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Musical chairs in production houses

Updated Friday, February 20th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3
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For the past five years, we have seen various local artistes switch producer in search for the perfect hit. But even so, there are those who have remained loyal to their production houses despite the numerous challenges, writes CAROLINE NYANGA

The year 2003 marked the biggest exodus in local production houses after a group of mainstream artistes decided to part ways with Ogopa Deejays, then considered the hottest recording label in East Africa. They included Redsan, Mr Googz, Vinny Banton, Deux Vultures and Longombas. Although Resdan decided to work with producer Maich Black at South West Records, the rest of the team formed Bad Man Camp and worked with producer Mashian among others. But then, hardly a year and a half, Longombas and Deux Vultures decided to return to Ogopa. Vinnie Banton and Mr Googs tried out different tunes with various producers before the later got saved and turned to Gospel music where he sings and has an album.

On the other hand, Redsan chose to build up his career further by establishing his own production house, Dirty Sounds where he produces many artistes.

As if that was not enough, in 2004, Kapuka rappers Habib and Manga quit Ogopa production house over some disillusionment that saw them record a single with Musyoka then at Homeboyz before the duo split.

Other producers Habib worked with included Tedd Josiah, Maji Maji, Philip of Bomba Clan and Ghost.

The years 2005 -2007 witnessed another mass exodus from Ogopa. Those who left included Wahu, Nameless, Big Pin, Mr Lenny and Kleptomaniacs. A few of them are known to be working with the new kid on the block Ulopa.

To date, apart from the few new artistes who signed in 2008, by Ogopa, the only veterans left are songbird Amani and Col Moustapha, one half of Deux Vultures group.

Producer Lucas Bikedo of Ogopa Deejay explains that thehouse has one album contract after which an artiste has to decide whether they want to continue working in partnership with them or not.

"The only person we gave an exception of recording two albums at once was Amani. This is because she proved beyond reasonable doubt that she was serious with music as a career and indeed it has worked for her," says Bikedo.

But Ogopa was not the only production house that experienced the musical chairs. Calif Records famed for Genge music falso suffered the same tragedy when controversial rapper, Nonini, abandoned the recording label in 2004, over what he termed as ‘slow pace’ of doing things.

Soon Circute and Pilipili followed. And mid-last year former Calif Angels Rat-a-tat and Choku left for Herbal Records.

But just like Bikedo producer, Clemo says Calif has a contract, which expires after a certain period allowing an artiste to make up his/her mind on the way forward.

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