Record Labels in Nigeria spring up as fast as star artists leave the label that discovered them. It is almost seen as the gratification for attaining the star status, launching your own label. The truth of the matter is there will always be new record labels in Nigeria. Record labels in Nigeria looking for artists is the order of the days sometimes because Nigeria is filled with talent and they must be harnessed. These labels of today have the resources to make artists superstars.
Gospel record labels in Nigeria are also part of the gang, they try their best to push gospel music forward. The best record label in Nigeria is always an argument. From Mavin Record to EME, HKN, Bahd Guy Records, Made Men Music, the list is endless. These labels can also be ranked among the top 10 richest record labels in Nigeria. Nigeria has come a long way in the music industry, however, there are pioneer labels, that paved the way for today’s music scene. Labels, which are now moving slow or defunct, however in those days, these labels made music happen.
Here are 7 Record Labels in Nigeria, then and now.
Mo’Hits Records was the biggest record label in Nigeria from the early 2000s to 2012. Mo’Hits was a popular Nigeria-based record label own by Don Jazzy and D’banj. The dynamic duo founded the label in 2004, signing with Don Jazzy as the CEO/President of Mo’Hits Records and D’banj as Co-owner and the first artiste signed to the record label. The label specialized in the Afrobeat genre and the first album the label released was D’banj’s ‘No Long Thing’. The album put Mo’Hits in the spotlight as the nation fell in love with the hit track ‘Tongolo’, which was played at every event possible. It was every DJ’s gem. The label went on to sign Dr. Sid, Wande Coal, K-Switch, and D’Prince. Mo’Hits became an unstoppable force, over the years they released hit after hit, and golden albums like Mushin 2 Mo’Hits, Rundown, The Entertainer, Turning Point and Mo’Hits All Stars. With sadness, the fans had to watch the group go their separate ways in March 2012 due to a disagreement. Don Jazzy went on to set up another record label called Mavin and D’banj moved on to G.O.O.D Music. Now defunct, the starts reunited to perform at the 2017 30Billion concert by Davido.
Storm 360 Records was one of the first record labels in Nigeria and one of the first that pushed Nigerian R&B artists forwards. The label was founded by entertainment professional, Obi Asika. The label took the fans by storm bringing forth artists like we had never seen before, rappers, soul singers and rap-singers. the label was founded in 1991 when it signed its first acts, Pidgin Rap duo, Junior and Pretty. Years after the label made a comeback as Storm 360 Limited under the management of Obi Asika and A&R genius, Tola Odunsi. The record label signed talents like Darey Art-Alade, Jazzman Olofin, Sauce Kid, Naeto C, Ikechukwu, Yung6, Sasha P, L.O.S, Ms. Jaie, Tosin Martins, Disconnect, Saro-Wiwa, Nkiru and G.T the Guitar Man. This very label is responsible for albums like Super C, Son of the Soil and hit tracks from all its artists.
Kennis Music is a record label founded by Nigerian radio DJ and entertainment professional, Kenny ‘Keke’ Ogungbe in 1998. The current CEOs are popular duo Kenny ‘Keke’ Ogungbe and Dayo ‘D1’ Adeneye. With the slogan ‘Africa’s No 1 Record Label’, the label specialized in R&B, pop and hip-hop music, spawning artists who are now considered, legends in the Nigerian music industry. Signed to Kennis music were K.C. Presh, late OJB Jezreel, Mike Aremu, Tony Tetuila, Bola Abimbola, Capital Femi, 2face now 2Baba, late Goldie Harvey, Baba Dee, Sound Sultan, Kenny Saint Brown, Essence, 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. Seeing the long list of artists Kennis Music has and had to its name, it is evident that this label shaped Nigerian music, with old and new school acts of yesteryears. Projects from Tony Tetula, 2Baba, Goldie Harvey, Essence, Jaywon, Sound Sultan and other pioneered the new school sound of the early 20s and was a huge sensation in the African continent. The label still floats, however, has been silent for a while.
Missofunyin Entertainment was a movement cut short too early. It was a label that pioneered rapping in indigenous language but in its case, Yoruba. This style rose through fame through the founder of the movement, late DaGrin. DaGrin was a star who shun so bright in a short time and the fans lost him with just about the same speed. Within the short time, MissofunyinEntertainment gave the fans the C.E.O (Chief Executive Omoita), with tracks like ‘Pon pon pon’, ‘Kondo’ and ‘If I Die’, which was prophetic because DaGrin died shortly after recording the track. The demise of the CEO sent the nation into mourning; however, the dream didn’t die. MissofunyinEntertainment lives through indigenous rappers like Olamide, Reminisce, Jahbless, and more.
Knight House was once the signature heard in the intro and outro of every hit track on the radio. The label was founded by CEO, Rogba Aromiro and is responsible for hits that filtered our radios, with creative videos that flooded our TV screens. Though still active, it has been a while the fans got a large body of work from Knight House in recent years. The record label saw the rise of MoCheddah, Phenom, Ige and more.
Trybe Records was founded by Eldee in 1998. The reasons for birthing this record label was to support the group he formed with two of his friends, Kaboom and Freestyle, called Trybesmen. With an incredible blend of Afro beat, Reggae, Highlife, and hip-hop, the group thrilled the nation with tracks like Trybal Marks”, “Shake Bodi”, “Work it out” and “Oya”. This endeavor put the group on stages, amounting to 78 sold out shows in one year. They were the definition of ‘It Boys’. The label sored to greater heights, signing artists and producers like K9, Eva Alordiah, Sheyman, Sojay, and Sarz, who have all long left the label. Today a comeback from Eldee is possible but hard as Trybe Records is nowhere to be found.
Coded Tunes is a Nigeria-based record label founded by legendary artists ID Cabasa. Coded Tunes is responsible for the discovering artists like Olamide, 9ice, Gaise, AB1 and more. The current CEO of Coded Tunes is Marvellous Imabeh. Though its star acts are no more with the label, the label seems to not be making any buzz in recent times as opposed to when it started out with hit stars.