Many of them started like the parabolic mustard seed, took the music scene by storm, bloomed, grabbed the attention and affection of fans with their melodic voices and moving lyrics, then, just when the people were asking for more, friendships turned sour and each went his separate way.
This is the typical story of musical groups that the Nigerian music industry has been blessed with. Once upon a time, they worked together, but rifts between members of iconic groups – from Styl-Plus to The Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, and others – have led to dramatic separation, breaking the hearts of fans who once adored them.
Here are 10 of these musical groups that broke up.
The R&B musical group, which started out in Abuja in 1997, was originally known as STYL which was the abbreviation of the first names of the four founding members – Shifi Omoefe, Tunde Akinsanmi, Yemi Akinwomi and Lanre Faneyi. Lanre Faneyi died in 1998 and Zeal Onyecheme joined the group to replace him, which led to the change of name to Styl-Plus.
The songsters were known for their crooning love songs and were especially popular with young university students who felt they presented a true depiction of their lives and struggles.
In 2002, Yemi Akinwonmi left the group, making the group a trio – Shifi Omoefe, Zeal and Tunde. They were responsible for the smash hits, ‘Olufumi’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Iya Basiri’ and ‘Imagine That’.
According to informationng.com, repeated attempts to get the group to relocate to Lagos were responsible for the breakup of Styl-Plus. Some members wanted to move but others refused. However, members later admitted that they had known for a long time that their brand was no longer formidable but were not willing to go down without a fight.
In 2018, it became known that Tunde also went ahead to pursue a solo career in 2012, leaving Shifi and Zeal.
Nigeria lost one of history’s most popular mainstream Afrobeat acts in 2012 after co-founder and producer Don Jazzy announced their split on social media after close to 10 years in the game. The group consisting of Don Jazzy, D’banj, Ikechukwu, Wande Coal, Kayswitch and Dr SID cited irreconcilable differences as the cause of their split. Some of their best songs were ‘You bad’, ‘Booty call’, ‘Pere’, ‘Be close to you’, and ‘Ten Ten’. The first album released by the label was D’banj’s ‘No long thing’ in 2005. The label also released a compilation album called Mo’Hits All Stars in 2017 and many of its singles proved to be national hits like ‘Fall in Love’ and ‘Mo Gbono Feli Feli’.
The group had a brief comeback when they performed together for the first time since the split at Davido’s “30 Billion Concert” on December 27, 2017.
They have since pursued solo musical careers and they now own successful record labels.
Plantashun Boiz was a formidable group in the music industry made up of Innocent Idibia aka Tuface, Chibuzor Oji aka Faze, and Ahmedu Augustine Obiano aka Blackface. This R&B, Hiphop group was regarded as one of the most prominent music groups of the decade.
The group released three albums together and is remembered for songs like ‘Say you believe me’, ‘You and I’, and ‘Plantashun Boiz’. Their songs sold out like wildfire, they took the Nigerian pop sound to gain significant airplay in radio stations like never before, practically becoming a blueprint for making the music as commercially viable as possible, but the group split in 2004.
In 2016, Blackface who, according to Faze, wrote almost all the songs on their debut album, accused 2face of causing the breakup. On 25 January 2016, Blackface lashed out at 2face and his manager in a series of tweets, accusing them of stealing his intellectual property and threatened to take them both to court. 2face later responded, describing Blackface’s statements as ‘unfortunate’.
2face or 2Baba has gone on to become a legend of African contemporary music, releasing four multiple award-winning albums – ‘Face2Face’ (2004), with the hit song ‘African Queen’ kick-starting his journey to become one of Africa’s biggest entertainers, ‘Grace2Grace’ (2006), ‘The Unstoppable’ (2008) and ‘The Unstoppable – International Edition (2010)’. In 2019, he collaborated with other well-known artistes like Cohbams Asuquo and Timi Dakolo and released a song of awareness of the rights of children. Upon leaving the music label Kennis Music after the release of his second solo album, he set up his own record label known as Hypertek Digital.
Faze, for his part, is one of the biggest selling Nigerian artistes of all time. As at March 2010, Faze was the first artiste to ever have all three albums released go platinum in Nigeria’s music history. He was named Nigeria’s third best music idol by Vanguard Newspaper for the Year 2008, Faze released three albums: Faze Alone (2004), which sold over 3 million units after its release, Independent (2006), this second album holds the record for fastest sale before release date with over 1 million pre-orders, it is also referred to as one of Nigeria best R&B album ever and Originality (2008).
Blackface released the hiphop album ‘Ghetto Child’ (May 2004), collaborating with several artists. He also recorded a full album for his crew D Tribunal called What We Are, after Ghetto Child he released other songs. But he is best known as the co- writer with 2face, of the song “African Queen”, he changed his style of music from RnB to Reggae music which also gave him a lot of street love and recognition.
The history of the Nigerian music industry cannot be complete without the P-square chapter, which started in 2001. The twins Peter and Paul Okoye are practically a reference point in Nigerian urban music and pop culture, and their huge influence extends into many African countries. P-square released six albums in their music career including ‘Get squared’ (2005), ‘Game over’ (2007), ‘Danger’ (2009), ‘Invasion’ (2011) and ‘Double Trouble’. They also featured a plethora of foreign artistes like Rick Ross, T.I., Akon, etc.
The brothers fell apart in 2017 after Peter made some allegations against Paul and older brother and group manager, Jude, over threats to his life and wife. Both brothers went their separate ways, but they didn’t abandon music as they went solo with new names, Rudeboy and Mr P.
Four years after they disbanded, the duo reconciled, embracing each other after many years of messy controversies that hurt their colleagues and fans alike. The relief their reconciliation brought to the fans was unexpected as many trooped to welcome the duo back. After their return, the brothers dropped a party banger, ‘Jaiye’, and promised to make more songs.
With hit songs like ‘Shakomo’ and ‘Omoge’, The Remedies consisting of Tony Tetuila, Eedris Abdulkareem and Eddie Remedy were quite famous in the 90s. They even had a deal with Kennis Music, Nigeria’s biggest record label at the time.
The group, however, fell apart in the early 2000s due to irreconcilable differences after they managed to release one album together, ‘Peace Nigeria’. Thereafter, the members pursued their solo careers.
Tetuila became popular for tracks such as ‘Omode meta’, ‘Morning time’, ‘Hit my car’, and ‘My Heart go Jigijigi’. He’s still an actor and currently owns a realty company, Tetuila Homes and Property.
Eedris Abdulkareem stayed in the limelight for songs like ‘Oko Omoge’, ‘Mr Lecturer’ and ‘Jaga-jaga’. He owns his own record label, Lakreem Music.
Unfortunately, Eddy Remedy lost out of the limelight but dropped two hits, ‘Arrival’ and ‘Chorongi’, in 2004.
This Nigerian duo broke out after they won the maiden edition of the Star Quest TV show in 2002. They made an impact on the Nigerian music scene by singing songs that fused highlife, soul, punk, and R&B. They gave Nigerians hits like ‘Shokori Bobo’, ‘Siongpo’ and ‘National cake’.
After 12 years together, Kingsley Okonkwo aka Kcee and Precious John aka Presh decided to pursue solo careers in 2011. There were numerous reports concerning the split, but the two have said in various interviews that they just wanted to go their separate ways. Today, Presh is battling to relaunch his career while Kcee is doing well in the industry. He has a record deal with Five Star Music. He worked with Del B, a record producer known for producing the song ‘Limpopo’. He has produced albums like ‘Takeover’ (2013) and ‘Attention to Detail’ (2017). His first single ‘Sweet Mary J’ was released in 2019. In June 2023, he released a new hit single, ‘Ojapiano’. Kcee has been active in the music industry from 2013 till date.
Ego and Lagbaja
Ego Obaro and Bisade Ologunde, popularly known as Lagbaja, were an evergreen duo with different sounds and styles. Ego Obaro with her unique vocals and Lagbaja with his masked identity and saxophone skills ruled the airwaves. Together they gave us evergreen hits, including ‘Konko Below’, ‘Nothing for You’, and ‘Never Far Away’.
In 2007, however, Ego left Africano (Lagbaja’s band) to pursue a solo career. She later formed a band called Indigo.
After she left Lagbaja’s band, she collaborated with artistes like Sunny Neji, Djinee, Tosin Martins, Ayanbirin and Blaise, among others. She has also performed with Weird MC, Asa, Cobhams Asuquo and Yinka Davies.
Ego Obaro significantly returned to our screens starring alongside Yomi Fash in Showmax’s Telenovela Series ‘Wura’.
Lagbaja, now 63, is still a performing act and appears occasionally to thrill fans with his melodious tunes.
Adegbite Adeniran (ADX) and Tomomewo Olakunle (Ice-K), who both hail from Illorin, made up the combo called Artquake. The duo, famous for the dance song ‘Alanta’, gained prominence in Nigeria’s music business in the late 1990s. They managed to stay relevant with features on new artistes until some misunderstandings led to their split in 2018.
The group still retains the name Artquake alongside their individual names. However, they have each ventured into business while claiming to be performing artists. Ice-K is the CEO of Ice Empire Investments Ltd, a short-let apartment service and real estate provider.
Also known as Da Trybe, they are often described as one of the pioneers of hiphop in Nigeria. This group had three initial members Eldee, Kaboom, and Freestyle. They were later joined by OlaDele and TKO. Their first album, ‘L.A.G Style’, released in 1999, garnered several reviews. They were known for their first hit singles ‘Trybal Marks’ and ‘Shake Bodi’.
After the group broke up in 2004, Eldee and Freestyle went on their solo career. They reunited to perform at an awards ceremony in Abuja 2009.
At present, Eldee (Sikirullahi Olanrewaju Dabir) has quit music and relocated abroad. Freestyle, now known as Mista Styles, owns a record label, Evoke Musik. In October 2022, he announced he is set to return to the music scene. Kaboom is married and runs a session on social media called Hip Hop History with KB.
Commonly known as The Boys from Ibadan, Olu Maintain, Tolu Ogunniyi and Big Bamo ruled the Nigerian music scene with hit singles like ‘I Catch Cold’ and ‘Nibo la wa gbe lo’. They released six albums between 1998 and 2004.
The group split in 2004 and each went on a solo career. Olu Maintain rose to prominence in May 2007 with the release of the hit song ‘Yahooze’ and a second album, ‘Maintain Reloaded’ (2008). He featured Big Bamo in the single ‘Kowonje’.
Big Bamo released ‘Fi jo ko wo je’ and ‘Popotiti’, while Tolu focused on his banking job.