by Chi Ibe
The relationship between Nigerian pop star, Ayo Wizkid Balogun and his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E.) has either gone up in flames or what is left of it is a ticking time bomb.
We reported on February 1 disturbing tweets from Wizkid that suggested trouble on the home front and although the details are vague, it appears clear now that Wizkid and EME executives Banky W and Segun Demuren are not in good terms.
The very next day for instance, Wizkid followed his previous day’s tweet by a retweet certain to send the rumour mill into overdrive:
The speculations have been months running. First, Wizkid fired his manager Osagie Osarenkhoeand hired long-time friend Godwin Tom in September 2012. Tom, it appears, had initially taken up the Wizkid project before Osarenkhoe facilitated the introduction to EME that changed his life.Wizkid was the only one happy about the change, but the label let him be.
Then, he signed an international management deal with UK based Disturbing London, run by rapper Tinie Tempah, with whom he has been working in the studio somewhere in the United Kingdom.
According to this NET report, it all came to a head when Wizkid moved out of the EME ‘mansion’ in Lagos and acquired his own home in Lekki Phase 1, and then bought his BMW X6 auto-mobile late last year – a move that a blogger’s report claims led to a “war of words” with his own mother. By this time, he had started flying solo; all decisions made by himself and his new manager.
Wizkid would turn up late to public appearances and Banky would spend the whole time apologizing. ‘They would always come separate to any gig. It looked like Wizzy and Godwin had formed their own team and didn’t need them Banky anymore‘, an inside source told this newspaper, Saturday.
Apparently, he also wasn’t seen at many of the rehearsals for EME’s December concert, and when he came the friction was apparent. .
Banky W, valliantly trying to re-assure fans, had said in an interview last week that the rumours of a rift are false, but as if in response, the ink was yet to dry on reports before Wizkid updated his Twitter profile – and EME/Konvict was gone.
According to the above report, many familiar with the situation say the problem is simple: (Wizkid) thinks he’s grown too big for the label and he’s suddenly forgotten where he’s coming from and the many sacrifices Osagie and Banky especially had to make to help him grow”.
February 15, Banky W will have his album concert. What Wizkid does, if Wizkid is in the vicinity – is sure to provide some clarity.
[This story has been updated].