Blood is thicker than water but what Davido is finding out is that not even the strongest of blood covenants with your fans is a guarantee that they’ll receive members of your family the same way they’ve received you.

It’s this difference in reception that could be at the heart of Davido’s most recent falling out with an unnamed member of his team and family. On Sunday he vented –

My own blood hating on me .. Over MAYORKUN’s success wow !!! I’ve done so much for u .. U still no blow !! FUCK OUTTA HERE!! Hater oshi. You don do over 10 videos and nothing happened, so don’t bring ur anger to me please.

But is this anger justified or is Davido being an insensitive boss? Sina Rambo was signed in August, 2012, B_Red in February, 2013, Teekay got affiliated a month after that and Danagog a year after B_Red. Each of these artistes has been active and incurring expenses since they got signed but what does the label have to show for it? That’s the question we try to answer and I must warn you, it will get graphical.

About the music

This is what really matters, 2012 was HKN’s quietest year but the label has grown in output and personnel every year since then and 2015 was its busiest. It’s 2016 and Sina seems to have returned from a mini-hiatus, while Deekay’s status on the label is uncertain. However, in terms of sheer number of singles released, there’s no real difference between the gang members. Danagog and B_Red released the most singles last year, a healthy 4. This shows that they do give their songs a few months to breathe and put a promotional campaign around each. The music hasn’t connected yet but it’s not for a lack of trying.

Officially released singles 2012 – 2016 (excluding singles in April, 2016)

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You know those roadside perfumes that go “if you like Hugo Boss Man, you would like…”? Have you bought one? What did it smell like? Did it smell like Hugo Boss Man? That’s the marketing strategy that Davido and HKN appear to have adopted for Sina Rambo, B_Red and Danagog. The only problem is that Nigerians have gotten a good enough scent of the 3, they already know what Davido smells like and the two things just don’t smell the same. Either by design or by distance,  Teekay (who’s half-Ghanaian) appears to be the most independent of the lot. His collaboration with Davido actually happened before he got affiliated, not after. To be fair to B_Red, he has ventured outside of the fold more in recent times but Danagog, oh Danagog. The original Hookah Dabb EP had a total of 9 songs, his label boss was featured on 3 of them.

Davido Times

Number of singles featuring Davido

But is their fan base growing at least?

The short answer is – I can’t say. B_Red is probably the most recognizable HKN member but it’s more for his physical features, eyebrow piercing and seeming love for friction than his music. It’s also evident that his footprint on the internet is much larger than his brother’s and the rest of the crew but if you’re internet famous does that mean you’re automatically famous in real life? Deekay’s “Repete” video has suspiciously accumulated almost 2.5 million Youtube views but how many proper shows has he done in Accra or Lagos this year? Sina Rambo, on the other hand, probably gets more clicks when a blog post is made about his personal life than when it’s about his music. Danagog is still something of an unknown quantity. 

Again, what about the music?

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This is what really matters! We’ve not been introduced to HKN Gang properly, at least not musically. What is the signature HKN sound? What role does each guy play? Are they rappers? Are they singers? Do they hum? It’s obvious that their singles haven’t answered these questions sufficiently, maybe an HKN compilation album would help to break the ice. Danagog is the only member of HKN that has a full body of work out, he actually has two – an EP called Hookah Dabb and a mixtape called #FFF Free for Fanagog. We actually have a clearer idea of what Danbaba offers musically and the singer can build from there. What are his label mates waiting for?  

Danagog -Hookah

Danagog – Hookah Dabb

In this analysis, we excluded all music released in the month of April, we felt that it was far too early to analyze new music. Similarly, some would argue that it’s too early to (over)analyze artistes who are still in the morning of their careers and to those folks I’ll say – I agree.

But who cares what I think?

Davido recently started Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), possibly to interface more efficiently with Sony Music, so it’s not clear who runs HKN Music day-to-day between him and his elder brother Adewale. But it’s quite obvious that someone calling the shots felt the label wasn’t running fast enough and they’ve made changes. Let’s wait and see if the recent signings of Mayorkun and Dremo was to complement the talent already on HKN or to  replace it.