Lil Kesh Olamide sets standard with new business structure

This week, a partnership that has birthed glorious hit songs in Nigeria for the past two years was restructured. It was revealed that Lil Kesh is no longer signed to Olamide’s YBNL Records. He is a free man, who intends to go ahead and set up his independent record label called “YAGI”.

The news flowed in with many unable to see the genius behind the move. Olamide signed Lil Kesh in 2014, alongside his friend Viktoh. The YBNL boss never had the intention of holding the ‘Shoki’ crooner for life, hence put pen to paper on a two-year deal; that deal expired weeks ago.

Between his signing and the expiration of his contract, Lil Kesh has been on a jolly ride since the inception of his music career: from unknown rapper, to one-hit champion, to performing all over the world and now to establishing his own record label. The young man has taken his chance, creating dance music via indigenous rap, being a blessing to his family, and inspiring many others.

Lil Kesh is signed to Olamide's YBNL Nation.
Lil Kesh is signed to Olamide’s YBNL Nation.

In January 2016, the ‘Efejoku’ rapper showed off his personalrecording studio located in his Lagos home. This ticks off one of the prerequisites for creating a record label – having a space to create music. Even though Lil Kesh is now an indie artiste, he is still affiliated to Olamide’s YBNL, but in a management capacity. The Bariga-born artiste still retains the mentorship of Olamide, who is reliving his come-up story with the boy.

On the business side, very few things have changed. The digital publishing revenue will have to be rerouted to YAGI,  notwithstanding, YBNL will still get a percentage from all earnings, although, they will have to relinquish a major share of the profits from his career.

This new model is one Olamide adopted early in his career. In a similar manner to what is happening now with Lil Kesh, Olamide released the album “YBNL” in 2012, and split with his mentor and Coded Tunes label boss, ID Cabasa. His personal venture, has become the powerhouse that YBNL is. Lil Kesh is running along similar lines, dropping his debut album “Y.A.G.I”, before setting up his personal record label.

Lil KeshYBNL rapper, Lil Kesh


With this new arrangement Olamide has created a new precedent for the Nigerian music business – find artistes, develop the talent and groom them to be independent moneymaking businessmen. This business plan depends heavily on the artiste becoming successful within a short period of time.

As far as the love shared between both parties is concerned, nothing is lost. Lil Kesh is Olamide’s younger brother, one whom he has seen blossom right in front of him. That is pure joy, the kind that nothing else can bring (except a million dollar alert). Whether Lil Kesh stays or departs is immaterial. Lil Kesh can set up his side project. In fact, it is folly for him not to set one up, as a personal side hustle to bring in extra dough, while planning for his future. Olamide’s mentorship and connection would also be of immense value to such a venture.

Truth is, in whatever form you look at it, in whatever way the story is being framed and sold, Lil Kesh and Olamide cannot leave each other. | Lil KeshOlamide sets standard with new business structure

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