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[E! Gist] Made Men Music Group (MMMG) – The Rise And Fall Of Ubi Franklin And Iyanya’s Record Label In 3 Years


The full story of how Ubi Franklin and Iyanya founded a label, and ultimately supervised its demise through drama, in-fighting, and bad business decisions.
“It was just a dream.” Iyanya said, as the cameras clicked and everyone applauded.
This was the year 2014, at a special edition of weekly concert Industry Nite. Made Men Music Group was launching their label compilation album titled “Evolution”, and everyone in the industry were out to see them.
On the side stood Tekno, Baci, Selebobo, Emma Nyra, and co-owner Ubi Franklin, who was beaming with smiles. This was his moment, that blessed time and space where all of his childhood aspirations had come true.
Ubi Franklin had stars signed to him, a producer who was the toast of town, a younger Tekno, who had begun to show flashes of his brilliance, and a budding relationship with Emma Nyra, the love of his life, who he offered a contract that essentially mixed business and pleasure.
Three years later, the label has become a shadow of itself. Everything has fallen apart and there are no signs of growth. Welcome to 2017 Made Men Music Group. Iyanya has pitched camp with Mavin Records, Tekno is in bed with Paul Okoye of Upfront and Personal, and Emma Nyra is far from the picture. Selebobo retains just an affiliation in title with the fallen house, and Baci cried his way out of the house.

The old MMMG: Ubi Franklin, Iyanya, Selebobo, Tekno, Baci and Emma Nyra. (TripleMG)
How did it all happen? How did a house that looked set to compete for the top positions in the industry become this fallen, fragmented and empty?
Ubi Franklin whose real name is Ubi Ekapong Ofem was born on February 2, 1986, with a twin, who is now late. The artiste manager and entrepreneur is the founder of popular music label Made Men Music Group, Triple MG.
He is from a large family, the 11th child out of 15 in the family hails from Cross River State. A Law graduate from Madonna University, and the son of a former High Court Judge, Ubi got married to Nollywood actress, Lilian Esoro on October 30, 2015 at a traditional marriage but had their wedding on November 1, 2015.
That wedding has currently hit the rocks, but it produced a son.
Ubi has always been a hustler. From being an ‘industry guy’ – as people with no clear cut work are referred to in the entertainment industry – His first major gig was with Julius Agwu, where he served as an assistant to the comedian. He also worked with AY Makun, and a few others, before promoting shows, and getting paid for gigs.
Iyanya
Iyanya’s story began when he won the first edition of reality TV show MTN Project Fame West Africa. He was celebrated across Nigeria and released his debut album titled “My Story”.
That album flopped badly.
Iyanya moved from Abuja to Lagos after the flop of his debut album “My Story” in 2009. In 2010, he moved in under arrangement with a sponsor, who named Ubi Franklin as his manager. All of the planning and recording of ‘Kukere’ was done at this point.
Iyanya and Ubi partnered when ‘Kukere’ was released, and it became a hit.
Iyanya’s success eventually culminated in the creation of a sophomore album titled “Iyanya Vs Desire”, which had the hit songs ‘Ur Waist’, ‘Sexy Mama’,  ‘Flavour’ and others.
Under Made Men Music Group, Ubi managed the firm and the talent. Iyanya’s job was very limited to creating the content, and handing over to Ubi, and working on the performance. It was Ubi who did the bookings, handled the business end of everything, digital sales, expansion and more.
Iyanya took care of powering in the money via entertainment, recording, releasing and performing music. That combination has worked wonders for a period in the Nigerian music space. Expansion came in 2014, with more talent signed and the business grown. Iyanya’s money had afforded them the financial freedom to make bigger decisions, and they did.
The new co-founders then struck out with the expansion of the label. They proceeded to build a record label, initially signing four more talents.
Baci

Baci perfoming
Baci, the singer was never truly signed to MMMG. He moved with the crew from inception and served as a backup singer for Iyanya. He also toured with them, and released a number singles with the imprint. But he was never offered a professional contract.
Emma Nyra
Emma Nyra (Triple MG)
Emma Nyra (real name Emma Chukwugoziam Obi) is a Nigerian singer and songwriter.
Nyra was born on July 18, 1988, in California and raised in Texas. Her father is a pharmacist and her mother has had a home health practice.
When Emma Nyra was six years old, she already liked to sing and wanted to become a singer. She pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Administration at the Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, to please her parents and only then Nyra insisted on relocating to Nigeria.
In 2010, Emma Nyra met her manager, Ubi Franklin, during one of her Christmas visits to Nigeria.
In 2011, Ubi Franklin was working with Iyanya, who was just beginning to experience his first taste of success through the hit single ‘Kukere’. Iyanya later went on to cement his success with hit singles, ‘Flavour’, ‘Sexy Mama’, ‘Jombolo’ and ‘Ur Waist’ from his sophomore album ‘Iyanya VS Desire‘.
With fame came money for Iyanya and also Ubi Franklin, who close friends say had fallen deep in love with Emma Nyra.
Emma Nyra (Tripple MG)
Emma, was immediately signed to the newly created MMMG label  and had her first feature on Iyanya’s hit single ‘Ur Waist’. Sources however tell Pulse that the single had controversy in its creation; as Emma Nyra’s vocals were originally written and voiced by someone else.
Sources says the chorus and original vocals were rendered photographer-turned-singer, Toni Tones but was replaced by Emma Nyra without a notice. The song was released in July 2012, and quickly became a hit, with Emma Nyra starring in it, and scoring her first flirt with popularity.
‘Ur Waist’ was nominated for ‘Best Pop Single’ and ‘Song of the Year’ at The Headies 2013. To this day, ‘Ur Waist’ is seen in some quarters as Emma’s best contribution to music in Nigeria.
With the financial rewards gotten by Iyanya’s music, and deals struck by Ubi Franklin, Ubi now focused on breaking Emma Nyra into the Nigerian music scene just as he had done with Iyanya.
In 2012, Nyra came to Lagos after her manager helped to convince her parents to allow her relocate in search of a thriving music career. Industry insiders say Iyanya was however not in support of the move.
“He had just began to reap financial rewards and did not want to channel his funds to promoting another artiste”, one source told Pulse.
Once in Nigeria, work was put into her career with massive funding channelled by Ubi Franklin into her career. High budget videos were shot for her. The first of which is ‘Ori Mi Wu’, directed by Moe Musa. The song was released in July 2012, with the video released in January 2013.
In 2013, Emma Nyra released three high budget videos; ‘Ori Mi Wu’ (January), ‘Everything I Do’ featuring Iyanya (March), ‘Kere Shere’ (October).
Also in 2013, Iyanya and Emma Nyra set out on US/Canada tour to promote Iyanya’s sophomore album, which contained the collaboration, ‘Ur Waist’. The tour packaged by Big A Entertainment is regarded as one of the most successful US tours by a Nigerian performer.
Tekno
Tekno (Pulse)
Augustine Miles Kelechi (born December 17, 1992) popularly known by his stage nameTekno Miles or Tekno, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, producer, performer and dancer. He is from Ebonyi state. He was born in Bauchi, Bauchi State, Nigeria.
Tekno Miles was first signed under K-Money Entertainment. His first single titled “Holiday” was released under the imprint. With featured vocals from Davido, “Holiday” was positively accepted and gained massive airplay.
In 2012 while in Abuja, Tekno Miles was spotted by renowned Nigerian comedian Julius Agwu at an event after Tekno Miles received a standing ovation following the performance of a song titled “Onye Ne Kwu”, his remix of Ice Prince’s “Oleku”.
It was at the same event he met Iyanya and Ubi Franklyn, the manager of Made Men Music Group who he became friends with. Ubi and Iyanya eventually encouraged Tekno Miles to move to Lagos to further his music career.
Tekno performing at Industry Nite
On October 5, 2013, he signed a music contract with Made Men Music Group under which he released singles like “Dance” and “Anything” which won him a nomination in the “Best New act of the Year” category at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
On June 18, 2015, Tekno Miles released a song titled “Duro” which was positively received. A remix which featured Phyno and Flavour N’abania was released on November 16, 2015.
“Duro” was produced by DJ Coublon. It topped several charts in Nigeria and on the international scene, it peaked at #5 on Capital XTRA’s “Afrobeats Chart: Top 10” for September 2015. On November 20, 2015, Tekno Miles released a single titled “Wash”. The song was produced by DJ Coublon with the video directed by AJE Films.
Selebobo
Udoka Chigozie Oku (born July 29, 1991 in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria), popularly known by his stage name Selebobo or Bobo of Africa, is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and creative producer.
Although Selebobo counts his career from the re-release of the song, ‘Yoyo’, he has done songs like “Lose Control”, “Odeshi” featuring Flavour, “No Letting Go” featuring Uganda’s Keko (rapper), “Kulenje” featuring Stormrex prior to joining TripleMG.
Selebobo became prominent after he wrote and produced Yemi Alade’s hit single, ‘Johnny’, but he refused to sign with her record lable, Effizy Music. He signed with TripleMG in 2014.
Since then he has released singles like “Selfie” and “Tonyor” featuring Mr P of P-Square. He also has notable production credits to his name like Johnny (Yemi Alade song),”Nagode” and “Tangerine” by Yemi Alade, “Ada Ada”, “Mmege by Flavour N’abania, “Mr Oreo” by Iyanya, “Where” by Tekno, “Iyeri by Bracket.
DJ Coublon

Charles Ugochukwu Akwuba aka DJ Coublon is a producer and sound engineer who until 2016, was signed to Made Men Music Group (Triple MG). Between late 2014 through 2015, he began his most prolific spell. From scoring on Iyanya’s ‘Le kwa Ukwu’, the man has worked through a number of hit songs, including Kiss Daniel’s ‘Woju’ and ‘Laye’, ‘Go
The album’s production was primarily handled by Selebobo along with additional production from Tekno and DJ Coublon. Selebobo also mixed and mastered the album. The title of the album references evolution within the Nigerian Music Industry.
A 14-track album, the project failed to gather traction. This was because the label tried to replicate the success of the Mavins, but failed. The final work was poor, and all the artistes held back their best songs from the project.
This made them all fail to gel, and although on the outside, they looked like a close-knit family, the music proved the opposite, and it showed on the album.
It was a flop.
The Beginning Of The End
od time’, and ‘Raba’.
What Coublon did was slow down the tempo of mainstream music, and by providing hits, he reset the production style of many of his contemporaries to get hits out. With Tekno, he was responsible for ‘Duro’ and ‘Wash’. While also getting co-production credits for his work on Patoranking’s ‘My woman my everything’.
“Evolution” Album

After completing the signing of all these artistes, Ubi Franklin and Iyanya had a full house. They were releasing music with the proceeds from Iyanya’s fame and success. Shows came in thick and fast, as everyone wanted to a piece of Iyanya.
To mark the time, and showcase the talents in their record label, in May 2014, MMMG dropped a compilation album titled “The Evolution”



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