Legal Drama, Music Business

Breaking News: Jesse Jagz Leaves Chocolate City Records Label -Read his Press Statement


Jesse Jagz Leaves Chocolate City RecordsI think half the time when I discuss legal issues or potential ones I foresee that may occur from the contractual relationships industry professionals enter into here on AML, many think I am crazy. On the Nigerian end, they just think I have gone mad. However, note the consistency of the things I discuss becoming a reality.

Further, when you spend the kind of time I have spent litigating issues for parties, putting out or preventing fires, almost on a daily basis, you can see the end result of things before they even happen.

It is no secret Chocolate City is my favorite label out of Africa, however, use the search box on AML to see my many discussions and concerns on Chocolate City, its artists and M.I Abaga’s Loopy Records further complicating things, in my view.

I just got wind of this breaking news below. I am a bit saddened with the news because all is clearly not well. Even if you leave a label, as an artist, you don’t leave this way.

The way Jagz has also dropped this news on us  also calls into question Jesse’s relationship with his brother Jude Abaga, strictly from a business perspective, for now;  and all of the legal rights that flow with all four key parties i.e. Chocolate City, Jesse Jagz, Loopy and M.I in his individual capacity as an artist and co-producer at Chocolate City.

It is very premature to even speak on some of the glaring legal issues, so I’mma wait. Read his release to the press below. I have checked to make sure this release is legitimate. Indeed it appears to be as Ovie O of confirms on NJO’s website he received this exact press statement below directly from the artist:

“To whom it may concern:

I, Jesse Garba Abaga (also known as “Jesse Jagz”) an artist formerly signed to Chocolate City Music label hereby wishes to notify my fans and the general public about my voluntary exit from the label.
After my initial two year contractual agreement with Chocolate City, I do not wish to renew my contract with them and as such have proceeded to continue my music career with my new team at Jesse Jagz Nation. I still maintain a cordial relationship with the management of Chocolate City and my former label mates and I wish them the best in all their future endeavors. Any further information will be passed across through my publicist but until then, have a good day. Look out for my sophomore album JagZNation Vol. 1 coming out in July 2013.

All for the best,
Jesse Jagz.”



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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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  1. MrEbis says:

    There’s definitely a reason behind every move……But Nigerian musicians need to know that starting a record label is no small task.

    Get all the help one can get and take advantage of all the support everyone brings to the table.

    But then, having big dreams and being ambitious is a thing that is free and available to all Men.

    1. Ebis, you are right on there being a reason/motive for the actions taken by Jagz, especially with Jagz choosing to announce his departure on Facebook and do so solo without any statement or backing from CC. It also comes a day after M.I did his so called ‘Chairman’ worldwide google hangout premiere and subsequent release, (under the Chocolate City label (CC)). It sort of steals the thunder from M.I (especially with him wishing his label mates good luck and forming his own record label). Also, Audu & Ice Prince are in the USA or just left the SXSW conference in Austin (en route home to Nigeria). So, the timing is rather interesting.

      In addition to your point, for a rather small industry that is trying to get its footing, both on the continent and in the West, there are way too many breakups and just a deep fragmentation that continues to cut deep into Nigeria’s music ecosystem. It makes negotiating and deal making for people looking to enter our markets or vice versa a bit shaky. Nevertheless, relationships (business in this instance) are very hard, people do want different things and do outgrow each other. It is what it is.


      1. MrEbis says:

        Your quote “People do want different things and do outgrow each other. It is what it is”

        Explains all the break ups, Dbanj/Jazzy, EME/Whizkid, And now ChocCity/Jese Jags.

        In a way we saw a break up in Choc city coming, thot MI was almost out. Jesse Jags have been also quiet for time now.

        I would have thought remaining with Choc city, a label with some good structure on ground and quite posh connects, and learned legally sound, business minded men running it, would be a good platform to launch out to the World.

        But then….Cant say it will be easy for Jesse Jags…

        Talents has its place, But may just not be enough..

        1. Yes. It does. It’s the theme of AML. Breakups will happen. You have two choices: a) nice breakups vs. b) bitter breakups; both of which are directly affected by the kind of legal contractual relationships you enter at the point of the formation of a business marriage. The industry is still growing and very new at this. So, what we see are bitter breakups backed with lack of legal agreements or strong foundational structures.

          Practically every entrepreneur (big or small) out there or persons who have ever gone into business with someone else has gone through many of the experiences some of these brands have. The difference is how these brands and the individuals behind them have handled it. As to the Abagas leaving CC, I have maintained and written about that for a while now. I think M.I is inevitable. From a practical standpoint it makes sense given Loopy. Since Jagz co-founded Loopy, at least that is what I thought happened and is also signed on to Loopy as an artist, I naturally thought the relationship will also end with CC. Where the twist is, is Jagz (forming a ) new record label, or whatever it is he is doing, Jagz’s distancing from CC, Jagz’s “cordial relationship” (with CC) and Jagz wishing his label mates “Ice Prince, M.I Abaga” big names on the CC brand as well as the newbies all the best et al.

          Very strange and shows all is definitely not well both with Jagz and CC and possibly Jagz and M.I. Something is clearly amiss. Let’s wait to see how this story unfolds. I expect major damage control on the part of CC once they figure out what approach they want to take. All very interesting.


          1. MrEbis says:

            Really interesting, thanks for ur time and effort u put in to this…

            keep up the good work…God Bless.

          2. Thanks Ebis.

            Thanks for your comments.


  2. wow says:

    Uduak, Jeremiah Gyang left first. Neither party talks about it in public but that was a bitter falling out and its really hurt his career.

    1. Yes he did. Just like Djinee also left, although it seems on a better note. However, Chocolate City was still building its brand equity and reputation. So, his departure did not necessarily affect the price of bread, for lack of a better word. Jagz is so intertwined with the CC brand and his brother is now said to be VP of CC. A bad look from all angles.

      Thanks for the comment Ms. P.


  3. Frank says:

    I think the current break ups in the Nigerian Music Industry is really sad, I mean i think its not about contracts , I think its all about greed and i can do it by myself. I noticed that Nigerian artist hardly live up to their obligations stated on their contracts. Some artist think with 2 or 3 singles buzzing they believe they have arrived and believe that with buzz alone they don”t need their labels backing, that’s when the devil gets in their ear telling them to abandon their label. I think we need to set up a body that will look into artist abandoning their label for flimsy excuses. How many break ups are we going to have, what label is it going to be tomorrow ??? Break ups are meant to happen but this is getting out of hand. Peace

    1. Frank, I agree. That is why I also added “foundational” structures have to be in place which in my book includes trust and money, the heart of most business breakups. However, to be fair to Jagz, he has been there from the start and I think arguably, he has been taken advantage of both in the marketing and promotions of him whether in an individual capacity as an artist or producer. It’s like he is the background guy, seen but not heard. It looked like he was content with that role, but apparently not anymore.


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