Monday, May 31, 2010



The 2010 edition of what has grown to become a constant in the Nigerian musical and entertainment calendar, THE HIP HOP WORLD AWARDS, held on Saturday, May 29, 2010 at the new Exhibition Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

It was a generally successfull outing and apart from a few regular hitches and glitches, guests, nominees and the general public had a very enjoyable show. The MO HITS crew were the highest winners of the evening as Wande Coal carted home five out of the 18 competitive categories of the awards and Don Jazzy got the Producer of the Year. New kids on the block, SKUKI, a group of two brothers, Peeshaun and Vavavoom won the highly rated NEXT RATED and drove home the brand new KIA OPTIMA. MTN, the headline sponsors of the event presented a BLACKBERRY CURVE to every category. So Wande Coal got five new BLACKBERRYs.

The organisers of the event, Ayo Animashaun's SMOOTH PROMOTIONS, experiemented in some areas. There was no official host or usherrettes at the show. Presenters carried the reported 21 Carat Gold plaque (HEADIE) themselves and some of them loudly complained about the enormous weight of the beautiful piece. The event also started very late - 11:10pm, a massive three hours past the advertised time of 8pm and ended at about 3am the next day. I believe the issue of time should be seriously addressed in all events in this country so that we can expunge the demons of African, Nigerian or whatever time.

Some very spectacular and memorable perfomances were recorded by Obiwon, Wande Coal and General Pype who drove in with a Tricycle (Keke). Here are the winners. Pictures will follow soon.


Producer(s): Don Jazzy
Record Label: Mo’Hits Records


Album: Least Expected
Producer: Dekumzy
Record Label: Ape Planet

Artist – Timi Dakolo
Producer – Cobhams Asuquo

Album/Song Title – “Banana”, “U Bad”
Artist – Wande Coal

Video – “Finest”
Artist – Knight House Ft. Sauce Kid & Teeto

Artist – Banky W
Producer – Cobhams Asuquo

Artist – Wande Coal
Producer – Don Jazzy

Artist- Wande Coal
Producer - Don Jazzy

“SAMPLE Remix”
Artists – Terry Tha Rapman Ft. Stereo Man & Pherowshuz
Producer – Pherowshuz

Artist – Dagrin
Producers – Sossick, T-Frizzle, Dokta Frabz, Sarz
Record Label - Missofunyin Entertainment

Song – Bad Man
Album – Da Vinci Mode
Record Label – Red Eye Music

Artists – Kefee Ft. Timaya
Producer – K Solo

Song Title - “NO STARS
Producer- Cobhams

Producer – Wole Oni

Artist– Terry G

Song Title – “BANGER”



Sunday, May 30, 2010


On Saturday, May 22, 2010, the people of Umuchioma in Umuduru, Isiala Mbano LGA, Imo State witnessed one of the most exciting days of the year. Nollywood A-List actor, Mike Ezuruonye was joined in traditional matrimony with his Canada-based lover, Nkechi Nnorom. His colleagues in the entertainment industry thronged the place to witness the event. Here are pictures as taken by ENCOMIUM MAGAZINE's Photo journalist, Godwin Onyemaechi.

with INI EDO

with Desmond Elliot

Mike and his mom

Mike and his brothers



MERCY JOHNSON terrorized the kids

even while sitting

even this too


Meet the Usherettes



Monday, May 17, 2010


I had this conversation with Timaya a few days after DaGrin’s death.

Timaya: See as everybody no happy say DaGrin die and even all of una wey be pressmen follow dey vex say DaGrin die. I no know say una like us like this o! (He laughs).
Me: You been expect say we go happy?

Timaya: I know say una for happy if to say na me die.

Me: Why you go talk like that?

Timaya: With all the things wey una dey write about me una no go happy say make I die?

That got me thinking. Why would Timaya think such? Is there anybody that would take pleasure in the death of a fellow human being? And would any music reporter in Nigeria be happy that any of the musicians in the country at the moment, who have successfully evolved this genre of entertainment into a lucrative and respectable business venture, exit abruptly without completing his or her part in the industry? Who would be happy that a young man in his prime should die so suddenly and whose fault is it that Timaya should think like this?
One of the universal truths of journalism is that every paper or magazine is out to sell or promote a cause and if you won’t help in doing these, they won’t write about you. Timaya had earlier portrayed the image of a careless, carefree, no-respecter-of-persons kind of guy when he successfully entered the Nigerian music industry. He only spoke his mind or whatever he found in it and gave anyone that came close a dose of his conceited self. So while his music attracted him fans, his person repulsed them as he confused his lyrical militant persona with his person.
But would you blame him? Just checkout his background: He is one of the numerous children in a poor family from a highly wronged zone of the country; had very limited education and suddenly coming into instant wealth and fame. Who was there to control and direct him? He had everything he wanted and could do as he liked but he survived. He survived that dangerous period of initial wealth and fame and even when he is not on top of the music chain, he is still a very relevant Nigerian musician and has the chance of always reclaiming top spot depending on his subsequent musical outputs.
That being a given, we go back to DaGrin. Frenzy (Emmanuel Okafor), the producer of his now much talked about track, “If I Die,” took it further when he said that: “Most of us (musicians) are from the streets and our talents come from there. We are not all from well organized homes and if you take away the street in us, you also kill the talent. The white man knows this that’s why when he gets talented footballers from this part of the world, they watch over them carefully. We mostly don’t have that system here.” He went on to blame DaGrin’s management for not looking after him very well.
DaGrin was from the streets. You could hear this in his songs and his beautiful video for his single, “Pon Pon Pon,” and his life also reflected this. He is one of nine children. His father is a music records retailer and equipment hirer. His mother is a petty trader. He quit education after secondary school and everyone knows that the computer school is largely a skill acquisition centre rather that a formal school. He has struggled in the industry releasing his debut album, STILL ON THE MATTER, in 2006 without any commercial success but he stayed the course and when people termed him local, he stayed focused and now that his name is spreading like staphylococcus; just as his first whiff of success blew, he was whipped away by it. Who in this world would be happy at that?
Others had survived. 2face survived. When they weren’t shooting or robbing him, he was busy getting people’s daughters pregnant and today he has five children and counting. But he has survived. He is still there today and we happily call him 2baba and are expectantly waiting for his next album. Wande Coal survived it. In 2008, when the folks at the Hip Hop World Awards gave him a car, he immediately went on rampage and almost killed himself. But for the grace of God we would have been left without a young man of his unique vocal talent. Today, his management never lets him out of their sight and no matter what he smokes or drinks or who he sleeps with; we still have him with us and are eagerly awaiting his next album. Durella was literally placed under house arrest by TC Records, his parent record label, because immediately after he won the $50, 000 at the MTV Base/ Zain Advance Warning in 2006, he went haywire. He began “Shayoing” everywhere according to his hit track “Shayo” until his management recognized the dangers and placed an outing embargo on him. He now drinks at home and is almost ready with his next album. Terry G the Intellectual Madman was also a big case. He was at the club every weekend and enmeshed in one controversy or the other (he is still in most of them) when he first saw money. But he has survived and we are happily writing him into maturity and he will one day be a very strong reference point in the development of contemporary Nigerian musical sounds. We don’t really want to go far back, but while Majek Fashek is now a ghost of his “Rainmaking” self, he is still alive and still bears his name.
This is DaGrin’s turn to shine. The streets, the majority shareholders of the Nigerian musical Stock
 Market are feeling him. His language was low but epic and his rhyme scheme in Yoruba would standout in any language of the world. He has just joined the A-List of Nigerian musicians. No big show takes place in the country now without his name among the headliners. But his stay was very short, hence the amount of grief at his death.
The music reporter in this era would feel no little grief in losing such a talent a DaGrin’s. This is a period when the music bug has bitten all (both young and old) and we are at crossroads trying to sift the wheat from the chaff among the rough music mass presented us in Nigeria. There are so many musical nonentities on the scene that we should have no business writing about so when we lose a genuine musical subject, we are sad. We grieve because we have lost someone we would rather write about than so many other pretenders scattered all over the Nigerian musical terrain.
As mentioned earlier, all publications are out to sell or attract readers and customers. To this we write about people that other people would love to read about and when you only portray yourself in the negative light while in the public eye, we have no other choice than to embellish and make you juicier to our readers. If you are in the public eye and carry yourself honourably, we shall promote you but if you make a fool of yourself, we shall only present you in more attractive motley.
POSTSCRIPT: As music has become a respectable and lucrative profession in Nigeria, our music stars should control themselves. If not, you will only have a big black carnival escort you home and in the process, give we music and entertainment reporters sleepless nights as against a lifetime of wealth, fame and popularity. We are not happy when a good musician dies or sends away his wife and young son anytime near the weekend because by then, we would have submitted all our columns and stories and on our way to a weekend of fun only for our various editors to call us back to the office to write a befitting farewell to your marriage or musical careers. All those managing a musician should look to them and those who don’t have managers should go find one. Every musician should be careful about what he or she does and should always take their fans and the reporters who write about them into consideration in whatever they do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


After an impressive outing at this year’s inaugural edition of the GULDER ULTIMATE SEARCH CELEBRITY SHOWDOWN, Afrotastic singer, Muma Gee, has immediately returned to her musical career. She had completed work on her album, THE WOMAN IN QUESTION and even held a launch for it at the NITESHIFT COLISEUM, Ikeja, Lagos, before embarking on the once-in-a lifetime experience of the Celebrity GULDER ULTIMATE SEARCH.

On Monday, May 3, 2010, after she was officially evicted from the show, she instructed her marketer, IYKE DE DON, to start pushing out units of her new album, her third, THE WOMAN IN QUESTION into the market. Each unit, beautifully packaged in a yellow CD jacket, contains an 18-track audio CD and a five-track Video CD. Some of the songs are “Accra Boy” featuring VIP of Ghana, “Girl Power” featuring Frenzy and also produced by him, “Joli” which Terry G produced and also featured in, “Scream” was produced by Cobhams Asuquo and “African Woman” is a collabo with Batman Samini of Ghana.

The album is actively themed to reflect the African Woman and her position in both the lives of her family and the society. It comes out under Muma Gee’s own label, MGEE RECORDS. Muma Gee would also embark on a local and African tour tagged, THE WOMAN

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Kenny Ogungbe is the front man of Kennis Music and Primetime Africa. They have contributed a lot to the development of the present Nigerian Music Industry.  I spent some hours with him recently. Excerpts...

Getting to talk to Kennis Music boss, Keke Ogungbe, was never a big problem because he always made himself accessible to people. So, on the Tuesday, March 9, 2010, realizing that this year's edition of the Kennis Music Easter Fiesta was almost with us, I paid him a visit at their office inside Magodo GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
Jaywon was about rounding off the shoot of the video of his song, “Gbon Gbon”, and Keke and his long time partner, D-One, were going to make a comeo appearance in it for the intro part. So, we waited while DJ Tee got that out of the way and then proceeded upstairs to his office to talk there.
It was only natural that we go back to the beginning. This led to the story of his return from the United States and the unquantifiable contributions of his brother-in-law, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi to his life.
He was working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the Nigerian equivalent of ICAN in California, USA when Dokpesi invited him to come back to Nigeria and test the waters.
“He told me to come to Nigeria for a couple of weeks and see what is happening and if I didn't like it, I was free to go back. I thought he was joking,” he said with a smile. “So, I said send me a ticket!” The next morning I got a telegram asking me to collect my first class KLM Airlines ticket at the nearest collection point to me.” At that time, 1991 or 1992 (Keke wasn't sure), Dokpesi, had just got married to his sister and he had never ridden first class before. When he landed at the airport, Dokpesi swept him off his feet by coming to meet him at the airport in a brand new black Mercedes 560 SEL. “He told me, welcome to your father's land, I just want to make sure you are okay.”
Dokpesi further gave him a car and set him up in a new house in Ajao Estate, Lagos (Keke still lives in Ajao till today).

Keke didn't return to the US. Dokpesi then ventured into politics and Keke became his campaign manager. Their first port of call was Dokpesi for Senate, where Dokpesi was NRC's flagbearer in Edo Senatorial District under General Ibrahim Babangida's Option A4. “I stayed for about nine months,” Keke said and we worked so hard and campaigned through all the local governments from Okpekpe to Owan East in that area and West, Akoko Edo, Etsako East, North, West and Central, but we lost. We lost to Lagoke of the SDP who went on to become the Deputy Senate President. Dokpesi had previously worked as Bamanga Tukur's campaign manager. They called me “Head checker” then because every penny went through me. If you don't get my approval, you don't get a penny. That was how much trust he had in me.”
It was after Dokpesi's failed senatorial bid that they went for Dokpesi for President, still under the NRC. They passed through the ward, local government and council till the NRC National Convention where Alhaji Ibrahim Tofa eventually emerged victorious.

After the loss, Daar Communications followed and up came Kennis Music. This is their 12th anniversary and part of the celebrations would be the forthcoming Kennis Music Annual Easter Fiesta. But before talking more about that, we got talking about the numerous artists who have passed through Kennis Music.
Keke listed as many as he could remember and there were names like Kunle Ajayi, their first artist, Tony Tetuila, Remedies, Onyeka Onwenu, Kenny Saint Brown (his sister), Kingsley Ike, Mike Aremu, Paul I.K Dairo, Lagbaja, Wale Thompson, 2Face Idibia, Essence, KC Presh, Sound Sultan, Olu Maintain and Baba Dee. The present ones are KSB and Essence, plus Eedris Abdulkareem who is returning, then Star Quest winners, Diamonds and The Pulse, then comedian Gbenga Adeyinka's returnee brother, Femi and Jaywon who was discovered at last year's Kennis Music Easter Fiesta and Keke is very excited about the young man's prospects. “We met him at the beach version of last year's fiesta at Kuramo and between that time and now, he has become a household name in the Nigerian music industry. He won an award as the best new artist before even releasing his album. Nobody on our record has ever won that award at that stage. His album is also doing very well in the market.
“Till date, 2010, Kennis Music has released about 57 albums and all these albums were produced, recorded, released, marketed and promoted by us,” Keke boasted.
“That's why we are one of the biggest in Africa. We release an average of five albums per year and this year we have already released KSB's Turn Around, we would be releasing Essence's Essentially Essence, which contains collabo with Timaya. The Pulse's album is ready, Eedris Abdulakareem's album, Unfinished Business is ready and we are even trying to reduce the number of tracks on it. Once those ones are out, we will move over to Femi Adeyinka to bring the albums released by Kennis Music to around 70. So, tell me if we have not tried?
“We don't need to say that we will revolutionize the music industry anymore. Just visit the various hotspots of Lagos and see if you will not hear us.”

When Eedris first released his single, “Calabar Girl,” many were confused when he said he featured Keke Ogungbe. But make no mistake about it, Keke is really very serious about making a showing as an artist.
“I am an upcoming artist and many would have seen me in the video. I listen to producers and they tell me when to raise my voice or reduce my tone. I listen and I've got my album coming out soon.”

Except for the seven current artists on the Kennis Music imprint, every other person has left and we asked him about this.
“Most of the artists I work with are not known when I work with them, that's why they work with me. Because by the time they do that, they will be known. Right now, I'm pushing Jaywon. Last year, he was not known and even before him was Kelly Hansome who was also not known until we started pushing his song.
“Even his song itself was controversial, but we just felt it was a feel-good song while some people over celebrated it. I have no regrets. Nobody knows these people when we start up with them and nobody talks about the contributions we make to the lives and careers of these people, but when they start selling one million records, they suddenly become big and Kennis becomes the one cheating them. They don't remember when Kennis was spending their money and facilities on them and all of a sudden you would hear them wanting to leave. Here, we try not to join issues with anybody because we know what we want. When we work with you, our job is to take you from nowhere and put you at the number one spot.
“We have always done that and will keep doing that. The minute you decide not to work with us anymore, we cannot force you to stay. For every artist that wants to leave, we have impacted on his life, because when he came, he was not there and by the time he is leaving, someone else would come up for us to take to the number one spot again. No artist reigns forever.”
The only exceptions in this instance are The Remedies who broke up and still stayed with Kennis Music individually and most recently, Kelly Hansome. Looking at Keke's demeanour when talking about the young, you'll notice disappointment.
Here was a young man he brought back into the country, released his songs, housed him, shot his videos and what he gets in the end is unwanted publicity as a result of the young man's actions.
Kelly has a contract to release three albums under Kennis Music, only one has been done and Kenny categorically stated that Kelly Hansome can never release any album anywhere in the world without first settling with Kennis Music. “If anybody wants to sign, he must talk to Kennis Music. Any other record label that does not want to lose money or their fingers to be burnt, should call Kennis Music. My lawyers have not worked in a long time and I've been paying yearly retainership and they are ready to work this year to make sure that our rights are not trampled upon.”

The former superstar has gone back to his roots, Kennis Music, in a bid to resuscitate his career and Keke is also excited about him. “He is coming with his usual danceable conscious lyrics. He always grows on people. I know him and I know his music and I can push Eedris,” he said assuredly.
When asked about Eedris' background and his volatile record, he explained that Eedris is one of the best Nigerians because he speaks his mind. He's straightforward and much older now with a family.”

It will be used to also celebrate Kennis Music's 12th anniversary. It will be live on AIT, BEN TV (UK), Raypower and on the web. It is a talent discovery look out and since Jaywon, who was discovered last year has done very well, they are on the look out for a female version. Any female that can work the crowd, would come on board the Kennis Music ship. This year's edition would be held at the Lagos Oriental Hotel on Good Friday, April 2, 2010.
The best of Nigerian musicians as well as upcoming ones would be on parade. This led to the issue of live and CD performances in Nigeria and Keke had this to say about it. “Nigerians should wake up to the reality that the way music is done now is different from the way it was done in the past and would be different from how it would be performed in future. Those that believe in live band performance should not put down those that perform with CDs. Hip hop is based on CD performances. Many artists can't afford to keep a band and yet, that is why they keep CDs and most even have performance CDs. Anybody out there saying that they don't know what they are doing is ignorant.
“Most artists are willing to keep bands and would do that when they got the money to maintain a band
“At the Kennis Music Easter Fiesta this year, we would be using the CD and the band together. We have the Kennis Music band which is the fusion of The Pulse and Diamonds. They will combine with our in house DJ, Vinnie, to provide sounds at Oriental Hotel. But at the beach, which is a party zone, the job would be done with the CD. This is my own view and anybody can like it or hate it,” he concluded.