The rap industry in Nigeria has come alive in the last few months. There has been a resurgence, a couple of significant events that have regenerated and rekindled interest in the art form. At the turn of the millennium, rap music could pride itself as the most followed form of music in Nigeria. Rewind time to the days of Ruggedman, Idris Abdulkareem, and Eldee, rap in Nigeria at one time had a very honest and fanatical following.
Blaqbonez albums, E.P’s and battles, Chocolate city’s Martell Cypher, Mi vs Vector Beef, Blaqbonez vs Khaligraph Jones, Timi Kei’s soul soup Album, and Dr. Barz record detailing the killing of a Mechanic in Port Harcourt are some events that have lifted the face of rap music in recent times.
Today, we had a chance to sit down with Dr. Barz who is emerging as one of the best rap acts in Nigeria and this is how it went.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Born Victor Akpomon, Dr. Barz is a uniquely versatile Afro-hip-hop music artiste. Born in the early ’90s in Benin, Nigeria and raised in the southern city of Port Harcourt, his love for music began from his early years as he started writing music at a tender age of thirteen in high school.
Dr. Barz’s music is an expression of his vast life experiences, societal struggles, and deep knowledge. With a voice texture and rhyme scheme likened to that of Kendrick Lamar, the soul of J. Cole and the spirit of a Port Harcourt hustler, Dr. Barz produces all shades of dope any day.
Why did you choose the name, Dr. Barz?
I chose the name Dr. Barz because I doctor bars. At first, it was just Barz, because I needed something simple and self-explanatory but it needed some distinction. I switched to 16 Barz for a short time because most of my verses were 16s, but in the end, I finally decided to be a Dr.
Can Tell us who your creative Influences are?
My major influences currently are J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Burna-Boy. Although at different times during the span of my music career, I have had several other influences
Who do you consider the best rapper in Nigeria?
I consider myself The Creative God and one of the best rappers in Nigeria. I personally hold the opinion that the best is a set of people and not just one person, contrary to many people’s beliefs.
What is your opinion about mumble rap?
I think mumble rap is largely overrated and glorified – sad. I personally think real hip-hop/music should be comprehensible, possess clearly defined messages and inspire people to a positive end
What do we expect from you in the future?
In the future, expect way better songs, videos, bigger collaborations, award-winning projects and definitely real poo-poo
I’m working on my debut album, can’t specifically say when it will be out but it promises to feature a number of amazing artists worldwide.
What are your thoughts on selling digitally?
I think digital platforms are an amazing inclusion in the music industry business, one today’s generation of artistes should feel privileged to have Traditional hard copy sales should not be overlooked too as different regions have their preferences and this is also a good source of revenue during tours.
Are making enough money from streams?
Not enough But I am making some considerable amount of money
Would you say you have all the support you need?
I would say I am grateful for all the considerable amount of support I am getting, but I wouldn’t say that getting way more is a bad idea. It is required for growth
Are you signed to a label?
No, I am independent but I am currently managed by an independent outfit, Kporwell Inc. There are big advantages of being on big labels, but for the integrity of my sound and creative freedom, I would prefer to be independent
But you sure need some type of investment, right?
Music is a business Businesses need investors The more the merrier.
Thank you so much for joining us today. we honestly think your video is pretty solid, gritty and dope. You are one of the best rap act out now.
Real names Ayodeji Oladimeji Oke, “YOUNG PABLOZY ” is one of the emerging stars in the Afrobeat circles in Chicago IL, USA. He has shown Us potentials of rising and aspirations to succeed with his unending hard work, good songs, and great stage performances and very friendly Attitude.
In my opinion, he has the Don Jazzy vibe.
He released his first Single Titled “OLADIMEJI” under the F.O.B RECORDZ last year, which earned him a place on the playlist of the biggest club DJs in the States with the Likes of Dj Deemoney, 3k, Bosun, Matrix, BODE, Phlame Rymzy just to mention a few.
I met him at a gig with DJ Deemoney and I definitely feel Pablozy is on track to reach the pinnacle with his abilities to be diverse in songs. He currently has two songs out OLADIMEJI and BAMILO and An official video to OLADIMEJI. According to his team, He is set to release another club banger “Call on me “ on Feb 14, 2020, which he refers to as the lover’s anthem.
Check out the visuals to Oladimeji below. It is such a vibe.
Just released photos by Timi Singsong’s management shot by Bree Danielz
The last time we heard from Timi Singsong on the big stage was around 2017 in Lagos Nigeria, he just released the video to his popping single prove holy featuring one of Nigeria’s heavyweight rappers Vector and everything was looking great for him. But, Soon after the release of the video he relocated to the USA to find greener pastures and has since been under the radar.
Timi Singsong surfaced a few weeks ago as the host of Afrique Entertainment Awards in the USA alongside another artist Kambria Moncrief and we got the chance to have an interview with him.
Mazifeanyi: Good morning Timmy how are you doing?
Timmy: I’m doing very well boss, how about yourself?
Doing ok, I would like to know, is it Timmy singsong or TME singsong and how did you come up with that name?
It’s actually T-me singsong but due to some requirements from some music playing platforms, I’ll rather have it as Timi singsong. Some of them give you problems if you have special characters on your brand name. Timi comes from my middle name Timilehin, and singing is what I do, I just used a little from my 250 IQ to come up with the name Timi singsong
Lol, at 250 IQ so you have such a high IQ, Great! Thank you for the clarification, officially it is Timi songsong so that we do not confuse you with someone else.
What took you so long, we saw you in Tsunami and in Prove holy ft Vector and all of a sudden you disappeared from the radar. We were wondering what happened to Timi singsong, can you take us on your musical journey?
So, after the release of prove holy featuring vector tha viper I moved to America to chase my music dream internationally, so I took a 2-year break from the scene to study the environment and the lifestyle before I started doing my thing again.
Are you back to doing music now and what are the plans for your music?
Yes I am. I have an Ep coming out in March 2020, so y’all should look out for that. The title is Take 2
Why Take 2?
Take 2 speaks about my journey through the music industry from Nigeria and my reincarnation back to the music I’ve always loved doing
Do you have any collaborations on the E.P? If yes, who are they, I mean the artists and the producers.
Well, I have Afro rolls, Rilo, Mr duke, vector and juniorboy on it.
Can you speak on Afro-beats in the USA ad compare it to Nigeria and what impact will your project have on USA or Nigeria. Where do you think your E.P will have the most impact?
I think most of my peers would want their music to make an impact in the USA which is also my aim like I said earlier, I moved here to make my music go international.
Finally, tell us where we can find you and your music, especially the ones that have been looking for you all along.
You can follow me on Instagram @therealsingsong and you can add me up on Snap-chat if you want to interact with me personally @t-mesingsong. My new music when it drops will be available exclusively first on your site and later on all streaming platforms. I also do like the fact that you are focused on Afro-beat acts in the diaspora because we do need a channel and a voice. Thank you.
Many things have been said about blackfaceNaija in recent times, especially as the case between his former groupmate Tubaba Idibia continues to heat up. The two were part of a group called Plantashun Boiz who in the 90s brought smiles on people’s faces. I was in High school at the time when their singles were all over the airwaves in Nigeria. We were all miming their songs and we would use the lyrics to the songs to make passes at females. At least i was…
After enjoying unprecedented success together, Plantashun Boiz which also included a third member faze, had to go their separate ways. Life after Plantashun Boiz came with its ups and downs. They enjoyed individual successes here and there but members of the group are still battling the effects of that split. It is no longer news that Blaqface and Tubaba got into a tug of war about the ownership of African queen, the song that gave Tubaba his international breakthrough.
Blackface said he was not credited for the parts of the song he wrote and that the song was used without his permission. Tubaba on the other hand claim that no part of the song was written by blackface. I recently met up with BlackfaceNaija, and he shared his version of African Queen produced by Nelson Brown, Plantashun Boiz original producer as at the time the group was still around. His version of African queen is also a masterpiece but sounds very different from that of Tubaba although there are still similarities. He also shared Collabo, Badder than them, two hot tracks that he has just recently released.
Kudos to BlackfaceNaija for re-inventing himself even in the face of controversy. Regardless of what happens with Tubaba and the rest of the Legendary Planttashun boys team, BlackfaceNaija still remains a Legend and should be treated as such.
The DtwinZ Cargo services have opened a branch of their logistics company in Ondo State Nigeria to add to their already existing branches in the USA, Lagos, and Ibadan. This is a move to cater to the high volume of goods and items that ship to the southwestern state on a regular. The CEO of the company Ibrahim Salami insists that customers from that part of the country (Nigeria) go through a lot of hassle to convey their goods from their Lagos office to Ondo State. Now with the new branch opened people can conveniently pick-up their goods at our location in Ondo city. He also said that the company is looking to open more branches in the Eastern part of Nigeria.
4703 W 30th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222
With years of experience in handling and delivering Cargo, DTwinz Cargo provides an on-time, reliable and secure way to shipping items via flight and container to and from Nigeria. Shipments to Nigeria leave every Friday and Shipments from Nigeria to USA are scheduled based on needs.
If you are really conversant with the music industry in Port Harcourt and in Nigeria in general, you should be very familiar with the name Duncan Daniels. He is a true OG, the one responsible for the hit single Like this ft MI Abaga that was heavily rotated on TV and on the radio all over Nigeria.
Duncan Daniels is a Nigerian-British singer, producer, and songwriter. Born in Massachusetts, raised in England and Nigeria, Duncan found his way back to Boston to study Music Production & Engineering at Berkley College of Music.
The good news is that Duncan Daniels and his team have announced that he has a new album in the works and the album titled “Afroeclectic” is expected to drop in a few weeks. According to Duncan Daniels, the date of release has been set for Valentine’s day February 14th, 2020. The album which has been 10 years in the making promises to be a strong album that details several aspects of Duncan’s experiences. He also chose to feature some pioneers in the music industry in Port Harcourt Nigeria such as Korkormikor, Speseamen A, Mackgee and Lyrikal both formerly of Tuck Tyght – The Hiphop group that set PH on fire in the early 2000s. When asked about this decision to put the OGs on the record he says;
“I am repping PHCity heavy on my upcoming album. Majority of the artists I’ve featured on this album project were at some point based in PORT HARCOURT and have been making music for over 15 years some true pioneers of the industry, they may not be as famous right now as the Wizkids, Davidos or Burna boys but if I had the choice between those big names in Afrobeat and these names on my track-list, I’ll still choose them for this project.”
In the last decade, the Music business has seen more startup failures than most money-making endeavors. This is mainly because it involves a lot of money, ideas, and an enormously gifted artist to stand out and get noticed among the fierce competition. I am privileged to have been an artist myself, under the stage name ReDkAd, and also a part of many successful and unsuccessful startups, the biggest of whom is Burnaboy who has been recently nominated for a Grammy award. Preye(Aristocrat), as he was referred to by close friends, arrived Port-Harcourt from the USA hoping to sign an artist. Myself, Burnaboy, Leriq, Onosz, and feedback were one of the few people he met and initially hung out with in the studio. Sugarboy, Ms. chief, Onosz and most recently Blaqbonez are other acts I have studied closely. I would not claim to have made any major contributions but I was close to these acts enough to see what worked and what failed.
After Introducing Onosz to Preye, Onosz got the chance to record a track with Burna.
As ReDkAd, I released a Mixtape titled Hip-hop dead or Alive to critical acclaim and began to be seen as one of the fastest emerging Rap talents out of Nigeria. I got signed to Legendary records in 2012 but had a fall-out with the label over a breach of contract, the label had failed to follow through on some of its obligations during the time I was recording my first album which I titled February 16th. Soon after the exit, I ventured overseas, leaving the shores of Nigeria for greener pastures. My romance with entertainment did not end here. In 2013, I got featured on Hot96, one of the USA’s biggest radio stations as Indiana’s next big thing, but by that time I had already made up my mind to go into the music business. I partnered with a certain upcoming artist (names withheld) to float a record label, but due to a series of events the label did not see the light of day. I started my blog at about the same time the label failed and between that time and now, I have managed a club ; managed events involving A-list artists; and also directed and successfully managed music video projects. All these experiences put together gives me a lot of insight into understanding why a lot of individuals fail at some point when trying to grow in the music business.
Redkad’s My life music video shot in 2012 and “Born me for Lagos” off ReDkAd’s Hip-hop Dead or Alive Mixtape in 2011.
But this article is not about me or what I have managed to achieve, but rather it is about upcoming artists and what they have failed to understand about the music business. Let us get a bit more serious and get in-depth on how to get ahead in the music business as an artist.
1. Nurture the Talent
Every artist who wants to make it in entertainment has to have some level of talent to showcase. An artist has to be convinced and confident about the talent they possess and ready to showcase it when called upon. It is also very important to continuously get better and to keep improving. Artists continuously have to reinvent themselves, because the skill-sets required to survive in 2019 may be different from what is required to stay afloat in the future, say 2030. When I use the word Talent, I mean all aspects of creativity. The uniqueness of the songs, Photo-shoots, and the direction of the videos are all an indication of how talented an artist is. Having a different perspective is what makes a brand compelling and attractive to its fans. Talent is the raw material required to make the unique product (music) we will be selling.
2. Understand Business principles
This is, in my opinion, the most important key to being a successful music businessman. A lot of artists with enormous prospects and skills, wither and die because they have no business aptitude. As a matter of fact, an artist with minimal talent but great business acumen is more likely to survive than if it was vice versa. Many artists do not understand the basics of Business or the ones that do, find it hard to apply these basic business principles to their music. In my opinion, there are two parallel sides in entertainment as a whole, One is the artistic side, and the other is the business or commercial side of it. Having knowledge of only one or the other will limit the chances of success. Most successful brands have been the ones who understand both sides of the divide or have partners that handle business while the other party concentrates on the creative side of things. It is recommended that even with a partner, it is important to understand how both sides work at least to a certain extent. A good example is Jay z and Dame Dash both were partners and complemented each other. A very Intriguing fact is that what is good for creativity may not be necessarily good for business and vice versa. It may be creative to smoke cigarettes on a track, but if the goal is to be the brand ambassador for a health care provider, the artist may not qualify. The same as posing nude, which may be considered bad from the creative side may rake in the money. Understanding how an idea impacts creativity or business positions an artist for greatness.
Therefore every artist have to educate themselves on a few basic Business and economic principles such as buying and selling, markets, Scale of preference, Budgets, Production, distribution, credit, debit, profit and loss accounting, business name registration, Patent, copyright, contracts laws, etc. because decisions that are made every day without understanding these underlying principles will hurt the process in the long run. Most importantly, research to find out about terms and formulas specific to the music industry. An upcoming artist discarded a great deal with a record label because he had reasoned that since he has the talent( raw material) and the label was just coming through with the finances, he should get 70 percent while the label gets 40 percent. These great opportunities do not come all the time so being Novice about standard practices like this can keep a promising lad grounded for years. A simple search on Google can provide answers on what a standard offer looks like and what makes an artist eligible for more.
Acts want to concern themselves with the creative process alone leaving behind critical knowledge required to establish and run a business. More often than not, this causes the death of many promising music brands. I have met artists that have no idea what a good business plan or model is, so they seldomly make good business decisions.
3. Have a Source of Income
Music is expensive, most businesses require a one-time start-up capital to take off, but the reality is that being an artist requires a source of capital – a constant flow of money, because It may take years of financial commitments and time to finally break out an artist. It typically takes millions of dollars to completely establish a major artist. This huge investment makes it impossible for a lot of aspiring musicians to go far in the industry without a sponsor. This is the reason several musicians and entertainers turn to record labels for help. Record labels have the resources to provide financial backing to talented acts. They typically pay the cost required to produce, distribute, manage, and promote the artist’s contents.
Getting signed on to a record label comes with its own problems. one of the major problems especially in Nigeria is that everyone with a sizeable amount of money claims to be a record label, even without the necessary know-how, networking, and connections. Another issue stems from the fact that many artists have no idea what a good contract looks like. The news of being signed on to a label is heralded with so much happiness, expectations, and buzz that it is almost as if the artist has made it in life, but little do they know is that whatever penny is spent on the artist as either advance cash or cost of production must be retrieved. Therefore the artist must be committed to working harder than ever rather than showing off. Whatever is written in the contract agreement handed by record label must carefully be reviewed and understood by the artist, his associates or his lawyer (recommended). There is so much Jargon written in contracts that it is advisable to get a lawyer in order to understand it from a legal perspective. This will help the artist make informed decisions that will get you ahead. Artists have to understand what is expected of them and what the label has to offer. The main issue is that many acts disregard the documents, and then sign on to labels to later realize they do not really like the offer.
Do not put pen to paper unless the entire document is understood.
Most issues arise from the artists expecting to get more than what was spelled out in the contract, or the record label not being able to meet up with their financial responsibility. Both situations cause a lot of friction and both parties more often than not, find themselves in court, or go their separate ways. Today, social media has helped a little in the area of scouting talents, promotions, and distributions that a record label does not have as much power as it once had. Many acts who have the money and network to push their music locally have taken up the burden of being their own label. Platforms such as youtube, iTunes, Soundcloud provide options for acts to make some money. Instagram, Facebook a huge pool of people to aid promotions and distributions. In the past decade, we have seen a lot of artists go from the comfort of their bedrooms to performing in great venues across the world. Although social media has thrived in this respect, it is also the goal of an artist to keep expanding and meeting new opportunities. Yes, record labels may offer the artist much more exposure and opportunities than what the artist can do for himself.
Let me use this opportunity to state that, although over the years, artists have made record labels look like the devil, record Labels are still a fantastic way to get ahead of the competition, so long as every party understands their role. Labels take a lot of risk in investing millions of dollars on artists and artists should see this as a favor, at least until the investor starts getting a return on investment.
Tubaba exploded internationally when he got signed on to Kennis music in 2004.
Even when there is a source of income, we do not just embark on a spending spree. An artist and his management will have to figure out the most effective way to spend his capital. Let us use a very basic example. A shoe cobbler plans to buy a hammer, threads, Polish, machines, gloves etc. He also pays for space at the corner and considers costs like electricity to run his machines. He calculates all of his expected expenses and comes up with a start-up budget/cost. The start-up cost and expenses associated with running the business will determine the price he will charge for his services. The same principles apply to music. An artist will have to answer questions like should I make more videos, or focus on making audios? Should I spend this amount of money on radio promotions or use that amount and pour it into buying outfits for my events? Whatever the choice, the artist should be sure to make decisions that will make the most sense at that point in time.
It is not unusual to come across artists who act like they never want to pay for Photos, studio time, Videos, Management, promotions or distribution. You are going nowhere if you cannot spend money to put your product together i.e a demo, a single, an E.P, Album, Video, or a documentary. Some acts will spend most of their money on making the content, without realizing that promotions and distribution are equally as important as making the content. For any reasonable type of success to occur, the product must reach the intended consumer, there must be a budget for Publicity, Promotions, and distributions. It is not ok to depend solely on free services. You may take advantage of free services in the offering but from experience, it is better to pay top industry associates to get the best quality of content and service.
Would it surprise you to learn that many fledging artists do not have a manager? The advantages of having a management far supersede the disadvantage (cost). A manager’s role can never be overemphasized. He holds the key to unlocking the artists’ potentials on the field of play, let us just say he is “the Pep Guardiola of the team”.
A manager aims to turn the artist into a money-spinning brand. He is constantly looking out for businesses and deals they can benefit from. He has the artist’s best interest at heart and will do whatever is in his power to drive the brand towards making an impact. Mostly behind the scenes, a manager plans the schedule, negotiates pay, represents the artist in meetings, Plans events, tours or travels with the artist, and most importantly searches for new opportunities where the brand can thrive. Most Managers get paid a monthly salary but some of them agree to be a part of the brand’s growth process and may agree to collect a percentage of the money the artist makes. So that if the artist is not making money he is also not. Whatever the case may be make sure to have a management contract reviewed by a lawyer and signed to avoid any major disputes in the future. Some of the top managers in the industry are Bankuli, Asa Asika, Osagie Omoregbe, Sunday Are, Kamal Ajiboye just to mention a few. It is also a smart idea to start off with a promising manager, one who just got into the business and is willing to take a pay cut for a start, that way the artist can save some money.
Not having a manager is a disaster, just like a soccer team with no manager at the touchline, there will be no form of organization, direction, neither will there be a clear game plan. A good manager knows the most effective areas to spend time and resources to make the most impact. They also provide a pair of eyes from the sideline to know what changes to make for progress to be made.
If there is anything that can put an artist in the front foot, it is collaborating with different emerging artists. It is a great way to expose both acts to a different fanbase. The first time most Nigerians ever heard of Wizkid was on a collaboration with MI Abaga who was at the time emerging as one of Nigeria’s finest rappers. Wizkid has undeniable talents, but collaborating on this song with M.I set the tone for what was to come. It increased people’s awareness of his brand and made people eager to find out more about him. It is understood that collaborations with big brands do not come cheap but collaborating with emerging Managers, Models, artists, designers, media outlets, event venues, comedians, small businesses can save the artist a bit of money and also get them ahead.
Gone are the days when an artist can get away with having a successful year without having several worthy videos. In today’s music industry, you need to match your audio quality with videos, because videos are so much more engaging to the fans. There is a need to put out quality videos to keep the fans interested in you and to keep your brand competing for new business.
“seeing is believing”.
We are nearing the end of 2019, and it is the right time to review some of the videos that gave us chills in Indiana USA during the course of the year. In no particular order
Liah B – Too Much
Liah B has been a dominant figure in the music scene since she released her BitterSweet E.P. This video is a testimony to how far she has come.
Mr. Duke ft. Camerudeboy – Body
A very good song and a matching concept for a video, but the one thing that was not on-point was the lighting. Most of the faces on the video were hardly recognizable. Take nothing away from it though.
Terrance Anderson – Don’t sleep
Very well scripted and directed. This video is one of my personal favorites, but yet very simple. He hardly moved an inch during the whole process.
Teeklef – Calling
Teeklef shoots his videos for the Ladies. He is once again in a world of his own spitting love lyrics to a pretty model. I may be correct to describe Teeklef as a nature lover, cos looking at what he has done in his previous videos, he employs the use of nature in most of them and it’s quite fascinating.
Mr. Icey – Shut down
I would consider this X-rated music video a game-changer in the African Videos Industry in Indianapolis. The video is shot in 4K quality with hot girls who are super sexy but half-naked. Mr. Icey seems to be having a lot of fun in these scenes. The visuals were shot in a popular club in Indianapolis.
Rilo – Loke
Rilo’s Loke was shot Downtown of Indianapolis, and it was worth the hype when it came out. The video quality is top-notch. Girls, expensive drinks, jewelry, cars, money, the kind of video that millennials would watch over and over.
Afrorolls – Alasiko
Another well scripted and well-directed video. Afrorolls interprets his beautiful Afrobeat song with a well-krafted video. The video stars the beautiful supermodel Joslin Robinson.
Teeklef – XO
Teeklef XO looks very similar to Calling in many respects but this time he chooses to go black and white. The visuals are still clean and deliver the message of the song.
If you have any videos that were not listed here, please comment on the post below.
The creative scene in Indianapolis is going through a phase. It is metamorphosizing into one of the biggest African markets in the United States of America as more and more talented creatives are finding avenues to express their art.
In 2016, I wrote about an exciting Author by the name Aderonke Moyinlorun and how her books were gaining her a lot of recognition and traction. I am happy to announce that today, Aderonke Moyinlorun has blossomed into a fine script writer and a bubbling movie producer.
Her debut movie “Dear husband” which was filmed some weeks ago is set for release. We were very privileged to get pictures on set while filming, and It is easy to tell from the pictures we got that this is one movie that we all should seriously anticipate.
Dear husband centers around Steve and Funmilola, a happily married couple who seem to be a match made in heaven until a past mistake, in form of an old flame, and pressure from friends tests their commitment to each other. Dear Husband tells a heart warming tale of love and how loss can bring about forgiveness.
Dear Husband premieres on the 1st of December at Georgetown cinema, Indianapolis Indiana USA, and an after party follows at Club Kalakutah.
Movie Title – Dear husband
Director – Bayo alawiye
Written by – Aderonke Moyinlorun
Producer – Aderonke Moyinlorun CAST
Teniola Makanaki sat down with Mazifeanyi and Uyoloconnects to discuss her music and life in general moments before destroying the stage at Club Kalakutah. In this Interview conducted by Uyoloconnects and Mazifeanyi, Teni speaks about her growth in the Industry so far and also gave us her impression about Indianapolis USA.
Asked about her impression about Indianapolis, Teni said “one thing i know for sure is Indianapolis has good Nigerian food courtesy kalakutah. All these other states don’t have… Big S/o to Clubkalakutah and Kalakutah restaurant, I have eaten good food today “.