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Seven Record Labels That Revolutionized Hip-hop In Nigeria - Music/Radio - Nairaland

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Seven Record Labels That Revolutionized Hip-hop In Nigeria by Bekwarra(m): 11:20am On Sep 04, 2019
The Nigerian hip-hop industry is one that has over the last three decades grown to become the biggest in Africa. The music industry in Nigeria from little beginnings moved with slow but assured steps to metamorphose into the biggest music industry on the continent. It now parades superstars of international repute like Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide and the defunct Psquare with dozens of hit tracks and international collaborations. To cement the status of the Nigerian music industry as the leader in Africa, Nigerian artistes have dominated awards on the continent in the last two decades.
All these would not have been possible without the sacrifices and the contributions of some record labels that changed the face of the Nigerian hip-hop cum music industry. Here we take a look at the record labels that revolutionized the music industry in Nigeria

[b]7. Trybe Records

Trybe records is a leading record label established in West Africa in 1999. The company has produced 23 artists to date and is one of the only record labels to have sold over 10 million albums in Nigeria. Trybe records was founded by Lanre “eLDee” Dabiri in 1998 as an independent record label for a new genre of music which has grown to become the most accepted form of contemporary music in Nigeria today. In 2011, Trybe Records was acquired by Iman Entertainment and is now part of the Iman Entertainment media group.

The company boasts of developing artists such as Trybesmen, Oladele, Dr Sid, Sasha, 2Shotz, eLDee, and many more. Trybe Records is currently home to eLDee, Aramide, Sarz, K9, Sojay, and Rukus.

6. EME

Empire Mates Entertainment (abbreviated as E.M.E) was a Nigerian record label founded by Banky W and Tunde Demuren in 2002. It was home to recording artists such as Wellington himself and Niyola. DJ Xclusive was the label’s official DJ. Wizkid, Skales and Shaydee were all formerly signed to the label.

EME Records used to be one of the most powerful record labels in Nigeria back then with a handful of talented acts signed under it. Trouble started between Wizkid and EME in 2012 after they had issues with the way funds is being shared between both parties including the manager. The issue was later resolved but not too long after, trouble started again in the camp which sees Wizkid finally exiting the Label. EME Records gradually started losing their shine until the label finally folded up after the Exit of Skales.


YBNL means Yahoo Boy No Laptop. It is a record label founded by ace rapper Olamide Adedeji in 2012 after he left Coded Tunes. The record label once boasted the likes of Lil Kesh, Viktoh, Chinko Ekun, Adekunle Gold, Xino and Lyta on its books. It currently boasts of the likes of Olamide, DJ Enimoney, Temmie Ovwasa, Picazo, Fireboy DML, Yomi Blaze.

4. Square Records

Square Records was formed by the legendary R&B duo of Peter and Paul Okoye popularly known as P-Square in the early 2000s along with their elder brother Jude ‘Engees’ Okoye. The now defunct record label propelled P-Square to an enviable position as one of the greatest ever music group in Africa with best-selling albums, innovative dance steps, numerous hit tracks and club bangers wowing the continent for over a decade.

3. Coded Tunes

Coded Tunes was founded in 2003 by legendary producer Olumide Ogunade, popularly known as ID Cabasa. He started out with the likes of 2Phat, Lord of Ajasa and MC Spako. Coded Tunes is credited with discovering artists like Olamide, 9ice, Gaise, AB1, Seriki, Kayefi and more.

2. Mo Hits Records
Mo’Hits Records was the biggest record label in Nigeria from the early 2000s to 2012. It was founded and owned by D’banj and Don Jazzy. Don Jazzy was the CEO/President of the label and D’banj was the Co-Owner. The label went on to sign other artists including Wande Coal, Dr SID, D’Prince and K-Switch. The label specialised in Afrobeat.

The first album released by the label was D’banj’s No Long Thing in 2005. Other albums are Rundown & The Entertainer (D’banj), Mushin2Mohits (Wande Coal) & Turning Point (Dr SID). The label has also released a compilation album called Mo’Hits All Stars along with many other singles from its artists which have proved to be national hits.

In March 2012, Don Jazzy confirmed using his Twitter account that D’banj had left the group. D’Banj’s reason for leaving was cited as difference in interests. Don Jazzy went on to establish another record label known as Mavin.

1. Kennis Music

Kennis Music were the real pioneers of the hiphop industry in Nigeria. The record label which once prided itself as the biggest in Africa was founded by Kenny ‘Keke’ Ogungbe in the late 90s. The record label once has on its cards many of the biggest artistes Nigeria has ever produced. These artistes pioneered the new school sound in Nigeria and some of them include K.C. Presh, OJB Jezreel, Mike Aremu, Tony Tetuila, Bola Abimbola, Capital Femi, 2face, BANTU, Goldie Harvey, Baba Dee, Sound Sultan, Kenny Saint Brown, Essence, Fiokee, Vip, Jaywon, Mzbel, Sir Shina Peters, eLDee, Oladele Delux and Don Akingbo. Current artists signed to the label include, Eedris Abdulkareem,Joe EL, Via Oluwa Burna, Tizzy.


Chocolate City, Stormz Records,Soul Muzik, Knighthouse.[/b]

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