I remember back in the early 2000s when I released my very first rap single titled “How Far”, that music did not go anywhere because there was no record label that was creating any opportunity for upcoming rappers like us back then.
It was that time that 2baba, who was then known as “2face Idibia” had just signed a record deal with Kennis Music and his single “African Queen” was enjoying the airwaves.
Another artists that was also making waves alongside 2face was the Ajegunle reggae duo of Mountain Black and Mad Melon who were then known as the Danfo Drivers. It was in their record label “Cornerstone Records” in Ajegunle that I recorded that my single ‘How Far”.
And since Cornerstone records were not signing rap artists, my next pot of call for a record deal was Kennis Music, but when I went there they said I should pay 60,0000 (sixty thousand Naira) for the recording of a 4 track which they referred to as single in their label.
But since I did not have such amount of money, I decided to pursue an independent career in music.
I am telling you this brief history so you could understand that I have been an eye witness to the beginning of the record label business in Nigeria, and in this article, I am going to reveal to you the first record label in Nigeria in order to help you understand how far Nigeria has gone when you consider the number of the record labels we have today.
The first record label in Nigeria.
The first record label in Nigeria is known as Kennis Music which was founded in the late 1990s by a Nigerian radio DJ who goes by the name Kenny Ogungbe. No wonder why the company’s slogan is The company’s slogan is “Africa’s No 1 Record Label”.
So ffar so good, Kennis Music has been estimated to release ovver 75 albums and has a record of signing almost 90% of the big arrtists in Nigeria between 1995 and 2005.
In the 90s, Kennis music signed the rap group known as “Remedies” which comprised of the artists Eedris Abdulkareem, Tony Tetuila and Eddy Remedy who was also known as Eddy Montana.
However, when the group broke up, Kennis music will still go on to sign their members Tony Tetuila and Edris Abdulkareem as independent artists. Under Kennis Music, Tony Tetuila released his debut album which was produced by Paul Play and Eedris Abdulkareem also released his consecutive 2002 albums, P.A.S.S and Mr Lecturer.
It is worth mentioning at this point that both Tony Tetuila and EEdris Abdulkareem were having beef all those while and it was said that the beef inspired the release of those two albums by both stars. That same year, Tony Tetuila also released his sophomore album, My Car.
The same incidence that occured with Tony Tetuila and Eedris Abdulkareem also occured with the group “Plantashun Boiz” which had 2face Idibia, Face and Blackface as the members.
As time went by, Kennis Music will expand it’s signees to artists like Rasqie, Azadus Marvelous Benji, Maintain, Olu Maintain, Paul Play etc. In the late 2000s, the label then signed Blackface’s producer, Kelly Handsome while Abdulkareem made a comeback.
There was a time that every Nigerian would think that every new artists that becomes successful in the music industry was signed to Kennis music. The last album released on the label was a Joe-EL Amadi album in 2015.
Artists who are currently signed to the record label includes:
- Eedris Abdulkareem
- Joe EL
While former members are:
- K.C. Presh
- Late OJB Jezreel
- Mike Aremu
- Tony Tetuila
- Bola Abimbola
- Capital Femi
- Goldie Harvey
- Baba Dee
- Late Sound Sultan
- Kenny Saint Brown
- Sir Shina Peters
- Oladele Delux
- Don Akingb
The CEO of Kennis Music.
Kehinde “Kenny” Ogungbe was born on 10th September, 1970 and is known to be a Nigerian DJ, music producer, television presenter and music executive. He is the founder and CEO of the Nigerian record label Kennis Music, and together with Dayo “D1” Adeneye, they both own Kennis 104.1 F.M, in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Kennis was the host of the music programme kknown as AIT Jamz, which used to be aired on AIT in the late 90s, later it catapulted to PrimeTime Jamz on NTA.
In 2012, he was appointed Managing Director of Raypower FM. and he is also Non Executive Director, DAAR Communications Plc.