Music Business Falling Out: M.I Abaga Allegedly Unhappy with Kemi Adetiba Over ‘Bullion Van’ Music Video

MI Abaga v Kemi Adetiba Bullion Van 2
In case you missed it, M.I Abaga recently released a music video for his latest single ‘Bullion Van.’ Also, in case you missed it, M.I Abaga is aggressively marketing his song and music video on blog sites like Linda Ikeji and Bella Naija. A bit peculiar some may say.

Why? Well, for many years now, M.I Abaga has historically not had to do much on the marketing and promotional front before fans came crawling. This meant he typically did not engage in the kind of aggressive online marketing and promotions we are now seeing him do on some of Nigeria/Africa’s leading blogs. Therefore, his current strategy is, arguably, an indication that he is at the crossroad of the maturity/decline stages of his music career, in the African space that is. It is certainly up for debate, so let’s have one in the comment section or you can catch me on my social media pages or AML’s.

When an artist reaches the tail end of the maturity into early decline stages of his/her career, it typically translates to the fact that the artist has to work much harder for fans and the media to take notice. Given the long time lapses from when a single or album is released by many of our Nigerian artists before we hear a new track or album from them, it is no surprise that fans do end up looking somewhere else after such prolonged periods. However, in M.I’s case, especially where the continent is concerned, time will tell. Suffice it to say, for now, that it has indeed been many years that we have seen M.I. advertising, on this kind of aggressive level, on blogs/websites.

M.I Abaga, in my view, still has a lot of talent to share with the world, especially outside of the continent, and I hope he gets to do so. I do believe that as an artist, he has become quite comfortable/complacent.

In any event, on the heels of an aggressive marketing to remind/re-introduce himself to his Nigerian and African audience of his relevance, we hear of an alleged dispute between Kemi Adetiba, a Nigeria and New York based music video director, and M.I Abaga.

Kemi Adetiba is someone who I have said is one of the few music video directors in Nigeria’s music industry who actually understands the art of story telling. It would seem to me, therefore, that she would be a fit to work with M.I to help rebrand, repackage and reposition him in this later years of his career. Apparently that is not the case. According to the latest report by, considered a credible source for Nigerian entertainment news within and outside the country, an alleged dispute arose between Adetiba and M.I Abaga over her music video creative services. You will get to read excerpts from the reported story soon.  Just before you do, a few tips for you AML artists.

Ms. Uduak Music Business Tips

  1. There is nothing unusual about an artist not liking the direction a music video director is going on a project. The trick is communication and tuning into the personalities you are dealing with, on both sides, to get to where you are trying to go, especially if you respect each other’s creativity.
  2. If you have an artist and director that are both strong headed people, there is bound to be a clash. Therefore, make sure you choose a personality that is a good fit to work with you and your temperament. For example, just because “everybody” uses music video director Clarence Peters is not a sound reason to use him. He must be a fit with your personality and your vision for the kind of music and genre you create. Absent fitting those criteria, you should take your business to someone that is a better match.
  3. If you are an artist who has to micromanage every aspect of a director’s job, and do not share his/her vision in interpreting your vision for your work, your relationship will not work. Let go of the need to control everything. Choose the person most compatible with you and your vision, make your vision explicitly clear, give direction, and then get out of the way so they can get the job done.
  4. If you are a music video director whose services are retained by an artist, you don’t get to run off and do your own thing even if that is your typical modus operandus with every client. You are getting paid for this which means you have a client to answer to. Every client is different plus the client’s vision is what matters, in the final analysis. Satisfying that client’s specifically delineated needs is what matters. Also, don’t cut corners or do friendship with business. Charge what you are worth while you are at it. Often, you may find that you discount your services when you weren’t even asked to do so, and then you have growing or deep resentment when you are asked by that client to amend or modify the project, yet again.
  5. If you are a music video director and can’t take basic instructions on the vision an artist has for his/her work, it again will not work. You work for the artist, albeit it is or should be a commissioned work, when you are retained to create a music video.
  6. Finally, disputes happen all the time in business. For both the artist-entrepreneur and the music video director entrepreneur, you cannot both be absolutely 100% right. Even if you are, it does boil down to communication. There is always room for improvement. The industry is super tiny. Paths do cross, all the time. So, sit down, work it out and get on with the business of music. This actually applies to all creatives and creative entrepreneurs.

In case you missed it, listen to my discussion on Leadership Personality on this week’s AML podcast episode below where I get more into personality compatibility. Also, folks, tell me your thoughts on the alleged dispute between M.I Abaga and Kemi Adetiba, as reported so far.

AML 059: Ask Ms. Uduak: What is Your Leadership Personality?
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MI Abaga v. Kemi Adetiba

“The Story 

When Choc City rapper M.I Abaga dropped the video for ‘Bullion Van’ off his last album ‘The Chairman’, yesterday, Nigerians wondered why the director’s credit went to MEX. Why? In January 2015, we told you M.I was shooting the Bullion Van video with Kemi Adetiba. NET investigations reveal that the rapper and his Chocolate City team were far from pleased with the outcome of the video shot by Kemi Adetiba. The rapper decided not to release the video. ‘He wasn’t pleased at all’, a member of his team told our correspondent. ‘He had to fund a new video entirely and we settled for Mex’.

It’s not the first time an artiste will be upset about the outcome of visuals by Ms Adetiba, who studied film-making in the US. But the multi-talented lady has had a string of impressive works to cancel any doubts about her skills. ‘It just wasn’t her kind of video’, one industry source told THENETNG; concluding, ‘I was surprised when I first heard she was chosen to shoot Bullion Van’. We are told M.I Abaga and Kemi Adetiba are not in talking terms. We couldn’t immediately confirm if she was paid in full…” has the full story.

M.I Abaga in an interview discussing working with Kemi Adetiba on ‘Bullion Van’ video

Kemi Adetiba’s post on Instagram announcing work on M.I’s ‘Bullion Van’s’ video
Kemi Adetiba Announces Work on Bullion Van

M.I Abaga track perfect for this post has to be ‘Human Being’ ft. 2face & Sound Sultan


Africa Music Law™

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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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