By BENJAMIN NJOKU
Until late last year, when they finally went their separate ways, Peter and Paul Okoye, popularly known as P-Square used to be the favourite of many lovers of contemporary Nigerian music. But the same cannot be said of the twins today no matter how hard they try to make their fans believe that all is well with them.
The duo announced their break up as a musical group last year after months of speculation, dirty fights on social media and disagreements. Consequently, they embarked on solo careers to display individually what they brought to the table, to create the famous Psquare brand. But almost a year after their breakup, the singing duo are rarely measuring up to expectations, and their fans can tell better.
At the time one of the twins, Peter sent to their lawyer, Festus Keyamo a demand for the termination of the agreement between the group-P-Square,on Thursday, September 21, 2017, he definitely was ready for the worst to happen. Unfortunately, he did not give any thought about what becomes of the Psquare brand after their split.
Despite defending his decision with a series of allegations made against his twin brother, Paul Okoye and their elder brother/manager, Jude Okoye, Peter Okoye is sure to be counting his losses today as well as those of his twin brother, Paul Okoye.
Apparently, before their split, Psquare was one of the most famous musical groups in Africa with successful shows in America, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world. The group’s net worth then in Dollars reportedly was more than $130 million.
They were one of the richest singers in Nigeria, earning about $150,000 per show in Africa. They also got a lot of money for their contracts, music downloads, different ads, and endorsements. They not only had a fleet of posh cars, including Hummer Jeep H2, worth $120,000, but also, they were into real estate business, and owed many houses in the highbrow areas of Omole Estate, Lekki and Atlanta respectively. Being one of the favourite music groups in Africa, the duo reportedly had more than 4 million fans on social media.
While they lasted, the identical twins were the most sought after entertainers in Africa. Besides, some of their back to back singles such as “Getting Down”, “Chop my Money”, “Personally” , “Beautiful Onyinye” , “Ejeajo” and “Bring it On” not only received massive airplay, but also, global acceptance.
Their success continued to earn them many nominations and awards both within and outside the shores of the country. Also, the pair had other sources of income that gave them an edge over their contemporaries. They were into multimillion naira real state business in addition to having an endorsement deal with telecoms giant, Glo, which according to those in the know ran into hundreds of millions of Naira.
They also had an endorsement deal with Skol Beer (Congo) which also ran into millions of naira. Sadly, all of these achievements have been swept under the carpet, and the duo have reasons to start afresh to build an individual brand that would surpass Psquare.
From all indications, part of the inevitable prices the duo have continued to pay following their break up is a steady cancellation of tours, shows, public appearances and the subsequent revenue loss.
It has become so bad that a source close to the singing duo, confirmed to us that since their break up, they have been busy refunding monies paid to them in advance for shows they never honoured as a group. At a point, according to the source, “their Accounting officer was forced to ask them “what’s happening …you’re only getting debit and no credit alerts.” To make matters worse, the source further revealed that the duo are currently putting up some of their joint property for sale. But despite the prevailing dicey situation, the Okoye brothers are “ready to take risks” and they are not looking back, not even at the expense of their fans.
As solo artistes
When their break up was made public, fans as well as critics were curious as to which of the twin brothers has a better chance of making it as a solo artiste. However, a close look at their individual performances after the breakup, it seems Peter Okoye, now known as Mr. P who initiated the separation obviously is leading the way. With his media-friendly mien, great looks and the ability to spin a good story, Mr P is surely carving out a niche for himself.
But the question remains, how far can he go in this journey without his twin brother? Ironically, ‘when the going was good’, the duo made great hits, toured round the world and graced both local and international stages together as ‘P-Square’, not as ‘Mr. P’ or ‘Rudeboy’ as Paul Okoye is fondly called by his fans. And now, it’s every man for himself.
In the heat of the breakup, Paul Okoye kicked off his solo career last November, after he dropped his two singles, ‘Nkenji Keke and “Fire Fire.”’ He dropped the singles few weeks after his half brother, Mr. P equally released his own solo single, “ Cool It Down” the mid-tempo song he dropped under P-Classic Records. Mr. P has since released two other singles, ‘For My Head,’ and ‘My Way’ as a proof of his readiness to be ahead of his twin brother.
The singles reportedly made waves, with the first two running into millions and the most recent one almost at the 300,000 mark in just three days of its release. “Cool it down’, which is his first official release, has a sample. Up next is ‘My Way’, a record which samples its instrumentals from Mario Winans’ ‘I don’t Wanna Know’, a 2003 song co-which features Diddy, and co-produced by Fugees. The single recorded a huge success worldwide, reaching #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #1 in the UK Top 40.
The video for ‘My Way’, has Peter Okoye condemned to a desert by a jilted lover. It conceptually borrows from Chris Brown’s ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ visuals. Critics believe Mr. P has always had his key influences from the 90s and early 2000’s R&B singers. But with the split, Peter seems to have fallen back on old techniques to create future sounds. The pop singer is not ready to disappoint his fans, even as his vocal dexterity remains an added advantage to his quest to rebrand himself. Many have described him as the engine room of the group. But his half brother, Paul appears to be doing his own thing quietly. He’s said to be very capable of satiating P-Square fans with songs that are reminiscent of the group at their very best. Paul Okoye’s impressive love song, “Nkenji Keke”, for one, sounds like a song that would have fit perfectly on their acclaimed third studio album, Get Squared.
While the second single, “Fire Fire”, is literally begging to be played at every Nigerian wedding ceremony for the foreseeable future. Both songs as so impressive, as it’s almost impossible to pick which of them stands out.” But all in all, the Okoye brothers are leaving no stone un-turned in their bid to outshine each other. However, time will tell who is better as a solo artiste. At the moment, we can only postulate whether “talent” or “deals” will help them scale through individually as Mr. P or Rude Boy.
Chances of their reunion
It’s not clear whether the duo are ready to come together again, at least not for now. Peter Okoye, in a recent interview he granted to Citizen TV in Kenya, gave condition for their reunion. But it’s up to his brother to shift his ground. “The fans want Psquare but how many times do you want Psquare to come back and break up? We’ve broken up three times and the same issue is still there. so if Psquare is going to come back we need to settle that issue. Psquare might come back, they might not come back.”
Peter said he must put his wife and children first because of the vow he made on his wedding day.
“I pulled out the plug because I felt the disrespect coming from my family (was) getting too much,” he said.
“There’s something we call marginalisation. Don’t ever be a slave because you want to be in a family. “Psquare can only come back if the respect comes 100 percent. I don’t disrespect my brother’s wife or his family but he disrespects mine all the time. He would insult me and my family in public, on instagram, and the next minute he would wait for me for us to perform together. I can’t do that. one thing is for sure, I took a vow to protect my wife and kids the day I got married and I stick to that,” Peter said.
Fans clamouring for their reunion!
Almost one year after their break up, fans can’t stop missing Psquare’s electrifying performances, imitable dance steps and crowd-pulling concerts. Their insistence on knowing the whereabouts of the other half brother in the case of one of them performing solo cannot be ignored. A case in point, was when Mr. Paul was performing solo last year at Phynofest music carnival at ‘The Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu. The organizer of the show and rapper, Phyno while performing his collaboration song with Psquare, ‘Financial Woman,’ at which point Paul joined him on stage to sing the song’s chorus. Hell was let loose when fans started asking him the whereabouts of his twin brother, Peter.
Responding to questions from the crowd, Paul replied that Peter was in America. He would go on to perform a few of the group’s old songs but the crowd kept asking him about the whereabouts of his brother. At a point, he stopped singing to reply to their questions, as he blamed his half brother for their break up. That’s the truth, the Okoye brothers would have to live with, as long as they remain separated. Meanwhile, many fans of the duo believe that they will do better as a group than as individuals. For veteran musician, Tee Mac, the identical twins jointly nurtured their careers, had an interesting stage shows and their fans loved them.
According to him, “ The twin brothers will soon realize that going solo, they have to start afresh. But this time, the competition of nice looking young musicians is there and the millions of Nigerian teenagers don’t care about the quality and professional experience P-Square may have achieved over the years. “I wish Peter and Paul all the best in all their endeavours.”
For an Akwa-Ibom-based radio DJ, RockyFela, P-Square’s separation is bound to have a negative effect, as long as one of the brothers was the creative force behind the group.” If the two brothers contributed equally in terms of composition and song writing, they wouldn’t be found wanting as solo artistes,” he noted.
However, after 19 years of pursuing joint musical careers, it’s only natural that the twin brothers cannot be together forever, not even when they are married with kids, and having made a name as one of the longest partnerships in the musical world. But if the truth is to be told, the Okoyo brothers will continue to draw not only their musical strengths but also, will live under the shadow of the P-Square brand.