The Reminders

October 2021

Whenever I get the chance to walk the streets here in Denver, Colorado, I'm always amazed by the amount of music that reaches my ears. For a city not as prominent in the music scene as Los Angeles, New York or New Orleans, we have an incredible number of street performers, concerts, and festivals going down every day. 

Country, rock, jazz, classical, and other deep, historically-rooted genres are often what the Mile-High City has been known for, but recently, with a more diverse population moving in over the last decade, fresh new music like hip hop, reggae, and metal have been finding their way onto the stage. As a Denver photographer who often gets to work for national music magazines, the word that I keep hearing is that Denver is primed for a flourishing musical revolution, and in my opinion, at the very front of that revolution is the hip hop duo The Reminders.

Created by a married couple who are also two incredible hip hop artists in their own right, Belgium-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born artist Aja Black, The Reminders is an elite-level lyrical group that focuses on empowering, conscious topics. Their music has been a shining example for Denver's progressive future, and they've also grown quite the touring reputation with their electrifying chemistry on stage. This reputation has gotten around so well, in fact, that they've been invited to perform many times with greats like Snoop Dogg, Method ManMos Def, and Talib Kweli.

As a person who devours hip hop music every single day, when I discovered their music I was instantly infatuated. Their buttery smooth yet highly complex wordplay mixed with classic soulful singing was a combo that I'd rarely heard in hip hop, and I also really appreciated the fact that they never kept to one style but were always evolving with every song. It felt as is if The Reminders didn't belong to just one timeline or era, but existed in all at once.

Hearts of Gold

I couldn't resist the urge to contact Aja and Samir to set up a shoot, and within a few months (after they finished some tour dates) my wish was granted. I finally got meet them in person, and just as I expected, they were genuine, enthusiastic and addictingly creative. Our mutual love for hip hop instantly helped us connect, but what really kicked things off was when I discovered that Mos Def and Talib Kweli's album, Black Star, was a enormous mutual influence in our creative lives. We played that masterpiece on my speaker and sang the lyrics and bumped our heads, and after a few minutes, Aja and Samir asked if they could dance. At that point I could tell this shoot was going to be something very special and I threw out all my poses and plans. The Reminders were about to go into their element, and instead of interrupting that I was going to capture them at their best. 

Aja Black

Antoine "Big Samir" Zamundu