Nigeria’s Chocolate City record label expands

Chocolate City, the record label headed by rapper MI Abaga, has announced the acquisition of two imprints. The labels are owned by Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz.

Jesse Jagz, MI Abaga, Ice Prince.
Jesse Jagz, MI Abaga, Ice Prince.

The announcement was made at a press conference organised by the label, presumably to treat rumours of dissatisfaction within the label. The rumours were not unfounded as Ice Prince, a childhood friend of the Abagas, released a video without the Chocolate City logo. Instead the 'Oleku' singer used ‘Super Cool Cats’, which was later declared to be a new record label formed by Ice Prince after his contract with Chocolate City ended. For his part, Jesse Jagz's label JagzNation label is perhaps a response to his departure from the label a few years ago before returning to Chocolate City last year.

Abaga has said the new labels do not destroy the relationship with both Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince, The goal, to him, is to keep the Company’s relationship to the rappers and give ensure they both get a chance to explore their cretitivity.

Previously Ice Prince's manager had announced his artist's break with Chocolate saying, "Just like everything in life, growth happened, there was a rise in his profile that has necessitated a rise in financial value.

"And it is very expensive for any label in Nigeria to afford and it didn’t make sense to attempt to stretch the company that far. But the last three years has been very cordial. We chose to stay with the label even without signing papers because we understood the essence of loyalty, we are matured and we are one big family. So let me clarify once again that no one walked out of a contract, Audu [founder of Chocolate City and former president] will always remain his godfather and MI Abaga will always remain his mentor."

However, according to the press conference, Super Cool Cats is now an imprint under the Chocolate City record label. Abaga said it was a situation akin to that between American rapper Eminem’s Shady Records and the bigger Aftermath Entertainment owned by producer Dr Dre.

“Super Cool Cats is beyond a music label,” said Ice Prince, “as we are already working with fashion designers, video directors etc. It is in fact a full platform for different expressions of the arts.”

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