Friday, July 19, 2024

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Mo Hits vs Mavin: How Mavin Records is finding it hard to live outside the shadows of Mo Hits

Despite celebrating its 6th year anniversary recently, music critics continue to assess Mavin Records in the same pedestal as Mo Hits record. There have been different eras that have helped shaped the Nigerian music industry and few have delivered memorable moments as the Mo Hits era in the past and the present Mavin Records.While Mo Hits provided a powerhouse of individuals that consistently delivered on its name, Mavin Records will perhaps earn credit for ushering in a new generation of talents primed for long-term success.That being said, it is no news that records labels are endangered species, not just in Nigeria, but across the world.A large number are shutting up shop and rendered ineffective faster than new ones come up, and at a time when there are barely enough labels to house the unending emerging talents, kudos must be given to those who continue to weather the storm.This is why a name like Don Jazzy remains respected as he has led two major labels since his return to the country in 2004 and 14 years later, the Don still has his head above the waters and maintains a firm grip on happenings on the music scene. Mo Hits vs MavinsIn 2004, alongside D’banj, who was also the first artist signed on the label, the duo set up Mo’Hits Records.The label had a number of family affiliations in D’Prince, brother to Don Jazzy and K-Switch, brother to D’banj, while they went ahead to add former Da Trybe member Dr Sid and Wande Coal to the team.From the first single, ‘Tongolo’, It was evident that a takeover was in the offing and existing labels at the time took note and began to fall in line accordingly.Mo Hits then birthed a number of successful individual albums like D’banj’s No Long Thing in 2005, Rundown in 2006 and Entertainer in 2008.The classic Mushin2Mohits by Wande Coal in 2009 was another game-changer in the history of the label while Dr Sid who had been in the industry longer than the others finally put out his debut album, Turning Point in 2010.But the most definitive project from the label that sealed its nostalgic place in the heart of the fans till date is the Mo’Hits All-Stars compilation album called Curriculum Vitae, which was released in 2007.The album produced five singles in ‘Why Me (Remix)’, ‘Pere’, ‘Ololufe’, ‘Booty Call’, and ‘Move Your Body’. Curriculum Vitae was both a commercial and critical success and till date, songs from the album still holds cultural and pop relevance.Then in March 2012, citing difference in interests, Mo Hits broke up, there was to be no more D’banj and Don Jazzy partnership, the chemistry that kept them going for years was gone, Mo Hits had joined the list of record labels that gave us a good run but exists no more. On May 8, 2012, Don Jazzy announced the setting up of Mavin Records, with names like Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello, Dr Sid, D’Prince announced as the first set of artists.In a similar fashion to Mo Hits, Mavin released the compilation album, Solar Plexus in 2012, a 13 track project that birthed hit records like D’Prince’s, Take Banana and Forever featuring Wande Coal.The album was however was not well received and faced scathing critical reviews, even though Dr Sid insists that the album was years ahead of its time.Mavin has continued to grow in numbers and despite losing Wande Coal in November 2013, Mavin has added Di’Ja, Reekado Banks, Johnny Drille, Poe, and the DNA Twins to the team.Other albums released under the stables of Mavin Records include Frenzy by D’Prince in 2012, Tiwa Savage’s Once upon a Time in 2013, Siduction by Dr Sid, R.E.D and Sugarcane EP by Tiwa Savage alongside Reekado Banks  Spotlight album in 2016, Korede Bello with Belloved and Aphrodija in 2017.Curriculum Vitae vs Solar PlexusPut on the same scale, the Solar Plexus album, while a decent introductory body of work offers nothing close to what Curriculum Vitae brought to the scene.The latter delivered 15 solid tracks, that enhanced not just Wande Coal’s profile as the next big thing but also solidified D’banj as the dominant force on the scene. The album rocked and set trends. Slangs like ‘File’ and ‘Booty call ‘ became new words like in pop culture dictionaries. The Mo’Hits sound changed the game and put the label right at the top of the ladder.While the Solar Plexus album outside further bringing to the spotlight an artist like Tiwa, it failed to leave any concrete impact or impression on the scene.Artist vs ArtistThe combination of D’banj and Wande Coal on its own was like an All-Star assembly ably supported by Dr Sid and D’Prince.The group most times looked more like a unit than a group of individuals and this influenced the oneness in their sound while for Mavin, they have had to go through three different phases, and a shift in direction, which has led to a longer development period for its new artist and diversity in its sound.D’banj was a poster boy in a way that Mavin have yet to develop, with only the success of Tiwa Savage coming close to what he offered, while the likes of Wande Coal, Dr Sid and D’Prince enjoyed the best years of their careers with Mo Hits.Mavin is the present and despite staying vibrant six years after it was created, the jury remains out on its legacy, while the excitement following the news of a Mo Hits reunion, proves that even with a separation that has lasted many years, the label in its original form fully owned the scene in its time, and the magic it created would be hard to replicate.

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