Learn from Olamide: Open letter to Phyno

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by Kosi Ugo

Dear Phyno,

You made many of us love Igbo rap. Even though you
seem to have deviated from pure rap to highlife, we still love you
regardless; because just like you said on a verse in the song local
rappers; “Punchline doesn’t give money.”


I’ve followed you,
right from the time you released multiply, to one of the best albums
released in Nigeria that year, “no guts, no glory,” to other numerous
tracks… I’ve followed and worshipped you religiously like a god.

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In your song “Ichoriya,” I remember MI’s verse on it.

“Ice Prince got the North, Olamide got the west, Phyno’s got the east…”

While I might not have agreed with MI’s claim of Ice Prince ruling the
North, but It’s not a hidden fact that you and Olamide rule the East and
West cardinal points of Nigeria – you both are Kings and people look up
to you.

That’s why your loyal fans felt really bad that you sat
on your throne enjoying the benefits that comes with being a ruler,
while your counterpart, Olamide from the West was busy grooming artists
and making them chiefs — the likes of Lil Kesh and Adekunle Gold were
groomed under Olamide and they went on to shake the Nigerian music
industry during their spell with YBNL.

You, Phyno, sat there
doing nothing. It could be argued that you signed Runtown, but we all
know you did little or nothing to help or boost Runtown’s career when he
was in Penthauz. Or should we talk about Flipboy and Stormrex? I don’t
think we should.

Apart from those your earlier signess, you
didn’t sign anyone again for a couple of years. YBNL had artists other
than Badoo pushing the label forward, but Penthauz had only you.

You could imagine our surprise when we heard you signed a young,
talented act, Rhatti. We were all happy! As a matter of fact, the day I
saw you post the news on Instagram, I called my friends to tell them
about it, and they too were happy. At least, you were beginning to
recognize people from Anambra, the city you once lived in.

should also be noted that rumour had it that Olamide was the one who was
supposed to sign Rhatti, but he pushed him over to you, because he felt
he’d do better under you as someone who could rap both in Igbo and

Then you wowed us all again by signing Superboy Cheque
and Nuno – bunch of talented boys who had great potential energy, and
needed only kinetic energy to push them forward.

You, phyno was supposed to be the energy required to set these boys in motion.

After the song Nyem Space, where you featured all three, we haven’t
heard anything captivating from your boys again. It’s as if you left
them to fend for themselves after that.

I happen to Know Rhatti
on a semi-personal level and I cry whenever I see him. Dante is a pure
genius and one would think signing under you would have influenced his
career, but I don’t think there’s any difference. He still chatters Keke
to go for shows. He doesn’t have anything to boast of, except having to
lodge in one hotel or the other after being begged to perform for free
at shows.
Not one notable producer has produced any of his songs; he still has to rely on his local producers for that.

Phyno, you should be ashamed at yourself for that video of “Hustle oh”
he released with BK Gram – a miniature video that looks like it was shot
with an Infinix camera.

Your other signee, Superboy Cheque is
even more talented than Rhatti! Anyone of you who listened to his fuck
you challenge cover would testify to that. Eva adores him and was so
much impressed with the cover, that she had to confess and said she was
his greatest fan.
Where is Superboy Cheque today? A genius wasting somewhere!

I don’t even want to talk about Nuno!

You’re my next door brother, Phyno. Your village, Umujago isn’t far
from mine. But, I must tell you the truth; a leader is someone who
carries his subjects along. A Leader is someone who makes sure his
subjects are doing fine. If you knew you won’t carry these boys along,
then why sign them?

Let me even ask; was there even a contract?
‘cus it doesn’t even seem as if there was. If there was a valid
contract, you’d have pushed these boys up so you can gain back the money
you’ve invested in them. You make it seem like you attached them to the
label and not that you signed them.

My quick advice:

“Learn from your brother in the west. He his a leader who has carried
and continues to carry his subjects along… The likes of Lyric and
Fireboy wouldn’t have gotten to this point they are today, if Olamide
only cared about himself.

My name is Kosi Ugo, hate me or like me, I just like to say it the way it is.

Written by Kosi Ugo

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