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#WhereAreThey? Paul Play, Tony Tetuila, Azeezat, Benita Okojie, Nico Gravity, Kel and the one hit wonders

by Wilfred Okiche

The music industry is as big as it has ever been. Great things are happening: D’banj signed with Kanye West, Don Jazzy shared credits on a track on Jay-Z’s latest album and Asa is slowly but surely conquering the world music scene.

However before these present pop darlings, there were names, faces and voices that used to matter. One hit wonders and twice as lucky champions we thought would last forever. We take a trip down memory lane and attempt a recall.

OJB Jezreel

 

Yes, we know, you saw him last year on the Peak produced talent hunt show acting as a judge but such career considerations are usually reserved for the likes of Paula Abdul (who has not put out a hit in ages) and Nicole Scherzinger (who has not put out a hit at all, at least not since splitting from the Pussycat Dolls). But then, it hits us, OJB hasn’t put out a hit in a while too. Shame, as he is the guy who gave us great ballads like ‘Searching’ and ‘Beautiful as you are’.

Paul Play

The scion of the late music maestro, IK Dairo reworked his father’s classic, ‘Mosorire’ and introduced it to a whole generation of music lovers. He would later put out a massive single, ‘Angel of my life’ and by the time the drum beats of the song ‘Forever’ came on, we knew this was talent that could last forever. So where did it go wrong? We hear he suffered from a kidney ailment that took him out for a while. Returning to the top has not been easy as his comeback singles slid by unnoticed. Still we are rooting for him.

Tony Tetuila

Back when Davido was fresh out of diapers and Kennis music ruled the industry, Tony Tetuila was the golden boy (complete with tinted hair.) He was the third member of the super successful afro pop group, Remedies (comprising also Eedris Abdulkarim and Eddy Remedy.)After the group went bust, he enjoyed a successful run with signature tunes like ‘Omode meta’ and ‘My car’. So we ask, what happened to our golden boy?

Kel

A while back, Kel was touted as the next big thing. She released an album, ‘The Investment’ that fared well commercially and was in demand as one of the few female emcees around. Fast forward to present day and the only time her name comes up is in relation to being dropped from various endorsement deals or being caught cheating at her school exams.

Jazzman Olofin

He gave us hits like ‘Raise the roof’ and ‘Shake something’ and was for a short while, regarded as the king of leer. He amassed moderate success with the group X-Appeal  before blowing up as a solo artiste. If only we knew he wasn’t going to around for long.

African China

During the occupy Nigeria protests, one song that kept coming up as a soundtrack for the times was African China’s, ‘Mr President.’ This young chap from the wrong side of town sang his way to fame and fortune- and trouble. Accusations of raping a white woman in London would derail a promising career and China never quite recovered from the scandal.

Nico Gravity

He had only one aim- to finish Timaya and if he achieved fame while doing so, all the better. Only it did not quite work out like that. Long after the popular song and it’s numerous sequels, Timaya remains as relevant as ever and it seems like it is Nico who is finished.

Azeezat

Hit the scene with the song, ‘Lonely world’ and even though her detractors dismissed her for not being a conformist, she bravely stuck to her guns and kept doing her music her own way. We were beginning to get used to her when she just upped and left.

Benita Okojie

Benita was Nigeria’s sweetheart when Wizkid was still dreaming about making it big. Her classic, ‘Osemudiame’ was the song on everyone’s lips and we all loved her like she was one of hours. Puberty hit and little Benita was not so little anymore and it seems our interest waned. She attempted a comeback but we had moved on to the next one. Still we wonder where she is now.

Zeal

For a while there, Zeal was the flavor of the month. Her striking features kept her atop the gossip lists even when her music failed to make much of an impact and she reveled in it. Only a new month came around and we found us another flavor.

Eddie Remedies

Some say he was the most talented of the Remedies trio but while Eedris and Tony Tetuila enjoyed huge solo careers, Eddie’s never quite took off the ground. He went on to marry and divorce Kenny St. Brown and the public was not spared the details of their messy split.

Rasqie

Did not have much to offer in terms of vocal talent but his boyish good looks and Usher Raymond-like charm kept him afloat. It seems he was one of the casualties of the Rugged man tsunami that swept the music industry- and brought us to our senses.

Azadus

The ‘You is the one’ crooner invaded our lives and we let him in, thinking he was here to stay. A couple of years later and we are asking, ‘Azadus who?’

Tolu Maintain

Tolu was the other half of the successful pop duo Maintain who released hits like ‘Catch cold’ and ‘Maintain in India’. When the group broke up, we never heard from Tolu again even as his cousin, Olu blew up the charts with his ubiquitous ‘Yahooze’ single. That corporate job must be deeply satisfying.

Freestyle

Tha shotgun Essien, alongside eLDee was one of the pioneers of the rap game. He was a member of the Trybesmen and embarked on a solo career with the release of his seminal debut album in which he proved to be one of the best lyricists to ever come out of the country. You’d think that he would follow it up with even more successful singles but he fizzled out quietly. Sadly.

Can you come up with any more names? We’d love to hear them.

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