Chocolate City (record label)

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Chocolate City
IndustryEntertainment Media Music
FounderAudu Maikori, Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori
HeadquartersLagos Abuja Nairobi, Lagos, Nigeria
Key people
DivisionsChocolate City Group

Chocolate City is a Nigerian record label founded in 2005 by lawyer Audu Maikori along with Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori. Generally regarded the biggest and most successful indigenous urban record labels in Africa,[1] 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, Stem Marketing and Chocolate City Media.[2] Thursday 28 March 2019, Warner Music Group announced partnership with the Nigerian label Chocolate City. Under the new deal, which was announced Thursday (May 28), Chocolate City artists will join WMG's repertoire and receive the support of the company's distribution and artist services via its independent label services division ADA[3]

The label is home to recording artists such as M.I, Femi Kuti, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, Pryse, Nosa, Jesse Jagz, Victoria Kimani, Dice Ailes, Koker, Ruby Gyang, DJ Lambo, Loose Kaynon, Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari.[4] 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. In 2012, business mogul and philanthropist Hakeem Bello-Osagie joined the board of Chocolate City Group as its chairman. In 2015 artist M.I became chocolate city's president which saw the return of his brother Jesse Jagz.[5]


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 mainstream 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 empowerment.[citation needed]

Under the leadership of MI, Chocolate City had its first ever press conference where every artistes were present to answer questions from members of the press. The press conference was planned to be on a monthly basis but it only had been held once[6]

In March 2019, Chocolate City signed a worldwide distribution deal with Warner Music Group.[7]


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 itself 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 two global awards in the Young Creative Entrepreneurs Series (the first was Lanre Lawal (IYDEY) 2005), after beating nine countries including the Philippines, Latvia, Lithuania, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Tanzania, Egypt and Poland.[8]


Chocolate City was the first Nigerian music company to attain a global music award and recognition by the British Council in 2007: International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) 2007.[8]

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.[9]

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.[8]

Over the years, Chocolate City has set up partnerships with many international and regional creative industry organizations, with affiliates in South Africa, U.K and the US, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the British Council toward promoting and celebrating creativity in Nigeria.[9]

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 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.[10] At the 2011 edition of the aforementioned awards, the record label won the "Record Label of the Year" award.[11]

In April 2015 Maikori stepped down, after 10 years of piloting the affairs of the label and appointed M.I to takeover as the CEO of Chocolate City Music label while Ice Prince became the Vice President of Music for the label [12][13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Artist Roster[edit]


Act Year signed
Femi Kuti 2014[14]

Current artists[edit]

Act Year signed Releases
under the
M.I 2008 7
Nosa 2012 1 [15]
Dice Ailes 2014 [16]
Ruby Gyang 2015 1 [17]
Ckay 2016 1 [18]
Yung L 2017 1 [19]
ClassiQ [20]
Blaqbonez [20]
Street Billionaires [20]

Former artists[edit]

Act Year
under the
Jeremiah Gyang 2005 2010 1 [21]
Jesse Jagz 2010 2012 1 [22]
2015 2017 [23]
Ice Prince 2010 2016 [note 1] 3 [25]
Brymo 2010 2013 1 [26][27]
DJ Caise 2011 2017 [note 2] 0 [29]
Pryse 2012 2016 0 [30][31]
Victoria Kimani 2012 2017 2 [32][33]
Milli 2015 2016 0 [34]
Kahli Abdu & VHS Safari 2015 2016 0 [24]
Koker 2015 2018 0 [35]
DJ Lambo 2015 2019 0 [36]


Year Information
2005 Jeremiah Gyang - Na Ba Ka
  • Released: May 2005
  • Singles: "Na Ba Ka", "Wakar Najeriya", "Gonna Be", "Kasi Tala", "Ban Da Kai"
2008 M.I - Talk About It
  • Released: December 11, 2008
  • Singles: "Safe", "Anoti", "Money", "Teaser", "Crowd Mentality", "Blaze", "Short Black Boy", "Talk About It"
2010 Jesse Jagz - Jag of All Tradez
  • Released: April 20, 2010
  • Singles: "Wetin Dey", "Nobody Test Me", "L-O-V-E U", "Pump it up"
M.I - MI 2
  • Released: November 2010
  • Singles: "Action Film", "Beef", "Undisputed", "Nobody"
2011 Ice Prince - Everybody Loves Ice Prince
2012 Brymo - TheSonofaKapenta
  • Released: November, 2011
  • Singles: "Ara", "Good Morning"
2013 Victoria Kimani - Queen Victoria
  • Released:October 14, 2013
  • Singles:
Ice Prince - Fire of Zamani
  • Released:October 28, 2013
  • Singles:"I Swear", "Gimme Dat", "More", "Aboki"
2014 Nosa - Open Doors
  • Released:March 14, 2014
  • Singles:"Always Pray for You", "Why You Love Me"
M.I - The Chairman
  • Released: October 30, 2014
  • Singles: "Bad Belle", "Monkey", "Bullion Van"
  • Sales certification: 30,000 in pre order sales
2015 Ice Prince - Trash Can
  • Released: January 29, 2015
  • Singles: "Marry You"
Chocolate City - The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation
  • Released: April 30, 2015
  • Singles: "Summer Time", "Suite 99"
2016 Ruby Gyang - This is Love
  • Released: February 29, 2016
  • Singles:"Shakara", "Good Man"
M.I - Illegal Music 3
  • Released: February 29, 2016
  • Singles:"Everything I Have Seen"
Victoria Kimani - Safari
  • Released: December 5, 2016
  • Singles:"Gota", "Giving You"
2017 Yung L - Better Late Than Never
  • Released: October 13, 2017
  • Singles:"Gbewa", "Anya", "Pressure"
2018 M.I - Rendezvous
  • Released: February 9, 2018
  • Singles:"Your Father"
M.I - A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl
  • Released: August 24, 2018
  • Singles:"You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives"


  1. ^ Although Ice Prince's contract expired in 2013, he didn't publicly announced his exit from the label until 2016.[24]
  2. ^ While announcing his exit from Chocolate City, DJ Caise revealed that his deal with the label was basically a joint venture.[28]


  1. ^ Anani, Vincent. "Chocolate City vs. Mavin Records: which label rules the Nigerian Music Industry?". Vanguard Spark.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Akan, Joey. "Chocolate City Record label merges with Loopy Music". Pulse.NG.
  5. ^ "#InCaseYouMissedIt: Hakeem Bello-Osagie joins Chocolate City as group chairman » YNaija". YNaija. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  6. ^ "Chocolate City's Tete-a-Tete With The Media - Tush Magazine". Tush Magazine. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c "Music and money (6:44)". Reuters. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Corporate". chocolatecitygroup. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "BN Bytes: M.I, JahBless, Tiwa Savage, Juliet Ibrahim, Mbong Amata, Samkelf & Halima Abubakar win at the 2011 City People Entertainment Awards". Bellanaija. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  12. ^ "M.I Becomes Chocolate City CEO". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  13. ^ "New Chocolate City CEO and Vice President". Ola Peter. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Nigeria: Chocolate City Signs Femi Kuti". This Day. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  15. ^ Osagie Alonge (25 August 2015). "Chocolate City signs R&B singer Nosa". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  16. ^ Itzea, Netzayet (4 September 2014). "Watch Chocolate City's Newest Signee Dice Ailes' Video For 'Yemisi'". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Power Move!! M.I's Loopy Records in Merger with Chocolate City!". Hype Station. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Chocolate City Music Signs Multi-talented Artiste, Producer and Songwriter Ckay". BellaNaija. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  19. ^ Idoko Salihu (4 May 2017). "Chocolate City Music signs Yung L". Premium Times. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b c Lawani, Tolulope (28 March 2019). "Chocolate City signs partnership deal with Warner Music". The Cable Lifestyle. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  21. ^ "No producer wants a penniless musician – Jeremiah Gyang". Punch. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  22. ^ Showemimo, Dayo (8 April 2015). "3 years after exit, Jesse Jagz returns to Chocolate City". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Why I left Chocolate City – Jesse Jagz". The Punch. 16 July 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Here are 6 artistes who left label in one year". Pulse Nigeria. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  25. ^ Anazia, Daniel (21 May 2016). "Ice Prince floats own record label, confirm split with Chocolate City". Guardian Life. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  26. ^ Olonilua, Ademola (5 May 2012). "Dad was furious about my choice of career – Brymo, Arambe exponent". The Punch. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  27. ^ Ezeamalu, Ben (24 September 2016). "Chocolate City battles Brymo, says N20 million invested on artiste yielded below N3 million". Premium Times. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  28. ^ Temitope Delano (2 February 2017). "I Am No Longer With Chocolate City – DJ Caise". TooXclusive. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  29. ^ "DJ Caise leaves Chocolate City, has the label lost its spark?". African Music Law. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  30. ^ Collins, Tadeniawo (24 February 2012). "Chocolate City Signs First Female Rapper Pryse". Nigeria Entertainment Today. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  31. ^ Adelana, Oludolapo (2 October 2016). "Another artiste, Pryse leaves Chocolate City". YNaija. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Chocolate City signs Kenya's Victoria Kimani". P.M News. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  33. ^ Abubukar, Murtala (19 March 2017). "Victoria Kimani confirms Chocolate City exit". The Cable Lifestyle. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  34. ^ "Rapper addresses split from Chocolate City". Pulse Nigeria. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  35. ^ Olatujoye, Moroti (9 August 2018). "Koker Leaves Chocolate City". Osun Defender. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  36. ^ Ohunyon, Ehis (10 January 2019). "Pulse Exclusive: DJ Lambo steps down as Choc Boi Nation president, leaves label". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 29 March 2019.

External links[edit]