The issue of song ownership and theft is probably as old as the music industry itself. Over the years, quite a number of artistes have had issues with other artistes and even record labels over the rightful owners of certain songs. There is an ongoing controversy over the ownership of a popular song titled, ‘Machala’, and it has attracted several opinions online.
Carter Efe/Berri Tiga (Machala)
Oderhohwo Efe, aka Carter Efe, was more known as an Instagram comedian by virtue of the skits he has appeared in. However, many were surprised when Efe announced the release of a new song, titled, ‘Machala’. He was said to feature an artiste, Berri Tiga.
But, there was some confusion when many listened to the song and discovered that a significant proportion of the song was sung by Berri Tiga. As a matter of fact, Carter seemed to have only featured vocally in the intro.
Since Berri did not cry foul, many felt Carter was indeed the rightful owner of the song and that the duo had a working arrangement. Thus, it came as a shock when it was discovered that the song was taken down from several music streaming platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.
Meanwhile, Efe recently released snapshot of a chat showing Berri Tiga thanking him for the opportunity to feature in the song. Efe also claimed that another artiste, Hotkid, had a verse on the song, but Tiga pleaded with him to yank it off as he felt Hotkid would ‘take the shine’ for the song. He added that Berri was claiming ownership of the song on Instagram, while still thanking him for the opportunity.
According to some reports online, the song allegedly occupied the first position in many of the music streaming sites accessible in the country.
Ay.com/Terry G (Pass Me your Love)
Though both singers— Gabriel Amanyi (Terry G) and Ayoola Johnson (Ay.com) are no longer as popular as they used to be, many can still remember their messy squabble over a song. Some years ago, Ay.com had one of the biggest songs, ‘Pass Me your Love’, in the country. He featured another reigning artiste at the time, Terry G.
However, things went sour between them, with Ay asking Terry to stop performing the song at concerts and other events. According to him, Terry G was taking the shine for the song and performing as if he owned it.
At the height of their spat, Ay once stormed an event where Terry G had performed the song. Taking to the stage, the former said, ““Whenever you are cheated, you have to speak up. Otherwise, you would lose out. What happened between me and Terry G had to happen. I want to explain something to my fans. I composed the song.
“How would you feel that after your hard work, another man is reaping the fruits of your labour? He was performing the song and getting paid. Meanwhile, me as the rightful owner of the house, would be at home doing nothing. I even told me that we should perform the song together whenever he had a show, but he did not listen to me. To all my fans, whenever you see Terry G performing ‘Pass Me your Love’, please stop him, to help the Nigerian music industry.”
However, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH about five years ago, Ay claimed that the matter had been resolved amicably. He said, “Me and Terry G is an old issue, and I don’t really like to talk about it anymore. We are ‘cool’ with each other now. We are colleagues and as regards working with him again, nobody can predict the future.”
Apparently still attached to the song, Ay.com recently released its remix; over 10 years after the first song was released. On the remix, he featured Peruzzi. However, it did not do as well as the original version.”
Tiwa Savage/Seyi Shay (Lova Lova)
For as long as many can remember, there has been no love lost between two female singers— Tiwa Savage and Seyi Shay. Their animosity culminated in showdown at a hair salon. In videos that went viral on the Internet, Tiwa could be seen venting her spleen when Shay walked up to her to greet her.
Savage asked Shay not to greet her, as she knows that she (Shay) does not like and has spoken negatively about her.
Shortly after that incident, Seyi Shay claimed in an interview that she wrote Savage’s verse in a song, ‘Lova Lova’, she was featured on by Duncan Mighty. She also insinuated that Savage had taken certain actions to undermine brand. She said, “This is the same person that took my song, ‘Lova Lova’, which is one of her biggest songs ever. I composed that song with…but when I called her that I co-wrote the song, she said she did not believe what I said, and she refused to compensate me.
“She was the same person who attacked a popular artiste because she featured on my song, after the artiste had featured on her own song too. She also approached a popular brand to withdraw me as their ambassador. All these have been going on for years but I said nothing about it. It is just unfortunate.”
However, the duo appears to have put the incident behind them, as they shared a hug at a concert in December 2021.
It also bears stating that an artiste, Danny Young, once sued Savage to the tune of N200m. According to Young, Savage used some lines from his song, ‘Oju ti ti Won’ in her song, ‘All Over’.
Both parties later settled the case out of court.
Portable/Poco Lee (Zazzu Zeh)
Calling Habeeb Okikiola, aka Portable, one of the most controversial artistes in recent times, will amount to putting it lightly.
Since he became popular in the latter part of 2021, the singer has mostly been in the news for the wrong reasons.
Recall that he came into the limelight with the release of his song, ‘Zazzu Zeh’, on which he featured rapper, Olamide. His fame skyrocketed and he was invited to perform at several shows.
However, the romance between him and Poco Lee did not last for long, as he accused the latter of trying to rip (cheat) him. He claimed that Poco Lee uploaded the song on the Internet, citing himself as the owner.
Shortly after performing at popular singer, Wizkid’s concert in December, Portable made a video to accuse Poco Lee of stealing his song, and the $3,000 sprayed on him on the stage by Wizkid. Speaking in Yoruba, he said, “Wizkid blessed me with $3,000. But Poco Lee, the dancer, picked the money. Out of $3,000, he gave me only $600. I am a street boy. Poco Lee, you did not show love at all. Rather, your intention was to rip (cheat) me. Are you the owner of the song? Why was the song released as ‘Poco Lee featuring Portable and Olamide’; instead of it being the other way round? Are you mad? You had better respect yourself.”
Due to the several controversies Portable has been involved in, Poco Lee has distanced himself from the singer. In a tweet which many believed was targeted at the singer, Lee wrote, “I wish I never took that talkative nuisance out of the trenches.”
2Baba/Blackfaze (African Queen)
Innocent Idibia (2baba, formerly called 2face) and Ahmedu Obiabo (Blackfaze) are both from Benue State, and they used to be members of the same music group, Plantashun Boiz. However, things have seen unravelled between the former friends and partners.
After 2baba went solo with his career, he released a song titled, ‘African Queen’, which remains one of the singer’s biggest songs. It is contained in his debut solo album, ‘Face 2 Face’.
Blackfaze later came out to say that he wrote the song; a claim that 2baba did not dispute.
At a point, Blackfaze took to insulting 2baba at every opportunity he had. This made the latter to sue Blackfaze to the tune of N50m for defamation of character. Though different stakeholders and important personalities have tried to mend fences between the duo, the truce never lasts.
However, in 2019, they both agree to settle the matter out of court. A source close to the duo was alleged to have said, “After the successful mediation, Blackfaze promised not to publicly accuse 2baba again, while 2baba agreed to make all the necessary corrections and amendments that had prevented Blackfaze from receiving royalties.”
Blackfaze even went on to release his own version of ‘African Queen’, but it did not do nearly as well as 2baba’s version.