Music Business

Top 8 Nigerian-American Music Collaborations You Should Know

Top8Nigerian-AmericanCollabosNigeria’s contemporary music industry continues to inch forward in a manner that is unequivocally clear it intends to stake its claim on the global music scene. Indeed, from Jay-Z (who has now planted his cousin in Nigeria to source artists for his music streaming service company, Tidal) to the likes of Billboard Magazine, we see more stories in mainstream America about Nigeria’s entertainment industry, its  growth potential; and a handful noses to the ground sniffing hard for the Nigerian entertainment money trail.

For long time AML readers and subscribers, you all know I have made several observations and predictions, over time and prior to the movement we now see. They include:

  • Nigerian music going global;
  • more Nigerian artists collaborating with their American counterparts;
  • more American artists performing in Nigeria;
  • an increase in entrants/players in Nigeria’s music digital distribution space;
  • Nigerian artists becoming better at brand storytelling; and
  • an increase in the need for skilled professionals (primarily entertainment lawyers) as a result of a rise and need for contract review, drafting, negotiations and litigation.

In addition to my anecdotal evidence, there is seemingly credible data substantiating some of my observations. See the 2013 Price Water House Cooper’s (Pwc) report on Africa’s entertainment industry. An excerpt on Nigeria follows:

“Nigeria is one of the most vibrant markets in sub-Saharan Africa. The power of the mobile device as a communications enabler is transforming the continent, and with this transformation in communications, the potential for Nigerian consumers to access entertainment and media in new ways is significant.

Total entertainment and media expenditure in Nigeria will exceed US$9 billion in 2017, representing a 23.7% CAGR between 2013 and 2017. Of this, consumer expenditure will account for 82%, while advertising expenditure will be worth just over US$1 billion in 2017.

The consumer drive for entertainment and media will be compelling in Nigeria, showing a 23.7% CAGR between 2013 and 2017. By far the fastest growth area in consumer spending will be Internet access (at a CAGR of 49%) and driving this surge will be the power of cellular networks in Nigeria.

Internet access in Nigeria, as in all African countries, will be dominated by mobile Internet access. It is no surprise, therefore, that advertisers will look to the Internet as a key medium for access to consumers, alongside TV and B2B publications. Digital media will be a primary source for advertising growth.

Nigeria’s E&M market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 24% in the next five years.

Not only will the Internet be the fastest growth area for expenditure, but it will also be the largest market, worth US$5.6 billion in 2017, ahead of TV (US$1.1 billion) and sports (US$722 million).” 

While you marinate on the aforementioned, you should know that Nigerian artists, like their Asian counterparts (South Koreans), have tried very hard to gain access into mainstream American culture/music fans.  One method they have used and continue to use is collaborations (collabos) with American artists.

Often, the way the collabos work/worked is that the Nigerian artist would shell thousands of dollars to his/her American counterpart to collabo on a song. Rates for this collabo range from $40-000 to $100,000 and sometimes more. Under the terms of what is often a gentleman’s agreement,  there was/is usually no true reciprocity because majority of the time, the American artist the Nigerian artist collaborated with, did nothing more than just appear on the Nigerian artist’s song/video. There was/is no marketing, promotions or even a mention on social media by the American artist to his/her fan base.

Initially, this was okay for the Nigerian artist and fans who were just thrilled that an American celebrity artist would collaborate with that artist. As Nigeria’s industry has become more sophisticated, artists and fans are demanding more. The good thing is we see our American artists now stepping up their game.

As a result, I believe the future looks very interesting because I expect industry stakeholders in Hollywood to begin following the money, very soon. This means for labels who have freely let their artists collabo with Nigerian artists without raising an eyebrow, they will sit up as they see the influence the Nigerian artist actually has and can have.

While we watch as this story unfolds, Check out the top 8 collaborations by Nigerian and American artists I believe you should be aware of. I have also included some non-American international collabos.

~Ms. Uduak

1. Fans Mi by Davido ft. Meek Mill
(Published July 2015 – 2,114,311 views)
(Warning: Strong language used)

2. ‘Number’by Ayo Jay ft. Fetty Wap
(Published July 2015 – 63,252 views)

3. Drake ‘Ojuelegba Remix ft. Skepta
(Published July 2015 – collabo/remix)

4. Ejeajo by P-Square ft. T.I

(Published 2014 – 2,253,289 views)

The Forerunners of the Collabo movement
5. ‘Let Somebody Love You’ by 2Face ft. Bridget Kelly
(Published 2014)

6. P-Square ft. Rick Ross
(Published 2013)

7. D’Banj ft. Snoop Dogg
(Published 2011)

8. 2Face ft. R.Kelly
(Published 2011)

(UPDATE: Folks, I missed the 2Face and T-Pain collabo and one of my AML readers brought it to my attention. Thanks DD. Check out that collabo. )

Rainbow by 2Face ft. T-pain

Other Non Nigerian-American Collabos
Tchelete (Goodlife) by Davido ft Mafikizolo (South Africa)

E No Easy by P-Square ft. Matt Houston (France)

All Eyes On Me by South Africa’s JR & Da Les ft. Burna Boy (Nigeria)
(Published 2014)- Warning Strong Content/Explicit lyrics

Nakupenda by Diamond (Tanzania) ft. Iyanya (Nigeria)

Vex – Emma Nyra, Cynthia Morgan (Nigerians) and Victoria Kimani
(Published Feb. 2015)

Ooh Lala Oui Oui by Kenyan artists Yvonne Darcq ft. Victoria Kimani
The Nigerian global music movement/impact is still at work… Kimani is signed to Nigeria’s Chocolate City.
(Published March 2015)

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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