By Osagie Alonge
NET can authoritatively report that Nigerian rapper Skales has parted ways with record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) following the expiration of his contract a few weeks ago.
The popular label which signed Skales in 2010 has decided not to extend their initial three-year contract with the rapper.
NET reached out to EME boss Banky W who has confirmed the development. ‘Yes it’s true’, Banky told our reporter over the phone.
Both parties have met and reached an agreement, an inside source told NET tonight.
We’re told EME decided not to renew its deal with Skales because they feel it may no longer be a profitable venture.
According to those familiar with the current situation at the Lagos label, the large part of that decision was made, based on the fact that the direction of Skales’ music has considerably changed since he was signed.
‘EME signed Skales as a rapper back then with Wizkid; the plan was to mould him into one of the biggest HipHop acts in Nigeria, you know something like a younger M.I’, a source close to both parties tells us.
It wasn’t long until Wizkid blew in 2011 and the EME trio of Banky, Wizzy and Skales went on several tours – that’s when Skales style of music began to change, morphing him into a more Pop act.
‘Skales wanted to change, them Banky wouldn’t allow it but he was insistent. He saw how Wizkid was getting love and so he was pressured to do Pop music rather than rap’.
In November 2011, Skales released his first official single off the label titled ‘Mukulu’, which saw him ditch his Hip-Hop sound for Pop music.
‘It’s not like he was great at it but Skales was so determined to do the kind of music Wizzy does. Banky and co didn’t want to stop him so they let him run with it, in fact they supported him all the way’.
‘They’ve spent millions on him and haven’t gotten anything back. Signing a new deal with him won’t be smart of them to do. I can’t blame them’.
But another source argues that EME have nobody but themselves to blame for the situation. ‘If they signed Skales as a rapper why didn’t they insist that he keep on that path?’.
NET investigations reveal that while Skales has left the label, he is still quite determined about his music career as he plans to release his long awaited debut ‘All of the Above’. The 21-year-old Edo State-born, Kaduna State raised youngster is currently working with M.et.al Management, the same talent company that discovered him and got him the EME deal in 2010. M.et.al is strongly affiliated with EME.
Skales recently released a new song ‘Very soon’ where he details his issues with EME; ‘…Even the click wey I dey, they tolerate me, they say I too scatter, dem need to co-ordinate me/dem sey dem no like my style, money no dey enter to make them smile, everyday controversy just dey pile/I never make even though I’ve been here for a while’, Skales raps.
NET has also learnt that EME has planned a ‘package’ for the rapper to make things easy as he starts a new chapter in his career. ‘They got him some money to run his own team, that’s the best they could do, they are still cool’.
All attempts to reach Skales proved abortive as his manager Osagie Osarenkhoe of M.et.al has not responded to our calls or replied our text messages. Skales has also refused to respond to our text messages or pick up our calls.
EME in February 2013 faced a similar situation when a prized act at the label Wizkid threatened to walk out of his contract. He later reconciled with the label, honouring his contract.
Skales isn’t the only one who’s parted ways with his label in recent times; the likes of Pop singer Wande Coal (formerly with Mavin Records) and Jesse Jagz (formerly with Chocolate City) have in the past few months left the labels too.
EME is now home to only label head and R&B singer Banky W, Pop singers Wizkid, Shaydee, disc jockey DJ Xclusive and rising female artiste Niyola.