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Mohbad: Cabals And Gang Rivalry In Nigerian Music Industry

Nigerian music

The sudden death of Nigerian singer, Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad, has left many Nigerians in a state of soul-searching on why the ecosystem assumed to be all about making music, money and living a good life can be dark and downright evil.

The unsettling revelations from former signees of record labels that have been brought to the forefront by some singers cast a stark spotlight on the country’s music industry.

Some people have claimed the Nigerian music industry is a game of competition, dirty power, gang rivalry, shady deals and cultism, which can be easily identified in musicians’ songs, dress, videos, slang, and fraternal phrases.

In the fiercely competitive industry, young artists often find themselves at the crossroads of a pivotal decision of signing a contract with a record label. This decision can either pave the way for success or lead to a long and challenging journey.

Perhaps the story of Mohbad serves as a cautionary tale highlighting the importance of careful consideration before entering into binding agreements.

In 2021, Nigerian singer, Kizz Daniel, who fought with his former record label G-Worldwide, before exiting, claimed that the music industry operates like a cabal, and those who don’t belong are usually sidelined.

He wrote on X, “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 f**king great at it”

Kizz Daniel had a tough legal battle after announcing a split from the record label, resulting in a name change from ‘Kiss Daniel to Kizz Daniel’.

However, he was not found guilty of all the crimes he was accused of, and it is hoped that one day, the singer will probably share how he survived and still stands firm in the industry.

Also, Nigerian singer, Cynthia Morgan had a legal battle with former label boss, Jude Okoye of Northside Record, which later ruined her music career.

Nigerian rapper, Olanrewaju Ogunmefun, popularly known as Vector, had once expressed his frustrations on social media about colleagues and industry players backstabbing him due to loyalty.

In the wake of Mohbad’s demise, singer and songwriter, Temmie Ovwasa, known as YBNL Princess, recently opened up about the humiliation and alleged physical assault suffered from his former record label boss, Olamide and his wife, Aisha Adebukunmi.

Singer, Harrison Tare Okiri, better known as Harrysong, also revealed how his former record label, Five Star Music, owned by E-money, tormented and bullied him.

In an interview with Favouritgist, veteran Nigerian singer, Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, said the music industry music has gotten better compared to previous decades, stressing the cabal issue is not only in 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.”

Speaking on 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, Charly Boy 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.”

With the current happenings in the music industry, the veteran singer expressed fear about what would become of it in the coming decades.

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

Mohbad’s experience and some singers’ battles with former record labels are invaluable lessons for aspiring artists to conduct thorough due diligence on potential record labels. Investigate their reputation within the industry, examine the experiences of current or former signees, and assess their track record of artist support and commitment.

Also, before putting pen to paper, artists must evaluate every aspect of a contract and seek legal counsel to ensure a comprehensive understanding of terms related to record releases, contract duration, intellectual property ownership, royalties, and potential restrictions.

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