The music industry in Nigeria is one of the best in Africa with big names popular in the entertainment industry across the world. There are top quality record labels behind the artists whose hit songs you hear. These record labels are exceptional in what they do, making them very influential in the music industry in Africa and beyond. You may have heard some hit songs that got you very excited but you may not have been aware of the creative record labels behind such songs. Well, if you’re thinking of making it big in the music industry in Nigeria, here’s a list of top 15 biggest music record labels in the country you should focus on.
15. Kalakuta Republic
This is the record label that produced most of Fela’s sings. The Kalakuta Republic is the communal compound where Fela Kuti’s recording studio was located. The word “kalakuta” is a caricature used to refer to a prison cell named Calcutta where Fela had stayed. Most of Fela’s songs produced by this record label are still being enjoyed up to date. This is one of the oldest labels in Nigeria and remains a legacy to Nigerian Afro-beat/High life music.
14. Alapomeji Records
Alapomeji Records was founded in 2008 by 9ice after he left Edge Records. Nice himself is currently the only artist on Alapomeji Records.
13. Grafton Entertainment
Grafton Entertainment also referred to as Grafton Records, is an artist management company and record label, with dual-headquarters in both United Kingdom and Nigeria. It was formed in 2004 by Rivers State born Tonye Ibiama. The first artists to join the label’s roster were De Indispensables Lenny B and Tick Lips, while the second batch of artists included M Trill, who left the label in 2010. Currently, Grafton’s most successful artist is the waterside boy – Mr. 2Kay. His hit songs include Bad Girl Special and Run This Town.
12. Kaycee Records
Kaycee Records is an independent record label jointly owned and managed by Kennedy Kesidi Richard and Kingsley Chibuzor Aguoru (KayCee). In 2012, Kaycee Records signed Mr Bistop (Amaobi Clement), a former member of the brackets. Aside from the Limpopo Kaycee, the other artist on this record label is Safin De Coque – son of Oliver De Coque.
11. Kennis Music
Kenni Music was founded by popular Nigerian radio DJ Kenny Ogungbe in 1998. The company “Africa’s No 1 Record Label,” has in the past years produced one of Africa’s NO 1 artists – 2face. Some other big names that were once members of this label include OJB Jezreel, Tony Tetuila and Sound Sultan. Currently, KM is a home label to Eedris Abdulkareem, Kenny Saint Brown, Essence, Capital Femi and Joe EL. The current CEOs of Kennis Music are the world famous duos, Kehinde “Keke” Ogungbe and Dayo “D1” Adeneye.
10. DB Records
Dbanj Records was founded by the musical icon, D’Banj after his exit from Mo’Hits. This label manages other artists such as Kay Switch, Jay Sleek, Dee Vee, Jsoul, Kris and the high-profile Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike.
9. 960 Music
960 Music is a record company, content owner, and artist that specialises on providing diverse audio and visual entertainment across Nigeria. The company is headed by Mark Redguard and co-founded by Efe Omorogbe. 960 Music has Independent record labels under it which include: Hypertek Digital, Aristokrat Records, and Ultima Productions.
8. Dem Mama Soldiers
Dem Mama Records is led by the Plantain Seller crooner, Enetimi Alfred Odom popularly known as Timaya, and has to its credit the following hit songs: True Story, Plantain Boy, and Sexy Ladies among others.
7. Cobhams Asuquo Music Production
Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions (C.A.M.P) is one of the salient record labels in Nigeria. It was established by Cobhams Asuquo and is located in Ogudu, Lagos Nigeria. The artists under CAMP include Cobhams Asuquo, Bez and Stan Iyke. This label has produced so many hit songs including In The Music by Omawunmi, Stupid Song by Bez and Ordinary People by Cohbams himself.
6. Empire Mates Entertainment
Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) record label was founded by Banky W in 2002. The label is home to recording artists such as Wellington himself, Shaydee and Niyola, while Wizkid and Skales were formerly signed artists. Among the most popular hits from Empire Mates Entertainment record label are Ebutemeta, Lagos Party by Banky W, and Holla at Your Boy by Wizkid.
HKN was established by Davido and his elder brother, Wale Adeleke. This is the only recording label for all Davido’s music. This studio has produced a lot of hit songs such as Gobe, One of a Kind, Scape Goat, and Aye among others.
4. STAR BOY
Star Boy originated as a brand name for popular Nigerian singer, Wizkid. After he left his former label EME, he established his own record label with the name STARBOY. For now, Wizkid is the major artist in this label and so far has made great music following his relatively new label.
3. Hypertek Digital
Hypertek Digital was founded by recording artist 2face Idibia. It was established after Idibia departure left Kennis Music. The label was founded in 2006 and is home to these recording artists – Victor Uwaifo, Dammy Krane and RockSteady. Hypertek label is a subsidiary of 960 Music Group and behind 2face’s latest album “The Ascension.”
2. Chocolate City
Chocolate City records was founded in 2005 by Audu Maikori along with Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. The label is home to recording artists such as M.I, Femi Kuti, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, Pryse, Nosa, Dice Ailes and Koker. Artists formerly signed to the label include Jeremiah Gyang, Brymo and Jesse Jagz.
1. Mavin Records
Mavin Records is actually one of the latest record labels in Nigeria and it is considered one of the fastest growing since its creation in 2012. The label is solely owned by Michael Collins Ajereh who is popularly known as Don Jazzy. It was established after the separation of members of Mo’Hits Records which Don Jazzy co-founded with former music partner, D’Banj. Don Jazzy’s Marvin records is a household name in Nigeria and one of the biggest record labels this country has ever seen.
(Article first posted on Buzznigeria)