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Entertainment of Monday, 25 September 2023


Mohbad: Cabals and gang rivalry in Nigerian music industry

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Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, better known as Mohbad, a prominent Nigerian musician, passed away unexpectedly, leaving many Nigerians to reflect on why an environment that is supposed to be all about making music, earning money, and leading a nice life can instead be sinister and plain evil.

The troubling discoveries from former record label signees that certain musicians have brought to light shine a bright light on the nation's music business.

The Nigerian music industry, according to some, is a game of competitiveness, dirty power, gang rivalry, shady transactions, and cultism that is readily apparent in the songs, attire, videos, lingo, and brotherly expressions of the singers.

Young musicians frequently find themselves at a crossroads when deciding whether to accept a deal with a record label in the intensely competitive market. This choice might either pave the road for success or result in a protracted and difficult journey.

Perhaps the tale of Mohbad serves as a lesson to emphasizing the value of cautious thought before making legally binding commitments.

The Nigerian musician Kizz Daniel, who had a falling out with his old record company G-Worldwide before leaving, stated in 2021 that the music industry is run like a cabal, and outsiders are typically left out.

Taking to his X account, he wrote: “Be calm and locate sense, for this is not an industry, it’s a cabal, who no belong will be long. I be Barnabas, I do it for the passion/love, and I’m fucking great at it”

After declaring his intention to leave the record company, Kizz Daniel engaged in a protracted court struggle that forced him to alter his stage name from Kiss Daniel to Kizz Daniel.

He was not found guilty of all the charges brought against him, though, and it is anticipated that the musician will one day reveal how he overcame his ordeal and is still a force in the business.

Additionally, Jude Okoye of Northside Record, the previous label head, and Nigerian artist Cynthia Morgan engaged in a court dispute that ultimately destroyed Morgan's career in music.

Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, also known as Vector, a Nigerian musician, once vented his annoyance on social media about his coworkers and business associates betraying him out of loyalty.

Following Mohbad's passing, singer-songwriter Temmie Ovwasa, also known as YBNL Princess, recently spoke up about the humiliation and alleged physical assault she endured at the hands of Olamide and his wife, Aisha Adebukunmi, who ran his old record company.

Harrysong, a singer whose real name is Harrison Tare Okiri, also spoke up about how E-money's record company, Five Star Music, tortured and abused him.

Veteran Nigerian musician Charles Oputa, also known as Charly Boy, claimed in an interview with Naija News that the music industry has improved in comparison to earlier decades while highlighting the fact that the cabal problem is not exclusive to the music industry.

He said: “It has gotten better in terms of earnings and the fact that what’s trending now globally is Nigeria music, people are now more aware of intellectual property, it is a growing industry, and thank God for other revenue streams.

“Yes, the cabal is not only in the music industry, it is also in all sectors. Cabals and bad people have taken over, and it is what happens when criminals are in power. And if you are joining a label, know what you are joining it for, if it doesn’t have positive influences and gains, then why bother because everything has consequences.”

Charly Boy said, "Decide to do your own thing. The average person knows what is good and bad and what can benefit the public. Diiscussing ways to navigate the complexities of the industry and what aspiring artists who find themselves at the crossroads of signing a contract with a record label should do, he said: “Decide to do your own thing an average person knows what is good and bad and what can benefit the public. Before signing into a record label, go with your eyes open and avoid forms of negativism. There were record labels in the past decade, but they were not run as it is today.”

The veteran singer expressed concern about the state of the music industry in the future given the current trends.

He said: “I fear o, fear dey catch me.”

Aspiring musicians should learn from Mohbad's experience and certain singers' conflicts with previous record labels in order to thoroughly research possible record firms.

Look at their track record of artiste's devotion and support, as well as their reputation in the industry and the experiences of any current or former signees.

To ensure a thorough grasp of conditions relating to record releases, contract duration, intellectual property ownership, royalties, and other restrictions, artistes must study every part of a contract before signing it and consult legal advice.