Chocolate City (music label)

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Chocolate City (music label)
Parent company Chocolate City Group
Founded 2005
Founder Audu Maikori
Status Active
Genre Various
Official website chocolatecitygroup.com

Chocolate City Music is a Nigerian record label founded in 2005 by lawyer/entrepreneur Audu Maikori along with Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. Generally regarded as one of the biggest and most successful urban record labels in Africa,[citation needed] Chocolate City Music operates as a subsidiary of Chocolate City Group, one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates in Africa. Other arms of the group are Chocolate City Distribution, Chocolate City Events, and Chocolate City Media[citation needed]

The label is home to recording artists such as M.I, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, Pryse, Nosa, and Victoria Kimani. Artists formerly signed to the label include Jeremiah Gyang, Brymo and Jesse Jagz. Chocolate City Music has also worked on the careers of artistes such as Djinee and Asa.

History[edit]

Originally founded as a nightclub in 1997, Chocolate City quickly became the number one promotions outfit in the Northern part of Nigeria[citation needed] and moved into the industry main stream in 2005 with the launch of the record label (Chocolate City Music). In 2001, Audu Maikori founded the Guild of Artistes and Poets with Paul Okeugo which was called an "arts appreciation society" which held weekly meetings which focused on the arts, music, poetry and creativity as a means of youth engagement and empowerement.[citation needed]

Signed artists[edit]

Act Year signed Chocolate City Albums M.I[1] 2006 2
Ice Prince[2] 2008 2
Nosa[3] 2013 1
Victoria Kimani[4] 2012
DJ Caise[5] 2013
Pryse[6] 2013
Dice Ailes 2014

Former acts[edit]

Act Year signed # Albums and/or mixtapes released
under Chocolate City
Brymo 1
Jesse Jagz 1


M.I

Jude Abaga, better known by stage name M.I, is a Nigerian Hip hop Artist. He has won Several Awards including the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009 and was Nominated for BET 2010 Awards for the Best International Act Category. He rose to prominence in 2006, when his song "Crowd Mentality" became popular in his hometown Jos. He is signed to Chocolate City music label. On the 11th of December 2008, M.I released his critically acclaimed debut album, Talk About It.

Ice Prince

Panshak Zamani (born October 30, 1986), better known by his stage name Ice Prince, is a Nigerian hip hop recording artist and actor. He rose to fame after releasing "Oleku", one of Nigeria's most remixed songs of all time.[7] He won the 2009 Hennessy Artistry Club Tour.[8][9] His achievements include one BET Award,[10] one Ghana Music Award, three The Headies Awards from 12 nominations, two Nigeria Entertainment Awards from 6 nominations, and two Channel O Music Video Awards from 7 nominations. Ice Prince is currently signed to Chocolate City.[11] His debut studio album, Everybody Loves Ice Prince, was released in 2011. It was supported by the singles "Oleku", "Superstar", "Juju", and "Magician". In 2013, Ice Prince released Fire of Zamani, his second studio album. The album contained the singles "Aboki", "More", "Gimme Dat", and "I Swear".

Nosa

“An inspiring rhetoric rendered in passionate song” is one of the ways that the music of NOSA, Choc- olate City Music’s Inspirational and gospel artiste, has been described. Born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Nosa attended Uvwie Catholic Nursery school as well as St Mary’s Nursery&Primary school, Benin and attended Uniben Demonstration Secondary school. He gained admission into University of Benin in the year 2000 to study Electrical/Electronic Engineering. Nosa Shadrax Omoregie began his journey into the world of music at the young age of 7 as a choris- ter in his local church. After a long break from being a member of the choir, He resumed actively in 1999 and as a result he started writing Choir Pieces. As he grew, he tried his hands on writing rap lyrics and immersed himself in the popular culture. He was aware of his talent and experimented on different genres of music, and by so doing he trans- formed his rap lyrics into fluid melody and substance, and he soon began producing and composing music pieces. By the year 2003 Nosa wrote and arranged his 1st Song. Driven by his spirituality, his talent found its purpose in inspiring his audience with words of hope and promoting awareness to inspire change. Even as a devoted and full-time (Christian) Minister, his message has not changed. His musical influences include Gospel singers like Fred Hammond and The legendary Bob Marley, he also credits his R&B influences to the legendary group, Boyz II Men. The years made him develop a love for Jazz and Soul music, but his primary musical influential roots remain Gospel and Afro-Highlife. In 2011 Nosa hooked up with the legendary Jeffery Daniels who was a co-judge with Audu Maikori on the 1st Season of Nigerian Idol. Audu Maikori got a chance to listen to Nosa’s music contents and productions which as a result he got signed to the Chocolate City Music Label. With some of his songs such as the popular hit Always Pray For You, he has creatively super-imposed a soul tune on a Highlife production, a Highlife verse with R&B flavored verses while maintain a refreshing and soothing slant. It’s just all a potpourri of musical goodness. Nosa is a favorite with various African music blogs, and his music has been likened several times to John Legend in style, sound and feel while comparisons with Asa will surely not go amiss. NOSA released N-I-G-E-R-I-A in celebration of Nigeria’s 52 tumultuous years post-independence, a song he wrote, produced and arranged himself; the song has gone one to garner much critical acclaim from various audiences, and has been performed at government functions. After dropping back to back singles such as “Why You Love Me and “Always Pray for You” Nosa dropped his much anticipated album Open Doors on March 14th . The Album is his 1st official body of work. Nosa himself produced it. Speaking about the patriotic slant of the song, Nosa had this to say: “I didn't want to address what others address in their songs. The bad roads, poor power supply, e.t.c. are not the problem of the country; it is the wrong mindset, [and] low level of patriotism. It is a systematic problem whereby everyone is involved, whether directly or indirectly. Bad citizenry can never produce good leadership. So this song was written to buttress my hope in a better Nigeria, which will come through a new mind- set and [a] new attitude” Nosa has worked with a few producers like leriq of Aristokrat records, Big foot Micworx Music, Smyl, Masterkraft, Tunex.

Victoria Kimani

Victoria Kimani (born in LA, originally from Kenya) started writing, recording and performing at 16. Victoria lived in Nigeria during her high school years and moved back to Nairobi, Kenya at age 17. Since then, she has been back and forth between LA, ATL, NY and London working with top artists and producers, perfecting and developing her musical and visual craft as well as writing for all sorts of signed artists around the world. In 2009, she joined a duo called Club Embassy and signed to Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest, released a mixtape called Diplomatic Immunity hosted by 50 cent’s DJ Whoo Kid, it got over 250,000 downloads and created a lot of Industry buzz. In mid 2010, the duo split and began working on solo projects.Victoria has collaborated with Ron Browz, Maino, Jadakiss, DJ green Lantern, Busta Rhymes, Mario Winans, Cassie, Lloyd, A.I (Japanese superstar), Chris Brown, Diggy Simmons, Timati (Russian superstar) , Timbaland, White Nerd, Andy Chatterly, Pete “Boxta” Martin, Devyne Stevens, Konvict Music, Space Cowboy, Dawaun Parker, Diane Warren, Bamboo, Kimya, and countless other producers and artists worldwide. Victoria is now working on her debut album.

DJ Caise

'DJ Caise' (pronounced Case) has been described as one of the most exciting and innovative young Nigerian entertainers to ever grace the turntables. He has performed at UK's and Nigeria's most prestigious nightclubs and entertained a variety of audiences from around the world. His unique and inventive style has enabled him to perform alongside several of the music industry's leading artists. Thisextensive resume includes tours and video appearances with Dbanj, the Mo hits all stars, P-Square, 2face, Naeto C, Lynxx, Sasha, Sauce kid, Donaeo (UK artist) and more. Caise’s talent has earned him the well deserved name “Celebrity DJ” as he furthermore produced hit tracks such as “International’’ and “Flashback vs. Implication mash up” which currently enjoy regular airplays on radio and have topped several charts. DJ Caise has been selected amongst many other djs for great shows such as (MTV Africa Music Awards; MAMA 2010), (Soundcity Music Video Awards; SMVA 2010) Big Brother Africa’s Nigeria guest DJ, (BBA All Star 2010 and BBA Amplified 2011) Big Brother Africa All Stars Winners Party, Glo Naija Sings Winners Party, Lagos State Governor’s Independence Day Ball, The Christian Audigier Wine and Champagne Launch (Lagos), Asa On The Green, Beat 99.9 FM Launch Party and many more. He is the resident DJ of the Lagos number 1 radio station; The Beat 99.9 FM. His main influences are Funky House, Hip Hop, R'n'B, Basement, Old school, Afro beats, and more. Regardless of your style, crowd, event or venue type, DJ Caise is able to take your fun to the next level. Driven by his natural talent and great passion for music, fine-tuned with an Intermediate Dj Course, Logic Pro 9 Remixing Course and Dj/Performance with Ableton Live from the world famous POINT BLANK LONDON PRODUCTION SCHOOL, Dj Caise showcases his incredible skills and knowledge of the music every step of the way, whether that is featured in his performances, his latest mix-tape or his radio sets, his style and popularity is like no other, and this is very much apparent once you attend an event hosted by Dj Caise

Pryse

Pryse is a Nigerian rapper who is all set to storm the Naija music industry. Born and bred in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as Princess Esindu, she started rapping for church at the tender age of ten with her older brother, now popular US-based producer G.O.A (Giant of Africa). She was encouraged down the path of music/entertainment by her family, who owned and ran one of the best recording studios in Port Harcourt – Frontline TV Studios. Pryse spent most of her teenage years listening to Jay Z, writing rhymes and recording songs. At the age of sixteen, she was an active member of the All Out Squad, a hip-hop crew which consisted of G.O.A, and others. Artistes she has worked with include, Frank D ‘Nero, Zubi, Mack Gee, Double Kay, Rha tha Answer and others. She moved to the UK to study for a degree in Media and Communication, where she eventually started making music again. After graduating from NTU in 2011, she moved back to Naija because she feels like the game is ripe for a true female lyricist and she is more than willing (and capable) to fill that void. Her main influences include Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, M.I., Drake and others. She is a true music lover and listens to most genres

Dice Ailes

Dice Ailes (pronounced Ales) of Nigerian/Ghanaian decent is a versatile Artist with a Rap/Afro Pop sound. Born and bred in Victoria Island, Lagos as Shasha Damilola Alesh, his first experience with music was at the church choir where he beat boxed to music composed and rehearsed for church services by his Uncles. Dice always con- fessed his love for music to his mother who was never convinced because he couldn’t sum up the courage to perform in front of her, but this changed when at 15, he saved up to pay for what will ulti- mately become his first single I CANT WAIT ft RADO (his Uncle). Before the age of 16, Dice had aired his single on Rhythm 93.7, which earned him an ap- pearance on DJ Jimmy Jatt’s “Jimmy’s Jump Off”. Dice migrated to Canada with his family and con- tinued to further his education. Here he met Ste- phen Oruwari (alias Tee Tash) a young entrepreneur who had a keen interest in Dice Ailes’ talent. Tee Tash signed him to a Recording/Production Agree- ment and they began making good music. In 2013, Dice and Tash made a trip to Nigeria to promote Dice Ailes’ music and a turn of events led them to M.I Abaga. After listening to a few songs by Dice, M.I was instantly impressed and called a meeting with Chocolate City’s Top Management. After several months of negotiations, Dice signed on as the newest member of Chocolate City in 2014. Dice Ailes, currently a third year undergraduate in York University, Canada, has shown his intent to finish his education while pursuing his passion in music. Fantasy will be his first official single under Chocolate City. Artists Dice has worked with include, Nox, Neza, Fixaveli, Inferno and Dan-e-o.

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Title Album details Certifications
Everybody Loves Ice Prince

2x Platinum

Fire of Zamani
Jag of All Trades

Gold

M.I 2

10xPlatinum

Na Baka
  • Artist: Jeremiah Gyang
  • Released: May 2005
  • Label: Chocolate City
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Open Doors
  • Artist: Nosa
  • Released: March 14, 2014
  • Label: Chocolate City
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Son of a Kapenta
  • Artist: Brymo
  • Released: November, 2011
  • Label: Chocolate City
  • Formats: CD, digital download

2x Platinum

Talk About It
  • Artist: M.I
  • Released: December 11, 2008
  • Label: Chocolate City
  • Formats: CD, digital download

6x Platinum


G.A.P[edit]

The G.A.P later became one of the new age art renaissance movements which quickly gained membership in Jos, Abuja, and Lagos with a combined membership of over 3000 attendees at its peak. The GAP brought to light the need for artists to have better representation which Audu gave in form of pro bono legal services and this eventually led to his registering Chocolate CIty with his bonus earnings from his job as a lawyer with the chambers of Afe Babalola and co. The first act to be signed on the Chocolate City label was multi talented instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer Jeremiah Gyang (whose debut album Na BA KA sold over 4 Million copies and won numerous accolades and acclaim for the artist as well as the label).

Na Ba Ka was known for its instrumentals which was studied by a Canadian University on Sound Engineering and Production and was even listed on the top ten charts in Israel between 2005 and 2006.

Chocolate City went on to discover and manage the careers of Djinee, M.I, Aṣa, Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Brymo and other artists who have won over 70 awards both locally and internationally.[citation needed]

Chocolate City has sold over 35 thousand albums since 2005 quickly establishing it self as one of the biggest record labels in Africa.[citation needed]

In June 2007, Audu Maikori won the British award the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) by the British Council, making Nigeria the first country to win 2 global awards in the Young Creative Entrepreneurs Series (the first was Lanre Lawal (IYDEY) 2005), after beating 9 countries including Philippines, Latvia, Lithuania, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Tanzania, Egypt and Poland.[12]

Accolades[edit]

Chocolate City was the first Nigerian music company to attain a global music award and recognition by the British Council in 2007 i.e. International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY)2007.[12]

Chocolate City has since worked closely with the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as several international organisations such as the British Council in promoting the creative industries as well as Capacity building projects in and around Nigeria. In April 2008, Chocolate City announced a major collaborative effort in partnership with the British Council and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to take a delegation of Nigerian music stakeholders to London Calling 2008 in a bid to open new vistas for the fast growing Nigerian music industry currently valued at around $500 Million (2007). The 40 man delegation was led by the Minister of Culture and Tourism.[13]

Chocolate City has also been active in the promotion of the Creative industries globally having participated in several workshops and initiatives. In January 2008, Chocolate City delivered a keynote address on a workshop tagged "Mapping the Creative Industries in Albania" organised by the British Council, Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ministry of Economy, Albania. The workshop was aimed at sharing experiences of creative entrepreneurs from around Europe, the UK and Nigeria.

Reuters International produced a documentary on the Chocolate City success story tagged "Music and Money" in recognition of its contributions to the development of the Nigerian Music Industry.[12]

Over the years, Chocolate City has setup partnerships with many international and regional creative industry organizations, with affiliates in South Africa, U.K and the USA, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the British Council toward promoting and celebrating creativity in Nigeria.[13]

On 8 December 2011, parent company Chocolate City Group won the African Awards for Entrepreneurship beating over 3,300 applicants from 48 countries in Africa to clinch the runner up prize thereby making history as the first ever entertainment company to win the prize since 2007.[citation needed]

Chocolate City won the "Best Record Label of the Year" award at the 2013 City People Entertainment Awards.[14] At the 2011 edition of the aforementioned awards, the record label won the "Record Label of the Year" award.[15]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Bring The Noise Project[edit]

M.I (Jude Abaga) represented Nigeria on a 12 country tour of the UK and Africa from 2007–2008


References[edit]

External links[edit]