The Nigerian music industry has seen many great producers and musicians scrambling to get associated with to the best record labels in the country. And with the many successful record labels out there, like YBNL, PentHauze, DMW, Star Boy Entertainment, etc., there are a few labels who were once at the top of the industry chain, but are now, sadly, either non-existent, or scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to claw their way back to the top… That is if they ever would.
See the labels in order below:
Keke and Dayo Ogungbe’s record label was once the greatest record label in Nigeria. Boasting all the then A-list artistes in the industry; Tuface Idibia, Eldee, Olu Maintain, Jo-El, OJB Jezreel, Sound Sultan, Jaywon, Essence, Sir Shina Peters, Capital F.E.M.I, Plantashun Boiz, KC Presh, Masterkraft, Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdukalreem, etc.
In fact, in the early 90s – early 2000s, if you weren’t signed to Kennis Music, then you weren’t considered an A-list artist. However, for reasons still unknown, Kennis Music has become almost non-existent now with only their radio station the only thing that makes us remember their name.
Re-inventing the rap industry in Nigeria was more than an uphill battle that Storm Records made look too easy. The likes of Ikechukwu, Naeto C, and Sasha P all released best-selling albums under the label, only for Storm Records to get blown away by a terrible storm they apparently couldn’t handle. We still miss “The P” that Naeto C and Storm Records promised to let us know. Maybe it meant “The Parting”… Who knows?
Although Banky W is doing magnificently well keeping E.M.E Music alive, there was a time when Empire Music Entertainment were going toe-to-toe with the then best record label, MoHits. The likes of Banky W, Wizkid, and Skales were all under the label at one point and looking at Wizkid’s international success right now, if he was still under – or at least affiliated with – EME, the label would have undoubtedly been the best in Nigeria right now. Sadly, that isn’t the case as Banky W and Niyola are really doing all they can to keep the record label alive.
After Storm Records broke our hearts by disbanding, we all thought that was the end of rap in Nigeria, until Chocolate City grew from the eye of the storm. M.I, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz gave us something that even Storm Records couldn’t without Naeto C; great feel good Hip Hop music. However, the trio became a duo: M.I and Ice Prince, and then it became only- and still is – M.I that is keeping Chocolate City relevant in the industry. Brymo was meant to be the redeemer, but sadly, he left the label.
We are still expecting big things from Nosa, Loose Kanyon, Koker, C-Kay, Ruby Gyang, Victoria Kimani, and Dice Ailes… but we are almost getting tired of waiting.
Huh! Mavins ke? Are we really going to put Mavins here? Well yes, we are!
Since the forced transition from MoHits, the hungry Don Jazzy went somewhere that we have been crying and begging for to come back. D’Banj and Wande Coal left and the Don replaced them with Dija, Korede Bello, and Reekado Banks. Dr Sid, Tiwa Savage and D’Prince
Dr Sid, Tiwa Savage and D’Prince were already registered names in the industry, but only Tiwa Savage is still relevant right now. Reekado Banks is the only artist – post-D’Banj/WC – that has actually impressed with back-to-back gbedus whey dey burst brain.
Dija’s “Aww” was amazing, but then she followed up with kissing songs that left us wondering what made Don Jazzy sign her in the first place. Korede Bello has been off and on, but there’s no doubt that he has the talent only Don Jazzy can harness (we desperately need him to harness). Of the newcomers, it’s only Johnny Drille that everyone knows will deliver without question.
So this is why Mavins is on this list. Not because they aren’t great, but because the number of artists in the record label does not in any way reflect the impact they have in the music industry compared to the likes of YBNL, PentHauze, Bahd Guyz Entertainment.
We surely miss the glory days of the above record labels, and we definitely wish they can make a very serious comeback.