When was the last time the conversations about Nigerian music got to a heated crescendo?
We could do a mental throwback to the New Year indiscretions of Don Jazzy and Olamide, or the uber-buzz that greeted Wizkid getting his name on Drake’s ‘One Dance’ record. But they can’t compare. For all the hype and bitter words on Twitter, Olamide, and Don Jazzy sheathed their swords after 48 hours. Wizkid’s buzz had to do with the international scene, with plenty of the conversation centering on the gains made abroad.
Last week was a gem for every neutral who followed Nigerian music, is from Nigeria, and is keen on pop culture. Heck, there were even guns, the police, heartbreaks, and scandals. When did we all collectively take a stand, get educated on the workings of the music business, label contracts, and legal obligations?
That’s what last week did for us all. We Nigerians as a collective bunch have been passed through mini-lessons about the show-business, and we have come out with more knowledge and improved the collective IQ of us all.
First was Skales. The ‘Shake body’ singer was in the news after his manager̶̶, Osagie Osarenkhoe, was made to taste the interrogation of the police for ‘defrauding’ his record label, Baseline Music. The singer was thrown into the fray, where he was taken to the police station and questioned. In their time there, a lot of information seeped through to the public, including the fact that Skales receives only 30% of profits made, and also has a termination clause worth £10 million. Social media exploded with comments, tweets, oipinions, declarations of support, and of course, the funniest of trolls.
Runtown was next in line. The singer hit the news after a court injunction which banned him to perform or operate as a music entity was gotten by his record label. The singer fired back with full speed, terminating his contract with EricMany Entertainment. Pulse reached out to Runtown for an interview about the situation, and the singer bared his heart, sharing a tale of bullying, threats to life, mental torture, and extortion. According to the singer, he had stared down the barrel of a gun pulled on him by his label boss, and have had to endure multiple verbal abuses and a refusal to release his money.
The label dropped another one, this time employing the services of Lydia Obasi Hills, Esq., a New York litigator and entertainment lawyer, who secured a temporary injunction, on behalf of Eric Many, Ltd., in the Eastern District of New York against Runtown and his manager, Bugu Aneto Okeke, barring all U.S. performances and appearances by the Nigerian pop star. The injunction was an Order restraining and enjoining Douglas Jack Agu (“Runtown”), Bugu Aneto Okeke, Bug Media Limited, and Bug Entertainment and Media Limited, from "singing, appearing, hosting, performing, promoting, arranging, facilitating, scheduling, advertising or permitting the performance of Douglas Jack Agu "Runtown" at any venue on or after June 3, 2016."
The temporary injunction will lasts for a specified period of 10 days (June 3, 2016 – June 14, 2016). On expiration, a hearing will be heard from all parties involved, with a view to getting a permanent one or resolving the case out of court. Runtown, on Satuday, July 4, 2016, performed in Oakland, USA, to the consternation of many.
Up next (no pun intended), is Milli, who departed the record label, Chocolate City, many months ago. He is about to launch his new imprint titled ‘Up Next’. To make that move possible, Milli has to purge himself of the ‘soul-crushing’ treatment he received from M.I Abaga, and that he has done in a 5-part story detailing his excruciating ordeal, and selfless service at the foot of his boss.
This year, Nigerian music has had more twists and turns, than a perfect Hollywood thriller. This is good for our music, and for the fans, who up until this year, has had these issues in small doses. Enlightening conversations about the industry have been opened due to this strife, and the plight of Nigerian music has been highlighted. This has made for very interesting followership, with more fans taking more than a listening interest in the news. The culture, in a weird explicable way, is moving past the aficionados, into more hearts. This movement is being spearheaded by the intrigue, which for so long has been present in celebrity culture, but seemed to always skip the music business.
This is good for the fans, although same cannot be said for the affected parties.