No doubt, Empire Mates Entertainment has been one of the biggest makers of good music in the last decade. Banky W, the founder of the label started well by making way for himself first, releasing different projects, and acquiring a huge fan base all by himself. He released Undeniable EP, Back in the building, Mr Capable & the The W Experience, all between 2002 and 2009. He then signed and 2 young talented artistes, Wizkid (a singer) & Skales (a rapper) in 2009. The label grew tremendously at this point. Wizkid became a household name, his songs were getting massive airplays and his fan base started increasing. With the immense support of his mentor Banky W, Wizkid released his first album which became a hit instantly, and still is a classic till today. He went on tours, shows and got numerous awards and while all these was going on, Skales watched from the sideline.
The EME label also had a collaboration album in 2012, added 2 more artistes, Niyola & Shaydee to the team and then a year later got an award for Best Record Label of the Year at the City People Entertainment Awards. Everything was going well, or so we thought, until reports of split between Wizkid and EME started coming out. With the industry still recovering from the Don jazzy x Dban’j split, different speculations started coming in left and right, fans demanding answers, some already choosing sides, gossip blogs adding more fuel to the fire. At the end of the day, Wizkid set up his own label Star Boy Entertainment. And since Wizkid left, there has been little or no movements from the label. It almost feels like EME is now an Empty Music Empire with the remaining artistes under the label struggling to produce something tangible. What went wrong?
When Banky W signed Wizkid and Skales in 2009, expectations were high from both artistes. They were young, hungry, ambitious and good at what they did. But somehow, Wizkid managed to edge over his label mate Skales by a long stretch. Many people were asking questions and comparing both artistes, giving their 2 cents about why one’s career took off and the other remained stagnant. Skales finally aired his frustration in a song titled “Very Soon”, where he explained how he wasn’t getting enough support from his label. More frustrations of no progress later made Skales bow out of his contract. Banky W and the rest of the EME board are to be blamed for the label’s unfortunate drought situation at the moment. I believe the downward progress slope hitting the label right now is as a result of a terrible mistake they made between 2009 and 2013. It is now evident that EME did a terrible job in carrying all their artistes along. No doubt, Banky W struck gold with the discovery of Wizkid and did a good job at polishing his talent but he made a big mistake which was focusing more on the Star Boy who happened to be his money making guru, and milked it with every opportunity he got till there was nothing left. The label wasn’t prepared for Life after Wizkid at all. They never expected the split, they forgot that every apprentice’s goal is to also become a master someday.
Skales is now signed to Baseline records and is surprisingly doing good. He keeps releasing good music after good music. Finally got comfortable in his zone and now dishing out delicious tunes. Would you say he didn’t have all that in him while he was at EME? Or the label just didn’t do enough to polish his talents so as to discover this beautiful side of his music?
And now it is obvious that the remaining signed acts under EME are facing the same predicament Skales was in. It’s been 3 years since Shaydee was signed to EME and in that space of time, he has less than 10 singles of his own in total, three-quarters of which most people don’t even know about. Niyola was also signed in 2012, and in that space of time also, she has less than 7 singles of her own. These numbers are shocking because within 3 years of Wizkid’s career under EME, he has been tied to about 12 awards and 18 nominations.
Maybe this post is coming too early, but these are early signs of doom. We see where Trybe Records ended. They started well and went out in a horrible manner, with each artiste that used to be under the label (K9, Rukus, SoJay, Eva, Sheyman, Aramide) still struggling to pick up what’s left of their dead careers and turn it around. Then again maybe its not too early considering how Don Jazzy turned around his split with Dban’j x Wande Coal by replacing them with younger talents. The likes of Reekado Banks, Korede Bello and Di’Ja. Carrying them all along, and look they are already doing well plus winning awards. Hopefully EME would still be alive and functioning this time next year.