Chocolate City (record label)

Chocolate City is a Nigerian record label founded in 2005 by lawyer Audu Maikori, Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. Generally regarded as one of the most successful indigenous urban record labels in Africa,[1] Chocolate City operates as a subsidiary of Chocolate City Group. Other arms of the group include Chocolate City Distribution, Chocolate City Events, CCX, and Chocolate City Media.[2] On 28 March 2019, Warner Music Group announced a partnership with the label. Under the partnership, Chocolate City artists will join WMG's repertoire and receive the support of the company's distribution and artist services via its independent label services division, ADA.[3]

Chocolate City
IndustryEntertainment, media, music
Founded2005
FoundersAudu Maikori, Paul Okeugo, Yahaya Maikori
HeadquartersLagos, Abuja, Nairobi, New York City
Key people
ParentChocolate City Group
Websitechocolatecitymusic.com

The label has been home to recording artists such as M.I Abaga, Femi Kuti, Nosa, Dice Ailes, Blaqbonez, ClassiQ, CKay, Candy Bleakz,[4] Torna and Dijay Cinch.[5] Artists formerly signed to the label include Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, DJ Lambo, Jeremiah Gyang, Ruby Gyang, Pryse, Brymo, Koker, Jesse Jagz, Lemon Adisa, Mr. Gbafun, Ijay, and Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari. Chocolate City has also worked on the careers of artistes such as Djinee and Asa. In 2012, business mogul and philanthropist Hakeem Bello-Osagie joined the board of Chocolate City Group as its chairman. Chocolate City's influence on the evolution of the Nigerian music industry has been documented by Reuters International. The label is currently headed by Mr Abuchi Peter Ugwu, who took over from M.I Abaga.

History edit

Founded as a nightclub in 1997, Chocolate City quickly became the number one promotions outfit in the Northern part of Nigeria[citation needed] and moved into the industry mainstream in 2005 with the launch of the record label (Chocolate City Music). In 2001, Audu Maikori and Paul Okeugo founded the Guild of Artistes and Poets which was called an "arts appreciation society" which held weekly meetings which focused on the arts, music, poetry and creativity as a means of youth engagement and empowerment.[citation needed]

Under the leadership of MI, Chocolate City expanded by creating sub labels that included 100 Crowns which discovered and signed Blaqbonez and UpNorth Records which signed Classiq and Dijay Cinch, had its first ever press conference where every artiste were present to answer questions from members of the press. The press conference was planned to be on a monthly basis, but it only had been held once[6]

In March 2019, Chocolate City signed a worldwide distribution deal with Warner Music Group.[7]

G.A.P edit

The G.A.P later became one of the new age art renaissance movements which quickly gained membership in Jos, Abuja, and Lagos with a combined membership of over 3000 attendees at its peak. The GAP brought to light the need for artists to have better representation, which Audu gave in the form of pro bono legal services, and this eventually led to his registering Chocolate CIty with his bonus earnings from his job as a lawyer with the chambers of Afe Babalola and co. The first act to be signed to the Chocolate City label was multi talented instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer Jeremiah Gyang (whose debut album Na BA KA sold over 4 Million copies and won numerous accolades and acclaim for the artist as well as the label).[citation needed]

Na Ba Ka was known for its instrumentals which was studied by a Canadian University on Sound Engineering and Production and was even listed on the top ten charts in Israel between 2005 and 2006.[citation needed]

Chocolate City went on to discover and manage the careers of Djinee, M.I, Aṣa, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Brymo and other artists who have won over 70 awards both locally and internationally.[citation needed]

In June 2007, Audu Maikori won the British award the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) by the British Council, making Nigeria the first country to win two global awards in the Young Creative Entrepreneurs Series (the first was Lanre Lawal (IYDEY) 2005), after beating nine countries including the Philippines, Latvia, Lithuania, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Tanzania, Egypt and Poland.[8]

Accolades edit

Chocolate City was the first Nigerian music company to attain a global music award and recognition by the British Council in 2007: International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) 2007.[8]

Chocolate City has since worked closely with the federal government of Nigeria as well as several international organisations such as the British Council in promoting the creative industries as well as capacity-building projects in and around Nigeria. In April 2008, Chocolate City announced a major collaborative effort in partnership with the British Council and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to take a delegation of Nigerian music stakeholders to London Calling 2008 in a bid to open new vistas for the fast-growing Nigerian music industry currently valued at around $500 Million (2007). The 40-man delegation was led by the Minister of Culture and Tourism.[9]

Chocolate City has also been active in the promotion of the Creative industries globally, having participated in several workshops and initiatives. In January 2008, Chocolate City delivered a keynote address on a workshop tagged "Mapping the Creative Industries in Albania" organised by the British Council, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ministry of Economy, Albania. The workshop was aimed at sharing experiences of creative entrepreneurs from around Europe, the UK and Nigeria.

Reuters International produced a documentary on the Chocolate City success story tagged "Music and Money" in recognition of its contributions to the development of the Nigerian music industry.[8]

Over the years, Chocolate City has set up partnerships with many international and regional creative industry organisations, with affiliates in South Africa, U.K. and the US, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the British Council toward promoting and celebrating creativity in Nigeria.[9]

On 8 December 2011, parent company Chocolate City Group won the African Awards for Entrepreneurship, beating over 3,300 applicants from 48 countries in Africa to clinch the runner-up prize, thereby making history as the first entertainment company to win the prize since 2007.[10]

Chocolate City won the "Best Record Label of the Year" award in both 2013 & 2015 at the City People Entertainment Awards.[11] At the 2011 edition of the aforementioned awards, the record label won the "Record Label of the Year" award.[12]

In April 2015, Maikori stepped down after 10 years of piloting the affairs of the label and appointed M.I. to take over as the CEO of Chocolate City Music label while Ice Prince became the Vice President of Music for the label [13][14]

Maikori assumed the position of Group CEO of Chocolate City Group, which comprised Chocolate City Music (Record Label), Chocolate City Media, CCX Lounge (live music venue franchise), Bean Agency (an experiential marketing company) and Replete Publishing (A music publishing and distribution company). Paul Okeugo was also appointed Group COO for the group.

In October 2019 M.I Abaga stepped down as CEO of Chocolate City Music. Aibee Abidoye was subsequently promoted to Executive Vice President for Chocolate City Group - her portfolio includes Music licensing, distribution and artist projects. On 19 April 2021, Abuchi Ugwu, a long time manager of M.I Abaga, sound engineer and producer, was appointed as substantive CEO of Chocolate City Music Ltd.

Awards and nominations edit

Artist roster edit

Management edit

Act Year signed
Femi Kuti 2014[15]

Current artists edit

Act Year signed Releases
under the
label
Ref
Nosa 2012 1 [16]
Dice Ailes 2014 [17]
Ruby Gyang 2015 1 [18]
Ckay 2016 1 [19]
Yung L 2017 1 [20]
ClassiQ 2019 [21]
Blaqbonez 1 [21]
Candy Bleakz 1 [21]
Young Jonn 2022 1 [22]
Noon Dave 2022 2
Major AJ 2022 1

Former artists edit

Act Year
signed
Year
left
Album Releases
under the
label
Ref
Jeremiah Gyang 2005 2010 1 [23]
M.I 2008 2020 8 [24]
Jesse Jagz 2010 2013 1 [25]
2015 2017 [26]
Ice Prince 2010 2016 [note 1] 3 [28]
Brymo 2010 2013 1 [29][30]
DJ Caise 2011 2017 [note 2] 0 [32]
Pryse 2012 2016 0 [33][34]
Victoria Kimani 2012 2017 2 [35][36]
Milli 2015 2016 0 [37]
Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari 2015 2016 0 [27]
Koker 2015 2018 0 [38]
DJ Lambo 2015 2019 0 [39]
Ckay
Nosa

Discography edit

Year Information Ref
2005 Jeremiah Gyang - Na Ba Ka
  • Released: May 2005
  • Singles: "Na Ba Ka", "Wakar Najeriya", "Gonna Be", "Kasi Tala", "Ban Da Kai"
2008 M.I - Talk About It
  • Released: 11 December 2008
  • Singles: "Safe", "Anoti", "Money", "Teaser", "Crowd Mentality", "Blaze", "Short Black Boy", "Talk About It"
2010 Jesse Jagz - Jag of All Tradez
  • Released: 20 April 2010
  • Singles: "Wetin Dey", "Nobody Test Me", "Love You", "Pump it Up"
M.I - MI 2
  • Released: 23 November 2010
  • Singles: "Action Film", "Beef", "Undisputed", "Nobody"
2011 Ice Prince - Everybody Loves Ice Prince
2012 Brymo - The Son of a Kapenta
  • Released: 15 November 2012
  • Singles: "Ara", "Good Morning", "Go Hard"
2013 Victoria Kimani - Queen Victoria
  • Released:14 October 2013
  • Singles:
Ice Prince - Fire of Zamani
  • Released:28 October 2013
  • Singles:"I Swear", "Gimme Dat", "More", "Aboki"
2014 Nosa - Open Doors
  • Released:14 March 2014
  • Singles:"Always Pray for You", "Why You Love Me"
M.I - The Chairman
  • Released: 30 October 2014
  • Singles: "Bad Belle", "Monkey", "Bullion Van"
  • Sales certification: 30,000 in pre-order sales
2015 Ice Prince - Trash Can
  • Released: 29 January 2015
  • Singles: "Marry You"
Chocolate City - The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation
  • Released: 30 April 2015
  • Singles: "Summer Time", "Suite 99"
2016 Ruby Gyang - This is Love
  • Released: 29 February 2016
  • Singles:"Shakara", "Good Man"
M.I - Illegal Music 3
  • Released: 29 February 2016
  • Singles:"Everything I Have Seen"
Victoria Kimani - Safari
  • Released: 5 December 2016
  • Singles:"Gota", "Giving You"
2017 Yung L - Better Late Than Never
  • Released: 13 October 2017
  • Singles:"Gbewa", "Anya", "Pressure"
2018 M.I - Rendezvous
  • Released: 9 February 2018
  • Singles:"Your Father", "Lekki"
[40]
M.I - A Study on Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl
  • Released: 24 August 2018
  • Singles:"You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives"
[41]
Blaqbonez- Bad Boy Blaq
  • Released: 31 October 2018
  • Singles: "Mamiwota" feat Oxlade
2019 CKay - CKay the First (EP)
  • Released: 30 August 2019
  • Singles: "Way"
[42]
Street Billionaires - Street Born (EP)
  • Released: 27 September 2019
  • Singles: "Yoruba Ni Mi"[43]
[44]

Blaqbonez- Bad Boy Blaq (re-up)

  • Released: 8 Feb 2019

Blaqbonez - Mr. Boombastic

  • Released: 25 October 2019
  • Singles: "Shut Up", Mr. Boombastic

Blaqbonez- Young Preacher

  • Released: 28 October 2022
  • Singles: Back in Uni
[45]
Nosa- Na Your Way
Candy Bleakz

Singles- Owo Osu feat Zlatan, Naira Marley Released: 31 May 2019 Virus

2020 MI Abaga- The Live Report (EP)
  • Released: 15 April 2020

African Knockout

  • Released: 23 October 2020
Nosa
  • Singles

-Dry Bones (13 March 2020)

- If God Be For Me (1 May 2020)

CkayLove Nwantintin remix (feat Joeboy, Kuami Eugene)
Candy Bleakz

Kelegbe (17 April 2020) Won La (11 September 2020)

2021 MI AbagaSinglesTBDK (19 March 2021)All My Life (4 June 2021)
Blaqbonez- Sex Over Love
  • Released: 30 April 2021
  • Singles: Bling
Candy Bleakz-

Singles Kope (19 March 2021)Baba Nla feat Teni (27 May 2021)

2022 Young Jonn-

Singles

  • Dada
  • Dada Remix feat Davido (28 April 2022)
  • Normally
  • Xtra Cool

EP

  • Love Is Not Enough
  • Love Is Not Enough Vol 2
Candy Bleakz

Tikuku (single)- Released 29 April 2022 FIRE EP - Released 24 June 2022

Notes edit

  1. ^ Although Ice Prince's contract expired in 2013, he didn't publicly announce his exit from the label until 2016.[27]
  2. ^ While announcing his exit from Chocolate City, DJ Caise revealed that his deal with the label was basically a joint venture.[31]

References edit

  1. ^ Anani, Vincent. "Chocolate City vs. Mavin Records: which label rules the Nigerian Music Industry?". www.thesparkng.com. Vanguard Spark. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Services - Chocolate City Group". Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Warner Music Group Announces Partnership with Nigerian Label Chocolate City | Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Candy Bleakz - Dawn of A New Rage". Aura Magazine. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  5. ^ Akan, Joey. "Chocolate City Record label merges with Loopy Music". Pulse.NG. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Chocolate City's Tete-a-Tete With The Media - Tush Magazine". Tush Magazine. 29 September 2015. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Warner Music Group Announces Partnership with Nigerian Label Chocolate City | Billboard". Billboard. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "Music and money (6:44)". Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Corporate". chocolatecitygroup. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Chocolate City emerges Africa's No 1 Entertainment". vanguardngr.com. 3 December 2011.
  11. ^ Aiki, Damilare (19 June 2013). "Ice Prince, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Sarkodie, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Yvonne Okoro, Tonto Dikeh & BellaNaija Nominated for the 2013 City People Entertainment Awards -See the Full List". Bellanaija. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  12. ^ "BN Bytes: M.I, JahBless, Tiwa Savage, Juliet Ibrahim, Mbong Amata, Samkelf & Halima Abubakar win at the 2011 City People Entertainment Awards". Bellanaija. 8 August 2011. Archived from the original on 20 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  13. ^ "M.I Becomes Chocolate City CEO". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  14. ^ "New Chocolate City CEO and Vice President". Ola Peter. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Nigeria: Chocolate City Signs Femi Kuti". allAfrica.com. This Day. 9 November 2014. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  16. ^ Osagie Alonge (25 August 2015). "Chocolate City signs R&B singer Nosa". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  17. ^ Itzea, Netzayet (4 September 2014). "Watch Chocolate City's Newest Signee Dice Ailes' Video For 'Yemisi'". OkayAfrica. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Power Move!! M.I's Loopy Records in Merger with Chocolate City!". Hype Station. 28 April 2015. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Chocolate City Music Signs Multi-talented Artiste, Producer and Songwriter Ckay". BellaNaija. 1 September 2016. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  20. ^ Idoko Salihu (4 May 2017). "Chocolate City Music signs Yung L". Premium Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b c Lawani, Tolulope (28 March 2019). "Chocolate City signs partnership deal with Warner Music". The Cable Lifestyle. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Homepage". Chocolatecity Music. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  23. ^ "No producer wants a penniless musician – Jeremiah Gyang". Punch. 14 July 2017. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  24. ^ Motolani Alake (6 March 2020). "Watch MI Abaga announce his exit from Chocolate City [Video]". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  25. ^ Showemimo, Dayo (8 April 2015). "3 years after exit, Jesse Jagz returns to Chocolate City". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Why I left Chocolate City – Jesse Jagz". The Punch. 16 July 2017. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Here are 6 artistes who left label in one year". Pulse Nigeria. 10 July 2016. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  28. ^ Anazia, Daniel (21 May 2016). "Ice Prince floats own record label, confirm split with Chocolate City". Guardian Life. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  29. ^ Olonilua, Ademola (5 May 2012). "Dad was furious about my choice of career – Brymo, Arambe exponent". The Punch. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  30. ^ Ezeamalu, Ben (24 September 2016). "Chocolate City battles Brymo, says N20 million invested on artiste yielded below N3 million". Premium Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  31. ^ Temitope Delano (2 February 2017). "I Am No Longer With Chocolate City – DJ Caise". TooXclusive. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  32. ^ "DJ Caise leaves Chocolate City, has the label lost its spark?". African Music Law. 3 February 2017. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  33. ^ Collins, Tadeniawo (24 February 2012). "Chocolate City Signs First Female Rapper Pryse". Nigeria Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  34. ^ Adelana, Oludolapo (2 October 2016). "Another artiste, Pryse leaves Chocolate City". YNaija. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  35. ^ "Chocolate City signs Kenya's Victoria Kimani". P.M News. 2 December 2012. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  36. ^ Abubukar, Murtala (19 March 2017). "Victoria Kimani confirms Chocolate City exit". The Cable Lifestyle. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Rapper addresses split from Chocolate City". Pulse Nigeria. 6 April 2016. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  38. ^ Olatujoye, Moroti (9 August 2018). "Koker Leaves Chocolate City". Osun Defender. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  39. ^ Ohunyon, Ehis (10 January 2019). "Pulse Exclusive: DJ Lambo steps down as Choc Boi Nation president, leaves label". Pulse Nigeria. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  40. ^ Victor Okpala (15 February 2018). "REVIEW: M.I Abaga's "Rendezvous" Is a Decent Crossroad Of Musical Diversity". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  41. ^ Smish (30 August 2018). "Review: "Yxng Denzel: A Study Of Self Worth" Is Reflection Music For Gloomy Days". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  42. ^ Motolani Alake (30 August 2019). "CKay releases new EP, 'CKay The First'". Pulse Nigeria. Archived from the original on 22 February 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  43. ^ "Why we chose to celebrate culture in 'Yoruba Ni Mi' ― Street Billionaires". Vanguard. 25 September 2019. Archived from the original on 21 November 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  44. ^ Tomiwa (28 September 2019). "Street Billionaires – "Street Born" (The EP)". TooXclusive. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  45. ^ Lawrence Burney (25 October 2019). "Nigerian rapper Blaqbonez's Mr. Boombastic EP is worth all your time". The Fader. Archived from the original on 3 January 2020. Retrieved 6 March 2020.

External links edit