Sweet and sour stories of artistes who dumped their former record labels

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The Nigerian music industry is a theatre of drama which ironically keeps it vibrant and interesting. One of such dramas we have seen and will continue to see, is unending squabbles between artistes and their record labels.
For some, it is a tale of woes while for others it’s a success story galore. This piece takes a look at the fate of some artistes who have parted ways with their bosom record labels.

Is Dbanj losing the Koko?
Renowned for his hit songs, Tongolo and Why me, Dapo Oyebanji, popularly known as ‘Dbanj’, was the rave of the moment in the music industry during his stay at Mo’ Hits Records, which he co-owned with the talented beat-maker, Don Jazzy. Prior to his dramatic departure from the label, he topped charts and reigned unstoppable like a rabid dog on rampage but was cut short immediately he parted ways with Don Jazzy. Like flowing water on a sloppy hill, his music career went down the drain like a musical greenhorn who lacked talent and guidance in an industry that doesn’t tolerate mediocre. From Showtime’s investigations, be assured that since his exit from Mo’ Hits, only Emergency has been a hit track out of all the songs he has since released. Agree or not, Dbanj was once rumoured to have been broke to the extent that even after receiving payment for shows both locally and internationally, he would fail to honor the invitation even after acknowledging the receipt of professional fee for his performance. In recent times, there were speculations that he was considering jumping on a musical collaboration with Don Jazzy, which never came to fruition. Even his latest single featuring Wande Coal and Harry Song has been a failure.

Harrysong living large after Five Star Music storm The most recent of all artiste-label breakups which is still hanging in the balance is that between Harry Song and Five Star Music. Due to prolonged irresolvable differences, the Reggae blues singer decided to go solo, citing a couple of reasons for his departure from the label. Be rest assured that Harry Song’s exit from Five Star Music was timely as he has recorded huge success in his music career ever since. Word on the street is that it seemed like he was limited during his stay at Five Star Music.

In his short stay at Altar Plate, Harry has hit pay-dirt with a couple of singles, videos and some healthy collaborations.
Chidinma grappling to survive after Capital Hill Chidinma Ekile, winner of MTN Project Fame season 3, has been quite dead musically since her exit from Capital Hill Records. The Kedike crooner did not renew her contract with the label after its expiration in 2015. Till date, both parties chose to keep mum about the affair, after amicably parting ways.

There were once rumours that she got signed to Flavour’s 2Nite Entertainment which she denied in an exclusive interview with Thenet.ng. Since her mysterious exit from the Clarence Peters & Ill Bliss led label, she went into hibernation in far away France, where she was rumored to be repackaging herself to rebound into the music industry. After leaving Capital Hills, it became evident that irrespective of her talent, her exit from the label negatively affected her music because since then she has hardly released any reasonable amount of singles nor appeared at industry shows either as a guest artiste or a surprise act. Showtime can confidently affirm that even when she is invited and paid upfront to perform at an event, she hardly shows up for reasons best known to her.
Iyanya still finding his feet at MAVIN after MMMG split Iyanya’s decision to leave MMMG came as a shock to most of his fans and music pundits; he left everyone in suspense as to why he parted ways with his ownership rights at the label. Till date, nobody can say what precisely caused his exit from the label as both he and Ubi have since kept mum on the matter. Since his arrival at Mavin Records, compared to what he churned out in quick successions at MMMG, he seems to be on the slow lane.

Skales rises above EME times
Raoul John Njeng-Njeng, aka Skales, signed on to Baseline Music about 3-years ago, after his mutual exit from BankyW’s EME music. Sometime in 2016, he was arrested and detained alongside his manager, Osagie Osarenkhoe, for allegations of fraud and diversion of funds, leveled against them by the management of Baseline Records, but it was later resolved amicably after much consultations. Earlier this year, he released his 2nd studio album titled ‘The Never Say Never Guy’ under the Baseline Records imprint. We can rightly say that since his departure from EME, his music career has recorded immense success; some say it was because his exit was based on a mutual understanding between himself and his former label boss, BankyW, else his career would have nosedived by now.
Runtown shames his former label After series of unresolved differences, ‘Mad over you’ crooner, Runtown, parted ways with his label, Ericmany Entertainment, in May 2017, citing monetary issues, continuous threat to life, gross disrespect from his label boss amongst other things as reasons for his decision to exit the label which groomed him from the scratch.

You may recall that the label instigated a court injunction against Runtown sometime ago; restraining him from performing at any show within and outside Nigeria due to unresolved differences between them, but later resolved it. Showtime’s investigation revealed that after his exit from the Okwudili led record label, Runtown has since rebranded himself to align with the present demands of the music industry. His latest singles, Mad over you and For life, have since become national anthems on the lips of both young and old. He has recorded countless local and international performances on big stages, something he could not confidently boast of while with his former label.

Lil Kesh as good with YAGI as was with YBNL
Popular for his hit songs, Lyrically, Efejoku and Shoki, rapper, Lil Kesh left YBNL Records on a clean slate after the expiration of his two-year contract with the label. With the help of his label boss, Olamide, aka ‘Badoo’, he was able to float his own record label, YAGI, an acronym for ‘Young and Getting It’, instead of renewing his contract with the label. Since then, he has been able to maintain his popularity among fans for the kind of music he churns out. He has also released his debut album which received massive recognition and acceptance, recorded a number of international stage appearances in Canada, London and other countries of the world, award nominations and wins amongst other success stories.

Obviously, we could say that parting ways with YBNL was a right step in the right direction. Though some critics argue that the success he has recorded so far since his exit from YBNL is because he has maintained a cordial affinity with his former boss, Olamide, arguing that Lil Kesh is not ripe enough to be on his own. But Showtime’s investigation revealed that contrary to public opinion, Lil Kesh’s continued relationship with YBNL is not based on selfish reasons, but rather because he can’t just separate himself from the label because it houses most of his friends.

Ice Prince on downward slide after Choc City?
Though the Jos bred rapper’s contract expired with Chocolate City, he decided to remain affiliated to the label for 2-years. Earlier this year he publicly announced the expiration of his contract with Chocolate City and the establishment of his own record label, Super Cool Cats. His exit from Chocolate City came on the heels of a mutual agreement between both parties unlike some others who left under acrimonious circumstances.

Has he been faring well since he parted ways with his former label? Yes, even though he may not have recorded so much success since his exit, but unlike some other artistes, he is doing pretty well; at least he is still releasing good songs which are widely received and accepted by his fans. On the contrary, Showtime can confirm that he has not been appearing at industry shows like in the past, which obviously is not a good thing for his career reputation.
Saeon bit more than she can chew with Baseline Music Popularly known as Saeon Moruda, but born Oluwaseun Omolara Oni, the all round entertainer shot into limelight after featuring Wizkid on her hit single, Boogie Down, which enjoyed massive airplay on radio stations, in clubs, restaurants and private homes. She got signed on to Baseline Music in 2014 and since then she has released a couple of creative works which have thrived. Unfortunately for the daring singer, she suffered lack of support from the label and when she voiced her dissatisfaction, bad blood began to brew up eventually leading to her acrimonious exit from the label.

Showtime’s investigation revealed that since her exit from Baseline Music, her music career has drastically suffered; hardly will you hear any of her songs on air or see her videos on both terrestrial and cable TVs. Has she been spotted at any industry show or event in recent times since her exit from the label? No! The question that needs to be answered now is ‘Where is Saeon?’ Is she still doing music or she has thrown in the towel? Showtime’s efforts to reach the pretty singer proved abortive but feelers from the delectable singer’s camp confirmed that she is in hibernation at the moment but will bounce back to the top anytime soon.
Debbie Rise saved by BBNaija?
Former Nigeria Idol contestant and Big Brother Naija finalist, Debbie Rise, acrimoniously split ways with her record label, 800 Records, after the management of the label repudiated her deal with them, all because she requested to have a look at a record of the financial investment carried out on behalf of her music career. As if it was divinely destined to happen, the never-say-never Debbie Rise took the bull by the horn, she decided to continue pursuing her music career all on her on own against all odds. Luck recently smiled on her when she got a lifetime opportunity to be part of the recently concluded reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, where she emerged one of the finalists. Since then, she has been smiling to the bank as her career has taken an impressive twist from what it used to be since she left her former label. Was her exit from the label favorable? Sure it was.

Adekunle Gold still on easy street as a loner
The non conformist singer who recently confirmed his exit from YBNL has been achieving giant strides since his exit; the release of his debut album titled ‘Gold’, spelt a new beginning for the easy going singer whose lifestyle remains a mystery to unravel. He has become a singing sensation in high demand at several industry shows, private parties, etc. In a recent exclusive chat with Showtime, the Orente crooner confirmed that he is no more with YBNL, but debunked rumours that he has now floated his own record label named ‘Gold’. According to Adekunle Gold, he has truly parted ways with YBNL but he doesn’t own a record label neither does he nurture plans to establish one anytime soon. Showtime can confirm to you for free that Adekunle Gold’s performance fee has increased and he seems to be on a rampage of success as he has recorded a landslide of achievements since his exit from YBNL.

Baci’s sour story with MMMG continues without them Although verbal agreements formed the basis of the singer’s deal with the Ubi Franklin and Iyanya-led Made Men Music Group, the label failed to officially sign a written contract with him after spending 6-years with them. According to Baci in an exclusive chat with Showtime, it was a two way thing at the time he joined the label; Ubi promised to sign Emma Nyra while Iyanya promised to sign Baci. Obviously, Ubi fulfilled his promise to Emma Nyra but Iyanya failed to officially sign Baci as promised.

Vector wriggled through to good times Vector’s affiliation to YSG lasted for about 4-years; during which he was a loyal signee, but trouble began when he registered his displeasure about his career not being on speed dial. He accused the label of a nonchalant disposition towards the growth of his career which went south with the management of the label causing them to turn their backs on him. Things later took a more negative turn for Vector when he took a self-sponsored vacation to the US and returned to his record boss’ fury, claiming he went to the States to sign a new record deal. Some weeks later, he received a VIP invitation letter from the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State to appear at the Area-E Command in Lagos, on the grounds that he breached the contract he signed with YSG, claiming he had engaged external hands to work for him. After much consultation, his father who is a retired police officer waded into the matter and the whole imbroglio was resolved. In spite of the amicable settlement, the whole incident evidently affected his career till a few years later when he was able to wriggle his way out of the mess, and since then he has been doing fine for himself. At least he has won some awards to include the prestigious Headies Award.

Burna Boy stays on the line after Aristocrat Records
Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy is said to need help because he lacks the winning streak he once had at Aristocrat Records. Investigations revealed that ‘Spaceship’ has not shot him beyond the level he once was at his former label. Word on the streets is that he needs a backing to redeem his music career. But contrary to public opinion, Showtime believes the Soke singer is doing quite well for himself without Aristocrat Records. Even with his snobbish cum nonchalant attitude, he has carved a niche for himself, without industry show appearances and award nominations or wins, he still holds a relevant position in the music industry.

Emma Nyra still gasping for breathe after MMMG From her brief but troubled stay at TripleMG, Nyra Nation label boss and singer, Emma Nyra has not enjoyed her full potential in the Nigerian music industry. As a result of her dramatic exit from MMMG, she has suffered criticisms from loyalists of the label. Ever since she parted ways with Ubi, several controversies have surrounded her music career. Some allege that because she refused to date Ubi she’s been having issues with promoting her career while others believe her exit from MMMG was a wrong step in the wrong direction. She has since lost popularity and relevance in the industry due to lack of visibility. The question of how she has been faring since she left MMMG is irrelevant; has she ever been doing well?

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