Is it just me or do Nigerian music groups vanish very suddenly? Looking back now, a lot of them felt like they were just auditions or platforms to jump start the solo career of at least one artist in the group. Almost all the music groups in Nigeria follow the same pattern – they start up, make huge waves and then die down completely.
We have had some amazing music groups in Nigeria who did truly great music but soon after, disbanded and were never heard from again. Sometimes, there is that one member of the group that keeps making good music, as in the case of Tu-Baba (Plantashun Boiz) and Kore (Infinity).
What about our music industry does not support the longevity of music groups? Now that I think about it, what about our music industry does not support longevity, period?
Here, from hip-hop masters to R&B maestros, we celebrate the best (now defunct) groups in Nigeria.
1. PLANTASHUN BOIZ: We are grateful to the P.B for giving us TuBaba, but that gift manifested a bit too quickly. The Plantashun Boiz were officially formed in 2000 and disbanded only four years later in 2004. (There was a brief reunion in 2007 but the audience didn’t seem interested). The group split up to work on their solo careers but only TuBaba has been able to successfully pull that off.
2. KUSH: Although the sudden break-up of premium Hip-hop/R&B group, Kush has produced two of our most prolific female artists (T.Y Bello and Lara George), that break-up came waaay too soon. Kush was one of the best things that happened to Gospel music in Nigeria at the time; they were fresh, musically innovative and had an eclectic sound that we really haven’t seen in Gospel music in Nigeria since then. 14 years on and KUSH are still proving themselves irreplaceable.
3. TRYBESMEN: The BBC called Trybesmen “legendary” and legendary they were! This break-up hurts just a little bit more when we think about the current state of hip-hop in Nigeria. As one of the pioneers of the genre in Nigeria, the Trybesmen are very special not only because of the level of their talent but also because they are still one of the few Nigerian artists who found the balance between traditional hip hop music and having commercial appeal/success.
4. RESONANCE-Resonance was a group way ahead of its time. With their obvious musical mastery, stunning vocals and rather impressive lyrical ability, Resonance was non-traditional and defied the rules of what Gospel music was supposed to sound like. Resonance’s debut (and only) album, Chinwe Ike, was massively successfully and is still one of the highest selling Nigerian Gospel albums to date. We waited and waited for a follow-up album or at least a single, but for a while, all was quiet and then just like that, Resonance was gone.
5. STYL-PLUS– Smooth vocals, impeccable harmonies and meaningful lyrics were the signature of Nigeria’s first real R&B group. Styl-Plus produced quality music that could rival even the best foreign R&B groups in the world. They gave us two outstanding albums, one hit single and then broke our collective hearts by completely vanishing from the Nigerian music scene.
6. INFINITY: The guys who gave us Olori Oko had the potential to become one of Gospel music’s most iconic and influential groups. Their blend of traditional Nigerian music and modern rhythms was not just brilliantly composed, it was flawlessly executed. Granted they gave us K’ore, but we honestly wish they had hung in there a little longer than they did.
HONORABLE MENTION: ROOFTOP MC’S