There’s always a weak member of a group. Every time people come together to create something or drive a new project, there’s always a weak link.
Plantashun Boiz had the songwriting skills of Blackface, the delivery of 2face Idibia, and the chilled mastery of form that Faze contributed. Kcee and Presh worked their assess off, and no one could distinguish who was better, regardless of how high or low KCPresh flew during their days as a formidable and popular music group in Nigeria.
Even Styl-Plus, with all their swashbuckling run which cemented them as legends in Nigerian music history, still had Tunde idolized by fans of their records.
With music groups in Nigeria, the key thing for them has never been balance, but inclusion. People don’t run looking for the right chemistry to get their new project to pop. They meet by some twisted work of fate and over time, build their work to capitalize on all their strengths.
For Psquare, fate did it. Peter and Paul were born as identical twins with a flair for the art. And over years of constant practice, they have created the best records on the continent. And had an incredible run at the top of the charts.
The conversations about their individual roles would always go on. They are Nigeria’s best and most important pop group ever. Fans would always ask this same question. Who is better? Is Peter more gifted than Paul? Is Paul the better singer than his flighty and charming brother?
These arguments can go on forever. Anyone who enjoyed the height of Plantashun Boiz and their dominance would split their assessment and create discussions to back their claim. Was Blackface the catalyst of everything good? Did 2face Idibia provide more than we could credit him for? Was Faze the most gifted one of the trio who didn’t fight hard enough for his due recognition?
No one wins with these arguments. For every pop fanatic who says 2face Idibia is the greatest thing since slice bread, there are thousands of others with a technical insistence on the greatness and skill level of Blackface. For most groups, it’s about balancing their act and hitting that sweet spot where everyone is able to leverage on the best parts of their talent and personality to provide value for the team.
It’s a formula that works for the team. Every member brings together ingredients to create a recipe that equates to success. Psquare’s two members have found a way to ensure that the formula stays fresh and potent. So much that everyone has their clear favorite between them.
From their early days on the streets of Jos, to the allure of Paris, the twins have carried this formula and found success at the highest levels. They have sold millions of records, won the most awards and gathered an army of passionate followers who resort to tears at the hint of a breakup.
Peter and Paul Okoye, what do they bring on to the table that distinguishes the twins from each other? Which of their attributes makes them the better one of the two? Are they different from each other?
Paul Okoye (Rudeboy)
If you want to understand what Paul Okoye brings to the group, go back to their earliest albums. Listen from start to bottom. From The first album, down to the last one, Paul has his footprints and voice everywhere. Sometimes it’s only him on the song. He is the better vocalist who focuses on sound integrity.
Paul is the musical workhorse of the duo, handling the hooks for almost all their biggest hits. His silkier and higher-pitched voice gives him an edge over Peter in the studio, which makes him the group’s official singer. His artistry lies in his decision to chase music as an art for itself, and focus on using his voice as his most desirable instrument. This is what has made him have a grip on his brother. He owns the music.
Take their most recent songs ‘Away’ and ‘Nobody Ugly’. Although the videos tell a different story, but everything was sang almost only by Paul. He not only serves as the lead singer, his control over the sound gives it depth and a richness that would not have be possible without him. On their best albums “Get Squared” and “Game Over,” it’s Paul who grabs the music by the neck and takes it to task. His ability to be forceful, yet mild on every record, creates a balance across the records. This sets it up for commercial success.
All their projects feel like they build around his energy and recording skill. On the classic album “Game Over”, which affected contemporary Nigerian music, Paul comes through for the entire family. Opener ‘No one like u’, has him setting up the romantic and immersive lyrics that serve as the perfect introduction into such a huge project.
Much of what the group has achieved over the years would not have been reality without Paul. And that’s why he has a strong claim to being the best member of the group. Based on technicality and musical ability, he is almost untouchable. He carries the load of everyone, especially where it matters most. Think of the ‘Psquare’ voice that we know, and you are thinking of Paul Okoye.
Peter Okoye (Mr P, P-Classic)
The case for Peter requires context. The group’s popularity and their stardom effect on the public, is Peter's responsibility . Growing up, one of the greatest allure of Psquare’s artistry is their ability to create various outlets of expression. Singing was their first love, which they have held down. But the other most important facet is the dancing component.
Whether they are channeling Michael Jackson, Usher, Chris Brown or Omarion, Psquare’s most vital part of their branding and performance has been their ability to dance. This dancing has been the crucial part of their visual representation, and Peter has it. He has the gift of body coordination, and the passion to push himself, beyond limits. Peter have driven the brand and their interaction with fans via his dancing.
From their earlier days, while Paul indulged in the art from a young age, it has always been Peter who had the natural flair for it. And over decades, he has given the team balance, and driven their growth on screen and onstage.
Psquare’s biggest music videos created an impact on pop culture because of the dancing. It’s on equal footing with the music. On ‘Senorita’, Peter’s dancing skills sealed the deal with making it one of their trademark videos. And as the years flew by and the projects dropped, he grew into the role with a consistency that is worthy of emulation. Songs such as ‘Shekini’, ‘Roll it’, and ‘Alingo’ became legendary hits because of Peter’s involvement in creating a visual experience for the world.
Psquare’s biggest video of their musical career is ‘Personally’. The project which dropped in June 2013, was a tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Peter grabbed the visual by the neck and ran with it. That was his dance magnum opus. The video currently has almost 75 million views.
Away from his moves, Peter gives the brand stylistic appreciation. He is a peacock and exhibitionist, who works hard at creating the sleek bad-boy image that everyone associates with Psquare. This image has been the sole reason why they appeal to a younger demographic. Which young boy does not want to have his good looks? Show me a young girl who doesn’t hold a fantasy about Peter, and all the naughty things they would do to him.
In music, Peter is light years behind Paul, but he contributes in the A&R process. Peter has an uncanny ability to spot hits. And when he feels excitement about a record, it almost always translates to excitement for fans. His recording process with Paul has over time diminished to hooks, bridges and adlibs. And although there have been campaigns to lower his contributions, he is still as relevant to the group and to the culture as when they started.
Peter and Paul are two halves of a machine. Without each other, they lose important elements of their artistry. Together, they have harnessed it all and created the best pop group of modern Nigerian music. That’s deserves respect.