PSQUARE BROTHERS: BETTER SOLO OR TOGETHER?

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On the 25th of September, 2017, almost two years now, the most successful group in the history of the Nigerian music industry, P-Square made up of the twin brothers: Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye, parted ways. Theirs was a run that lasted almost 15 years with their break-up leaving so many fans heartbroken.

The split was so shocking that it took time for fans to accept Peter and Paul as independent artistes. There were several claims regarding why the duo parted ways but the one reason that took the lead was the fact that Peter ‘Mr P’ was aggrieved that his twin brother, Paul, self-acclaimed ‘Rudeboy’ , was perceived as the one making the group a success. Actually, Paul was seen as the one with the creativity as he was being given more credit for songwriting and singing while Peter was perceived as the kinetic one.

Peter however, in an interview with Hip TV stated that he was also a creative person and had helped the group in terms of structure as it had none at the time.

“I’ve been a creative person and I haven’t stopped till today. I’m very creative person but people still look at me as a dancer. It hurts but at the end of the day, I still remain a creative person.

“…I don’t think there is so much of challenges because even [while] touring with Psquare, I was the one doing the whole structure, trying to get things done properly. I will say it in front of the camera,” he said.

These two however have forgotten that their cooperation as a duo was what placed them where they were as the best group and at some point, Africa’s favourite boy band. Their style then was varied and powerful- from R&B, Pop and Afrobeat to the Michael Jackson’s dance styles Peter expresses.

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Upon the announcement of their split, the bigger chunk of skepticism was directed at Peter, due to the belief that most of P-square’s hit songs were Paul’s brainchild. Though, Paul had his share of skepticism because Peter had and still does have a larger fan base than he does, he was still seen as the half to replicate the success of P-Square.

However, Peter has so far surprised fans and music enthusiasts as he seems to be taking the lead in the solo life in the areas of creating electrifying music videos with his extra ordinary dance skills, social media presence and endorsement deals.

Though the duo had an endorsement deal worth over N200m with Nigeria’s telecommunications giant, GLO, Peter independently has more endorsement deals. He is a brand ambassador for German shoe manufacturer, Adidas, PZ Cussons Olympic Milk and South Korea automakers, KIA Motors. In 2015, Peter in collaboration with GLO launched his own TV show “Dancing With Peter” to discover new dancing talents but the show was short-lived; it only lasted a season.

Peter is also perceived as a controversial one of the duo as he is always one to grant tell-all interviews just to air his opinion; it was he who asked for the termination of the defunct group, citing in a letter that his nuclear family was being threatened. Paul was proclaimed the saint, as he chose to stay with their elder brother Jude Okoye who Peter also accused as one of the main cause of the split.

This openness of Peter may make him seem arrogant, but it is what gets him more social media hits than his brother Paul. On their social media accounts, Peter has the highest number of followers with 6.3million followers on Instagram and 1.86million twitter followers while Paul falls behind with 4.7million Instagram followers and 958,000 followers on Twitter.

However, there is also a disadvantage to Peter’s popularity. He was accused of song theft and beats misappropriation at some point and this has been an aspect where Paul scores a very higher point. Although, Peter has never hidden the fact that he buys songs but, ‘introverted’ Paul has only released original songs- with reasons he placed on ‘’copyright drama’’. In an interview with Vanguard, when asked of his views on musicians buying songs, Paul said, “ I’ve never had that experience before.

“I understand the part of production but the part of buying song is a normal thing in the music industry …Whichever way you are doing it make sure it’s documented.

“There is what we call coincidence in music, somebody might release a song now and two days later, another artist releases the same song. The former will accuse the latter of copying his songs.

“That’s why no matter who you are, I don’t collect artiste’s CDs for any reason, so they don’t come back to accuse me of copying their songs.

Both individuals have shown they have a common drive to be seen as the better half, but Paul is taking the lead in the area of dishing out ‘the crowd music’. This makes him seem to actually be the music guy as speculations and arguments have claimed, when the group was still functioning. He has more music collaborations and has been enjoying more music success with his well-received singles. Paul continues with dancehall, ballads and has subsequently delved into Street cuts by collaborating with artists like Olamide, Phyno, and Reminisce. His singles, “Nkeji Keke” and “Somebody baby” suggests he was actually the brain behind the defunct group’s classic songs like “No one like you”, “Busy body” and “Bank Alert” because of the similarities they share.

Peter on the other hand, has been releasing rhythmic and energetic songs like “Ebeano” and “One More Night” with fast tempo beats suggests “Ejeajo” and “Personally” by P Square might be his (Peter’s) brainchild.

This clearly shows they both played vital roles in the growth of P Square and the combination of their artistic approaches was what made the defunct group relevant and hugely successful. Their separation has been perceived as unhealthy as they neither is yet to reach the Psquare peak. One of their greatest hits “Bank Alert” was released after they both came back together from their first separation and this gave fans another hope for good music coming from the duo. That hope was short-lived.

However, it must be noted that the Psquare brand got to its dizzying heights with 15 years of hard work and collaboration, at which point they commanded the highest fees for shows across Africa. It would take a lot more extra work for the Mr. P and Rudeboy brands to realise their full individual potential.

Examples abound of artistes who pursued solo careers after a successful run with a group who turned out even bigger than the group they departed from. Micheal Jackson and Lionel are classical examples when they left The Jacksons and The Commodores respectively. James ‘JT’ Taylor however did not quite experience the star success he craved when he departed Kool and The Gang.  For Rudeboy and Mr. P, the question is: will their full solo potential meet or exceed the Psquare brand equity? Only time will tell.

Yetunde Adegoke

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