Empire Mates Entertainment
|Empire Mates Entertainment|
African hip hop
|Country of origin||Nigeria|
Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) is a Nigerian record label founded by R&B recording artist Banky W in 2002. The label is home to recording artists such as Wellington himself, Wizkid, Shaydee, and Niyola. DJ Xclusive is the label’s official DJ. Producers associated with the label include Masterkraft, Jay Sleek, Cobhams Asuquo, Spellz, and Samklef, among others. On June 18, 2012, the label released its first compilation album, Empire Mates State of Mind.
In addition to establishing a record label, Banky W, Segun Demuren, and Tunde Demuren established a production house, a publishing company known as Muzik Men Publishing, and a charity foundation known as the I-AM-CAPABLE Charity Foundation.
On February 19, 2014, Nigerian Entertainment Today reported that Skales parted ways with E.M.E following the expiration of his contract. According to reports, both parties met and reached an agreement.
"I founded the label in 2002 when I was still in university. The first income that EME made was when my partners and I would go to hair salons and nail salons in New York and ask the owners if I could sing for the customers. And they would let me sing for the patrons and we would sell CDs for five dollars a piece and that’s how EME was born. This was upstate. I went to school in Albany. Everybody knew us in the neighborhood. We were like the local celebrities."
After relocating to Lagos in 2008, Banky W established EME. In 2009, he signed Wizkid as the first act to the record label. Skales was also signed to the label in 2009. DJ Xclusive, Shaydee, and Niyola were all signed to the label in 2012. During an interview with Toolz on Ndani's TV's "The Juice", Banky W opened up on the signing process for each artist on the label. He said:
"I ran into Niyola many many years ago. I came for my sister's wedding in 2007. I heard a female singing in the bathroom. I hung around to see who she was. When she walked out, I spoke to her and ask her 'where you the person singing? I introduced myself to her. We kind of had a cordial friendship since that time and I just always felt that she wasn't in the right musical environment to bring the best out of her. As time went on, we find a way to bring her on the label. Shaydee, I met in Ilorin at a show. He opened up for us and I just thought he was a fantastic vocalist. He came to say Hi afterwards and we had a conversation. He was on the label at the time so we didn't really do anything but the label folded the music operation and so it was a natural fit for him because he's been coming around. Wizkid, I heard his music before I even met him so by the time I met him, I already knew and then the same thing probably for Skales."
During the aforementioned interview with Beverly Bryan, Wizkid was asked to comment on the things they're currently doing to set themselves apart from other record labels in Nigeria. His response was: "For the label, it’s always been about the music. You know we’ve definitely tried to differentiate our material from every other thing that comes out of Nigeria. Definitely we’re bringing something fresh to the table. Everybody has a different talent. Skales has swag...We’re definitely going to be around for a very long time. As the name implies, Empire Mates is an empire, and we’re going to be building for a very long time. That’s why we double up on the work with the songs, we triple up on it. Every body is always in the studio, trying to work, trying to make things happen. I feel so blessed being with the family, man." In addition, Banky W said: "Each and every artist on Empire Mates is special and unique and different and nobody’s trying to be like somebody else. Everybody has their own lane. I remember when I started everybody was like, “oh, R&B would never work in Africa. Don’t bother. Just stay where you are. And when I signed Wiz, nobody had been that young and been that successful. They we’re like, “he’s too young, he’s too small, he’s this.” Skales and everybody else on the label, it’s the same thing. It’s unique, it’s fresh, it’s different. For us it’s all about being ourselves. Each artist is true to himself or herself. Each artist does what they want to do and I think when you stay true to your art form and to who you are people will connect with that. It’s when you’re trying to be somebody else that you fall flat on your face."
Allegations about Wizkid’s "departure"
On February 20, 2013, InformationNigeria.com reported that Wizkid was "at war" with E.M.E due to matters that pertains to contract negotiations. According to the website's source, Wizkid was allegedly getting 25 percent from every show while Banky W and Segun Demuren were getting 50 percent. Osagie, Wizkid's former manager, was allegedly getting the remaining 25 percent. After firing Osagie and hiring Godwin Tom, his current manager, Wizkid allegedly wanted a 50-50 share with Banky W. The source allegedly revealed that Banky W refused to accept Wizkid's proposal. Moreover, it was alleged that Banky W wanted to find a manager for Wizkid who would accept 25 percent. It was also alleged that things started getting sour as a result of both parties disagreement. Furthermore, it was alleged that Wizkid was doing three shows weekly and bringing in close to 24 million naira monthly. Allegations about Wizkid's departure from EME kept getting coverage mainly because he (Wizkid) wasn't invited to Banky W's album launch party and wasn't featured on the R&BW album.
During the aforementioned interview with Toolz, Banky W broke his silence on the subject. He didn't comment on the contract negotiations allegation, and didn't shun any of the allegations mentioned.
I preference the answer to that by saying that when you don't give people bad news, they create it. There were discussions I mean. Wiz is a fantastically talented young man and I'm very proud for the work that we've done with him and the heights that he's been able to attained. But of course, as we grow, with growth and success, goals become bigger. He wants to start his own label. We are doing this thing internationally now and he has his ideas of how he wants that to go and so of course when that happens, we all kind of come to the table and figure out the new arrangement for that to work going forward so that everybody remains happy. It was not nearly as bitter or as violent as people made it out to seem. It was just funny to me because it's just ironic how bitter people can be and how much people are really hungry for slander and bad news. He is still on the label. We are in full support whether its StarBoy or what we are doing with Disturbing London. We are actually all working together to make sure that this goes smoothly. People were just really bitter and looking for fights.To date, nobody has ever said anything because we're adults, we're gentlemen, and we're businessman and everything is fine.
Eniola Akinbo (popularly known as Niyola) is a Nigerian recording artist and singer. She started developing interest in singing at the tender age of 8. She was inspired by her father (a music enthusiast and vocalist) to pursue music. She partook in the AMEN starlet competition and emerged as the runner up. After the competition, she met Nigeria's defunct boy band Plantashun Boiz and recorded specifically with Faze. She was briefly signed to Trybe records. She jump started Make Sum Noise Entertainment, a production outfit owned by Freestyle of Trybesmen and released "Me n U (In da club)", "No More", and "Dem Say" on the imprint. She was also signed to Westside Music and released her debut album under the label. She collaborated with Ruggedman on” If I could do It’’ and with Sasha on “Leaders of tomorrow" to name a few. She has also written soundtracks for Yoruba movies. During an interview with Anu Adegite, Niyola was asked about her deal with EME and how it came about. Her response was:
"Banky and I have always been friends and when I decided to make my comeback, I did a song with Skales. Along the line, I went to the EME House where I met him and the others. We got talking about so many things including a rape incident that occurred at the Delta State University ( DELSU ) sometime ago. Banky W advised that I should do a song about rape in Nigeria at that time. He later volunteered to be part of the song. We started working on the song and I guess it was at that point he realized he had to sign me. So far, the journey has been great and a lot of fun. I look forward to more fun moments because as much as it is work, it is also a lot of fun because it is what we love to do."
Shadrach Adeboye (popularly known as Shaydee) is a Nigerian recording artist, singer, and songwriter from Kano State state. He started singing with his friend in secondary school. He produced his first song titled "How Do I Breathe" shortly after meeting Spellz. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ilorin.
|Year||Awards ceremony||Award description(s)||Results|
|2013||City People Entertainment Awards||Best Record Label of the Year||Nominated|
|Act||Year signed||# Albums and other works released
under Empire Mates Entertainment
|Albums and other works released
under the label
|2003||Banky W. - Undeniable EP
|2005||Banky W - Back in the Building
|2008||Banky W - Mr Capable
|2009||Banky W - The W Experience
|2011||Wizkid - Superstar|
|2012||Empire Mates Entertainment - Empire Mates State of Mind|
|2013||Banky W - R&BW
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- Aiki, Damilare (19 June 2013). "Ice Prince, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Sarkodie, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Yvonne Okoro, Tonto Dikeh & BellaNaija Nominated for the 2013 City People Entertainment Awards - See the Full List". Bellanaija. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "EMPIRE MATES ENTERTAINMENT (E.M.E) SIGNS NIYOLA". Hiphopworldmagazine. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "MEET E.M.E’S NEW SIGNING, SHAYDEE". Hiphopworldmagazine. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Skales reveals album title, shoots "Take Care Of Me" video". Vandrusville. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Skales Biography "Raoul John Njeng-Njeng" (Nigerian Music Artist)". Nigerianmusicnetwork. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "VIDEO:Wizkid’s Sophomore Album " Chosen" For Release This October – Banky W". tooxclusive. Retrieved 13 November 2013.