Styl-Plus, Remedies, and Trybesmen – Death Of The Revered Hip-hop & R&B Music Groups
It’s a paradox that all the most cherished Hip-hop and R&B music groups that once held sway in the Nigerian music industry have all gone into extinction. Music groups were like the mecca of sorts where most artists sharpen their craft to become the most revered musicians. In the era where collective glory was a valued achievement, it was trendy to be a member of a music group. In this editorial, I will try to go down memory lane to talk about music groups like Styl-Plus, Remedies, Trybesmen, Maintain, Krazee Kulture and Def ‘O’ Clan to name but a few. Their achievements are groundbreaking. They individually at different times shaped pop culture narratives. Their songs made us fall in love. Through fashion and lifestyle, they made us felt witty like our foreign hip-hop and pop music heroes.
Words by Sesan Adeniji
Styl – Plus
The mention of the name of the music group Styl-Plus evokes some of the most beautiful memories in the history of the Nigerian music industry. By the time Styl-Plus (Shifi Emoefe, Tunde Akinsanmi, and Zeal Onyecheme) came of age with the release of their debut double singles titled “Olufunmi” and “Runaway” in late October 2003, they broke all records and re-wrote history. Both songs made it to MTN Y’hello music chart as the number #1 and #2 respectively – they remain the music group with the most requested double singles in the same period. Without music videos for both songs, yet, Styl-Plus became the most booked artists – which in reality were contrary to the way the music industry worked back then.
Those boys produced magic. By the time the music videos finally made it out, they altered history – both visuals were groundbreaking. Likened to the American music group Boyz II Men, Styl-Plus became a phenomenon bigger than music; their brand became the number one pop-culture symbol. Their 2006 debut album titled “Expression” and the compilation music video CD became one of the highest-grossing Nigerian R&B pop albums of all time. With all the problems synonymous with music groups affecting them, they went ahead to release another album titled “Back and Better” in 2008. Before one of the members exited in 2012, the group had struggled to attain its former glory to date.
The rise of the music group Remedies with members name Eedris Abdulkareem, Eddy Montana and Tony Tetuila was pivotal. They were so critical to the growth of Nigerian Hip-hop and pop music, so much so that their breakup left a sour taste in the mouth. With the release of their debut double singles titled “Judile” and “Shakomo“, they catapulted their careers into the arenas of the great musicians in the history of the music industry. With the songs on the lips of every young music fan, each member of the group Remedies moved from being cult heroes to the country’s urban music poster child. Even though Tony Tetuila, one of the members of the group exited due to irreconcilable differences in 1998, Remedies (Eddy and Eedris) released their debut album titled “Peace Nigeria” in 1999. That album included the crossover-hit singles like “Jealousy“, “Belinda” and “Sade“. Much later, the two remaining members broke up to chase solo glory. For the record, Eedris Abdulkareem and Tony Tetuila had a tremendous solo career with record-breaking hit singles recorded to their names.
In continuation of this conversation regarding music groups, it will be disrespectful not to mention the rap group Trybesmen – one of the pioneering Hip-hop groups alongside the group Def ‘O’ Clan (with singles like Kilonso) that came before them. Trybesmen (Eldee, KB and Freestyle) were game-changers. They released their first hit single “Trybal Marks” in July and the second “Shake Bodi” in September, both in 1999. “L.A.G Style”, their debut album is a collector’s item. Trybesmen parted ways for solo glory in 2004.
The other Nigerian music groups worth mentioning for their noteworthy contribution is Maintain for their classic like the 2002 “Catch Cold“. Before the formation of the duo group called Maintain with members Olu and Tolu, while in Ibadan, both had in 1994 formed a group that included a lady called Opeyemi, and Daddy Freeze – now of Cool 96.9FM. The group broke up before releasing any song. Another music group worth mentioning is Blacktribe with their 2001 classic titled “Nino”, Streetmonks for “Street Life, Rooftop Mcs for their 2002 debut album “Shock Therapy“, not to forget their hit single “Lagimo” and as well as the group Safari with their 1999 classic titled “One Day“, and as well the music group Krazee Kulture for their 2003 hit single “Jupa”.
In conclusion, we can agree that just as the idea of music bands seem to have gone extinct with the Boomers, music groups are dead and long gone with the millennials. The handful of music groups today, are just shades of experimental music cliques – they are just in it for a breakout moment. With fast money and solo glory-driving musicians today, the idea of music groups where financial gratifications are evenly shared is dead.
It is of importance to note that Show Dem Camp is arguably the only longest serving outstanding functioning hip-hop music group in the industry today. Shout out to the young music group Street Billionaires, I hope they will stay together for a long time. That said, which of the music groups and their songs did you miss the most?
Note – I hope you read part 1 of this story titled “P-Square and Plantashun Boiz – Death of Naija’s Iconic R&B Pop music groups.