Nigerian Artists are one of the most hardworking sets of Entertainers in the globe. Their hustle, drive, passion and success stories have helped make the music industry what it is today.
While a lot of Nigerian Artists are just making music, others are making more impact by setting up labels to give upcoming artists the right platform.
These artists aim to groom upcoming musicians under their Nigerian record label, using their experience to guide the new acts through old tricks.
Sometimes some artists just can’t bear to be under the confines of a record label that misunderstands their sound, therefore their craving for independence leads them to establish their own record label.
Mp3bullet.ng has organised a star-studded list of popular record labels that currently have some of Nigeria’s top artists at the helm, running the ship.
These labels have gone on to produce hits and hitmakers, some of which remain relevant in the present time.
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Olamide started out as an artist under ID Cabasa‘s “Coded Tunes” under which he released his first album, “Raspodi”. After spending one year in Coded Tunes, he established his own label, YBNL (full meaning; Yahoo Boy No Laptop) in 2012.
YBNL has become a force to be reckoned with, in the Nigerian music scene and it has gone on to make some of the successful artists that exist in Nigeria today, from Adekunle Gold to Lil Kesh, Chinko Ekun and more.
Its current star act is Fireboy DML who is the new generation artist that is currently making raves home and abroad, standing on the support of his steady record label.
Olamide’s recent deal with the international record label, Empire Records gives YBNL an added advantage over their peers. With YBNL and Empire’s joint deal, every artist under the label will have their music distributed worldwide.
Davido Music Worldwide(DMW)- Davido
Davido started out in HKN which he and his brother – Adewale Adekunle – handled before he went independent.
In 2016, Davido left the label to join Sony Music but renegotiated his deal in 2017, after having a disagreement with the multinational company about his creative process.
What followed suit was the creation of his own label, DMW which is home to successful artists like Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Dremo, Yonda, Ichaba, Liya, May D and more.
Sony Music and DMW currently have a joint deal on the distribution of Davido’s music.
Starboy Entertainment- Wizkid
Wizkid started out as an artist under Banky W‘s Empire Mates Entertainment and after releasing two solo albums and one compilation album, left the record.
In 2013, he launched his own label, Starboy Entertainment and immediately signed Maleek Berry and Legendury Beatz, L.A.X followed suit a few months later.
He also signed a partnership deal with Ghanaian Artists like Efya, R2bees. Currently, Starboy Entertainment only has Terri as its artist.
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Marlian Music – Naira Marley
Naira Marley has always been an independent artist. His rise to fame has been mixed with controversy, trouble with the law but despite all the troubles, the Marlian president has established himself in the industry with a large fanbase.
In 2020, he launched his label, Marlian Music and signed artists like MohBad, Fabian Blu, and C-Blvck.
Later in that year, he signed popular freestyle artist, Zinoleesky who was one of the year’s breakout stars thanks to his hit songs.
Zanku Records- Zlatan
After gaining popularity in 2017 with the Olamide-assisted track “My Body”, Zlatan got signed to Alleluyah Boiz Entertainment (A.B.E) in 2018.
In 2020, he took to his Instagram page to announce the launch of his record label ‘Zanku Records’ without no artists unveiled at first. Then later, he unveiled Papisnoop, Oberz and Jamopyper as the label new signees.
The name “Zanku” is an acronym that translates loosely to, “Zlatan Please Don’t Kill Us,” it was the name of the dance routine he popularized and his first album.
emPawa/Banku Music- Mr Eazi
Mr Eazi is known for popularizing Banku Music, which a fusion of Ghana highlife with elements of Nigerian beats.
He is not just a successful artist but also the brain behind emPawa Africa, a talent factory that encourages the growth of upcoming African artists.
While emPawa Africa isn’t technically a record label, it also functions as a Label and is responsible for the rise of Joeboy, who is one of the new generation artists dominating the industry and the airwaves with hits upon hits, and awesome collaborations.
emPawa Africa is an initiative that drives artists’ management, record labels, marketing, publishing, distribution, and so much more in the music sphere.
It also hosts several masterclasses for artists, producers, and music buffs who are interested in learning the business of music, and making it into the mainstream while they are at it.
Other Artists who have benefited from its programs include J.Derobie, DJ Neptune, E Kelly, C Natty, Killertunes, King Promise, Namenj.
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Penthauze Music- Phyno
South East born indigenous rapper, Azubuike Chibuzor Nelson, popularly known as Phyno, is one artiste who defiled the odds and broke into the Lagos market despite the language barrier.
He is the CEO of the label, Penthuaze. In 2011 the label had Runtown, Shugaboi and Flipside on its rooster. It signed Storm Rex in 2014, the singer becoming the label’s sole female act.
The label as a crew announced itself with the song ‘Camera Out’ (2011). Runtown, however, left the label in 2013. Phyno released his debut album ‘No Guts No Glory’ under the label.
After signing ‘Nuno’, ‘Rhatti’ and ‘Cheque’ PentHauze dropped 2019 singles “the Bag” and “Agu”.
In 2020, his act, Cheque started gaining prominence with his song, “Zoom”
Jonzing Records- D’Prince
D’Prince started out under his elder brother, Don Jazzy’s label, Mo’hit Records. After the dissolution of Mo’hits, he joined Mavin Record which was also founded by Don Jazzy.
When he discovered Rema in 2018, he signed him to his label, Jonzing Records which is a subsidiary imprint of Mavin Records Global.
Thanks to Rema’s popularity in the International Music scene, Jonzing Record has also seen a rise in popularity.
In January of 2021, it announced another artist to the imprint, Ruger.
HALL OF FAME;
Mavin records- Don Jazzy
Over the years, Don Jazzy has established himself as one of the Industry’s iconic music personalities. The Record Producer/Label Boss has founded and led two of Nigeria’s successful labels, Mo’Hits and Mavins Record.
Mavin Records was birthed after the separation of members of Mo’Hits Records which Don Jazzy co-founded with former music partner, D’Banj.