written that” song:
Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” It’s such a timeless
masterpiece. I aspire to make music like that, that describes the times we are living in, and also uplifts at the same time.
“Wish I could unhear that” song:
“Call Me Maybe.” I don’t even know who sings it. [Editor’s note: It’s Carly Rae Jepsen.]
My latest online discovery:
Maître Gims. Amazing Congolese/French singer. I really like his latest
project. I haven’t been home in a while, and his music reminds me of Belgium and Congo.
Artist more people should know about:
Ibeyi. I love that they are sisters and what they do is deeper than music. They represent a very rich culture, and their father was an incredible percussionist.
Essential Saturday night listening:
Calvin Harris’ “Slide” featuring Frank Ocean. It’s a feel-good song you can dance to, and I love to dance.
Essential Sunday morning listening:
Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Guiltiness.” This is a song that I’ve always known, but lately it’s been on repeat and resonating more.
Gangsta rap. I can only play it in my headphones at the gym these days. Any other times, my kids are around.