By Ayo Onikoyi
SINGING duo and twin brothers, Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye, known as P-Square have bedazzled the Nigerian music space for so long that their stage name is synonymous with good music.
Their brand of music can be considered as an order of sanity in the midst of the madness that pervades the music space in Nigeria.
The news of their breakup in 2017 came with a shock wave that threw music lovers into near depression, the same way their reunion in November 2021 brought relief and succour to music lovers all over the world.
Prior to their breakup, the twins were an enormous export of Nigeria to the world musically, selling out shows across the globe and winning hearts for the Nigerian pop culture.
Their lyrical depth and stagecraft were as amazing as it was enthralling. Even though they released their albums through Square Records run by their brother, Jude Okoye P-Square attracted many international suitors who wanted to partner with their brand.
Before the news of their breakup broke many hearts and the Internet P-Square signed a record deal with Akon’s Konvict Muzik label back in 2011, P-Square signed a record distribution deal with Universal Music Group (both international music brands).
P-Square was more than a Nigerian music brand, it was an international phenomenon that contributed hugely to the strings of international collaborations being enjoyed by many Nigerian artists today.
They are known for their smooth, energetic blend of pop, hip-hop and RnB combined with Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves. They have collaborated with top international music acts like Akon, Drake, T.I, Matt Houston, Rick Ross, Dave Scott, Diamond Platnumz, Ginuwine, Sean Paul among others.
Music life: Peter and Paul Okoye started out by joining forces with M Clef a.k.a. Itemoh, Michael and Melvin, to form an Acappella quartet called “MMMPP” and they began to break dancing and formed the group called “Smooth Criminals” in 1997. They dropped M Clef from the group “MMMPP” which later was changed to “MMPP”. Their artistic talent and precise dance routine soon made them household names in the city of Jos, where they performed at school functions and other occasions.
Later in 1999, Peter and Paul returned to music school to develop their skills on the keyboard, drums, bass and rhythm guitar. Their work includes the soundtracks for a number of films like Tobi, Mama Sunday, Moment of Bitterness and Evas River. Also in 1999, they applied to the University of Abuja to study Business Administration.
In 2001, “P-Square” won the “Grab Da Mic” competition, and hence Benson & Hedges sponsored their debut album, titled Last Nite, which was released under Timbuk2 music label. P-Square was also nominated as “Most Promising African Group” in the Kora Awards three months after the release of their debut album. They eventually won the 2003 Amen Award for “Best R&B Group”. In 2005, they released their second album, “Get Squared” under their own label, Square Records.
The reunion: After over four years of what seemed to be an intense and irreconcilable disagreement, Peter and Paul Okoye, P Square headlined their first show in Nigeria since their reunion, at the Livespot X Festival on December 26, 2021.
The duo performed to a packed crowd of screaming and passionate fans who sang along to every nostalgic hit the twins threw at them — the emotion in the hall was cranked up when P Square paused during their set, went down on both knees and with tears in their eyes apologising to their fans for the split.