Chocolate City is one of the oldest record labels in Nigeria, founded in 2005 and owned by Audu Maikori, Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. It parades the following artistes: MI, Ice Prince, Femi Kuti, Jesse Jagz, Canadian-based Dice Ailes, Victoria Kimani, Koker, Nosa, Pryse, and Ruby Gyang, DJ Lambo and DJ Caise, Jesse Jags and MI and Chopstix. Chocolate City was the first music label to attain global music award and recognition by the British Council in 2007: ‘International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year’ (logbaby.com). The music group has MI as its president and Ice Prince, as vice president.
The Frustration and Decline As a Team
Chocolate City’s problem as a big and united music team started back in 2013 when the label’s vocal powerhouse, Brymo, left Chocolate City in annoyance claiming he had been cheated for years. Few months after the label’s most talented left to form his own record label-Jesse Jagz Nation. In what appeared to be a suspicious move, Ice Prince launched his own record label, Super Cool Cats in March, 2015.
MI is a respected Hip-hop artiste in Nigeria and has always been relevant. He dropped the album MI in 2008 and MI2 in 2010 with enjoyable songs as Action Film, Africa Rapper No 1, Undisputed Champion. He still very relevant till today in the Nigerian Hip-hop scene. Two years ago, he released The Chairman which ended up winning the ‘Best Rap Album’ at the Headies Awards in 2015. This album houses hit songs like Bad Belle, Bullion Van which had Phyno, Runtown and Stormrex on it and Monkey. It is important to note that the said album at a time was 2nd in 2015 when Olamide’s Street OT was Number 1 on iTunes world chart. MI started the year well with the release, in February, of Illegal Music III.
In 2013, Ice Prince Zamani released Fire of Zamani which contained hit songs like Aboki, Aboki remix, I swear, Gimme That and More. The continued growth of his stature in the music industry, had telecommunications company, Etisalat, renew Zamani’s endorsement deal with them in 2015. He is one of the biggest Nigerian Hip-hop stars till date.
Chocolate City management was desperate to build up a strong team once again in 2015. That year, they singed Koker, a Canadian-based artiste, Dice Alies and brought back Jesse Jagz. Probably, they thought Jesse’s comeback would save the label’s waning image. Koker released Do Something the same year: a kind of music totally different from the music brand Chocolate City stands for: Hip-hop. I think it was an attempt to diversify their brand but didn’t work. Koker released another song this year titled Kolewerk, a better song. Time will tell how far this song would go. Since the return of multi-talented Jesse Jagz, nothing much has been heard of him. Immediately he got back on the label, he released Jaga Love featuring Iceprince with a video to follow. I do not think the song has been successful so far. He appears to be faring better own his own. While away from Chocolate City, he released a very good album, Thy Nation Come Vol 1, which housed a popular hit track Bad Girl which features Afropop superstar, Wizkid.
One wonders why Chocolate City have limited achievements and results. More than half of a 14-member team are not doing well. Much more is expected from such a heavily populated team.
The Motion is a new song from DJ Lambo this new year. She features top female artistes: Cynthia Morgan, Seyi Shay and Eva- a nice jam. More may still come from Lambo in 2016. Let’s also wait and see Koker’s Kolewerk and Dice’s Machinery would be rated this year and years to come to help lift the hitherto low team-spirit of the Chocolate City.