Kenny ‘Baba Keke’ Ogungbe is the boss of Kennis Music, a foremost entertainment outfit, which was once the most celebrated in the industry. It used to boast of the best acts in the country, Eedris Abdulkareem, 2Face, Tony Tetuila, Kelly Hansome, Azadus, were all on the label.
Unfortunately, the label’s fortune nosedived and they lost all their top stars, including Jaywon.
Baba Keke, whose experience in entertainment spans over two decades has not only made a landmark in his chosen profession but also pioneered hip-hop music in Nigeria.
However, of late, controversies have continued to trail the one time biggest record label in Africa.
Some critics are of the opinion that now that the Nigerian music industry is booming, the artists on Kennis Music are lagging behind in terms of endorsement deals, headlining international shows, awards, etc.
One of the media practitioners in the industry who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “To whom much is given, much is expected.
“Kennis Music had the chance to monopolize the Nigerian music industry till date but they blew their chances based on greed. Most of the artistes that passed through the label always have their fingers burnt. They will give you the platform and the needed fame, but milk you to the last penny.
“Asks artistes like 2Face, Tony Tetuila, Slam, Kelly Hansome, Marvellous Benjy, they all have bad experiences doing business with them. Hardly will you see an established act that would want to have any contractual relationship with them; they have bad records of being a cheat.
“The only artiste making things happen for them of late was Jaywon, and he dumped the label months back when his contract expired. He refused to renew his contract with them upon their pleas. If they had good pedigree, why would he refuse their offer? That is a case for another day.
“Now, they are desperately promoting Joe El to stay relevant.”
The media guru further revealed that; “My brother, I can bet my life with it that if you count top 10 artistes making waves at the moment, none of Kennis Music acts will make the list. Most of their artistes are below average for now.”
Reacting to the grievous allegations, Kenny Ogungbe said; “Artiste/ label relationship is business, even though some people don’t see it like that. The two parties enter into contract agreement. You make sure you do your own part of it while the artiste comes up with his own part. But there are some artistes who are only interested in enjoying your platform because it is good, not minding that it costs the owner a lot to maintain it.
“They come to you with the aim of using it for a while only to dump it later. But the good thing is that we are a lot wiser now.
“The fact is that no artiste has ever left me without finishing his contract, except one or two persons. And one left recently when he is supposed to do three albums but only did one.
“But we are not fighting. I am a disciplinarian. The case is likened to a situation where you hired a contractor on a three-mile road and after paying him, you found out that he only did half kilometre of the road, you will have no other option than to ask for your money back.
“So, in the case of an artiste that was supposed to do three albums but only did one and left, while you’ve already shot a video and promoted it, which is even the most expensive part of the business, the artiste will have to pay for the production of the audio, video as well as its promotion and time before leaving.
“Let me also tell you that there are cases where Kennis Music dumped artistes. So, it is a two-way thing. Both of them have to work hand-in-hand for their future in order to make a success of it.”
When asked why Kennis Music has not be prominent lately, Baba Keke said, “There is something I want to explain to you. When we signed 2Face, Tony Tetuila, Remedies and Eedris Abdulkareem, they weren’t big. The act of growing big is not automatic.
“In Kennis Music, we signed Minjin, Joel, Juke Box, and Femi in 2010. Tell me how many people in this country that have signed four to five people on to their label in one year. They rather sign only one and wait till the person gets big before signing on another one. I know how many record companies that were in existence when we came out but where are they today?
“I don’t want to mention names so as not to present them in bad light. But the good thing is that Kennis Music has its unique way of doing things.
“The truth is that in this world, you get what you deserve or bargain for. If you think you deserve N20 million and nobody is giving you that, will you kill yourself in order to get it? No. The story that artistes on Kennis Music are just being used is not true. I see it as a beer parlour talk. There is no artiste that will allow someone use him and still remain with that person.
“Remember that someone spent money on an artiste when he was nobody. And so, the person that has spent his hard earned money on the artist will like to get it back later. But the unfortunate thing is that a lot of fraudsters and unscrupulous people are coming into it. They will tell you that they want to take an artiste to the next level. They end up buying him a flashy car, like a jeep, not minding the fact that he is not talented. But within two years, you find out that both of them are nowhere to be found.
“There are so many of such people in the industry and there will still be more. So, the story is a mere allegation. But if an artiste feels he’s being given peanut, he should then not sign a contract. You should rather go and look for a way to promote yourself, produce your songs, direct your video and make your life better. But I know you cannot be a boss in this industry in one day.
“Rather, you have to climb through the ladder and while you’re climbing, you still have to work harder in order to achieve what you want so that you are not paid peanuts.
No matter what is being said about Kenny Ogungbe, that doesn’t take away the fact that he has succeeded in etching his name in the world map.