By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja
Are music groups better off when they split? History has shown that a break up usually doesn’t lead to great individual careers. Most groups tend to have a stand out star, who can sometimes be the only beneficiary of a break up. For example, The Plantashun Boys; 2 Face was able to re-launch an individual career that would even surpass his previous achievements under the group. But that is not to say that the group couldn’t have been as great if they stuck together. Also when some groups split, it becomes an ultimate end of the road for everyone because the fans couldn’t get over the heartbreak or the artists themselves just aren’t good as individuals. A case in mind will be the Styl Plus group, whose break up hasn’t benefitted any of the individual artists till date.
The argument therefore rages on. Why do they break up? A clash of interest? A loss of passion? While we wonder about that, we shall take a look at some notable Nigerian groups who use to really rock the airways but have individually slipped under the radar since their split.
Psquare: The twins, Peter and Paul Okoye can actually back up claims that they were Nigeria’s ever most successful music group. Managed by their elder brother and gifted with great voices and fast feet, one would think that they were made for eternity. But as with all good things, there is always an end. They group produced numerous hit tracks since their breakthrough in the early 2000s but couldn’t handle the pressures that came with more success. After their individual marriages, it seemed that their loyalties were now divided and their break up became inevitable, but not without some confrontation. Ever since, neither of the duo has been able to attain the kind of success they were used to as a group.
Plantashun Boys: The Nigerian group was made up of 2face, Faze and Black face. The group reigned in the music industry between the late 90s and the early 2000s. Since their break up, only 2 Face was able to relive a career of note. The break up has also led to a bitter vitriol attack on one another, especially from Blackface who thinks that he should be given credits for the success of 2 Face whose songs he says were written by him.
KC Presh: The name was coined from both members’ names which are Kingsley and Precious. The Nigerian group broke out when they won the Star Quest and since then went on to record a couple of songs after which they both decided to do solo albums and since then, the group has broken up. KC, one half of the duo has had a fair bit of individual success, but same can’t be said of Presh.
Zule Zoo: Zule Zoo broke into the industry with the huge success of their song “kerewa” which was later banned by the government because of its adult lyrical content. Mike and Ibrahim Al-Hassan have since gone solo dropping a couple of singles with being able to catch as much wave as their combined works did.
Styl-Plus: The Nigerian group was formerly STYL which consists of singers Shiffi, Tunde, Yemi and Lanre. But Lanre died, and Yemi left the group to pursue his career. They became Styl- Plus with the addition of Zeal.
The group became famous in the music industry when they dropped the single Olufunmi which received massive airplay around Nigeria. They subsequently dropped three albums before slipping under the radar. The first sign of break up was seen when Tunde left the group and went solo but without any testimony of success.
Mo’hits: They were arguably the most successful group in the early years of this millennium, dominating airplays and DJ decks. The Nigerian group was co-owned by Micheal “Donjazzy” Collins and Dapo “D’Banj” Oyebanjo. It consisted of artistes like Wande Coal, D’Prince, Dr. Sid and K-Switch. The group broke up due to irreconcilable differences between D’Banj and Donjazzy. The break up led to two record labels, Mavin Records and DB records. Mavin, controlled by Don Jazzy became a pure talent and business development company focussing on the establishment of individual artists under its management than to make them into any group of sort, and that has been a huge success. On the other hand, D’banj suffered an epic fall from Olympus height and hasn’t been able to rehash his previous hits as an individual artist.
Maintain: The Nigerian group consisted of Tolu, Olu and Big Bamo. The trio rocked with hit songs such as I catch cold and Nibo la wa gbe lo from the late 90s right up to 2005 before they split up. Olu maintain was able to establish an individual career that produced songs like ‘Yahoozee, and ‘Nawti,’ but has since gone under the radar.
Trybesmen: The Nigerian group consisted of Eldee, Kaboom and Freestyle. Their first album was released in 1999 and received good airplay. Their hit singles included Trybal Marks and Shake Bodi. Freestyle and Eldee went on to release solo albums after the split of their group but it was only Eldee that was able to make an impact before his retirement.
The Remedies: In the 90s, the defunct hip hop group, The remedies, was a household name in the Nigerian music industry. At that time, there were very few artistes who could compete with them, considering their novelty and vigour. The group was made up Idris (now Eedris Abdulkareem) the rapper, Tony Tetuila the (sideliner and rhyme maker) and Eddie Remedy, the melodymaker. Since their break up, not so much can be said of their individual carreers, except for Eedris whose hit song ‘Jaga jaga’ – a political commentary – resonated very well with a lot of Nigerians because of its populist theme.
So, like every other human association, there comes a time when crisis ensue, and the ability to resolve or not resolve would determine what happens next. Music groups are actually becoming old fashioned when it is considered, but there are artists whose destiny lies only in their union with others, and for those kind of artists, a break up will also be a death kneel.