Artistes on G-Worldwide love their boss, they really do. Sugarboy has two singles, the bonafide club smash “Hola Hola” and the recently released “Double” – on both, the singer makes sure to give shout outs to Emperor Geezy before the track ends. Geezy’s name gets mentioned a remarkable 9 times on Kiss Daniel’s debut album New Era as well and each time, it’s never in the context of the actual music.
Now, it’s either the artistes on G-Worldwide have a great affinity for their boss or it’s something that was explicitly stated in their contracts. Although, at a time when record label owners and their employees are falling out so frequently and so publicly, the PDA is admirable but you’d forgive me if I tell you I’m not getting carried away. All the singles released from Kiss Daniel’s album contain shout outs, so the whole thing looks like it’s being done more for promotional purposes than anything else.
But promoting what exactly? It is the artistes and the label that need promotion. There’s such a thing as a behind the scenes role. If G-Worldwide is a company, Kiss Daniel, DJ Shabsy and Sugarboy are its people-facing department. Having them at the forefront should allow the company’s other staff focus on roles required of them. Even if a mention of Geezy’s name could dramatically increase music sales, which it wouldn’t, or his music brain was instrumental in crafting a record, making it a point of duty for artistes signed to the label to mention it on almost every record is unnecessary.
Now, people’s personalities differ and some execs might require that level of promotion for reasons best known to them but I personally believe a song shouldn’t be used as a promotional tool – it takes something away from its purity. There are other avenues to get recognition that can be exploited more organically, such as interviews, industry seminars and social media. Some would argue that making cameos in music videos (like how Birdman was always seen rubbing his palms in old Cash Money videos) is one of those avenues but Emperor Geezy has already used that medium. I’m not a fan of the idea but some music videos have become nothing more than product adverts that pay for themselves, so rub your palms all you want, sir.
To be fair, everybody just wants the credit they deserve. On album jackets, the creative contributors are often properly credited, however non-creative contributors are left out. Thinking back, I think we missed a trick. There was a wave in the late 2000’s that introduced double-sided CD jackets, that gave more space for a lot more people to be credited on an album than ever before. That wave is gone now but no matter how thin the album jackets become, EP’s will always get their credit, they’re the ones paying for the damn album!
There was also a time in the not-so-distant past that executives executed, producers produced and singers sang – if either one of them wanted to wear more than one hat, they just came out and did so, no need to camouflage. When Kenny Ogungbe wanted to get on a record with Eedris Abdulkareem on his Unfinished Business album, Kenny embraced it. The embrace wasn’t returned by the listening public, but at least we could see his motives clearly. Are we to expect an Emperor Geezy single or album sometime in the future?
All the same, I cannot fault Emperor Geezy entirely for being aggressive with taking credit, how many people buy these CDs with credits on them? How many people read those credits? Are those credits actually done properly? As much as I love to stream music, the nerdy side of me dislikes the fact that I cannot access the meta data (producers, songwriters etc.) of the music I stream. That’s the main reason why we started the series – Credit, Where Credit Is Due.
We see it as our duty to to give credit but now behind the scene players increasingly want to take credit. I know there’s a compelling argument for recognition and opportunities for work referral, but we cannot continue to act like it’s normal for audio engineers like Suka Sounds, Indomix and Foster Zeeno to be shouted out on records either. We already lost the argument to producers more than 2 decades ago when they copied hip-hop’s producer recognition template, so we cannot afford to lose out to the EP’s as well.
They say he that pays the piper dictates the tune but if the transaction becomes too obvious for the world to see, the piper ends up looking like a dictator and the tune, like an ego trip that the public honestly doesn’t need to be a part of.