Opinion: The return of P Square: Nobody wins when the family feuds but what does the future hold for the popular duo
P Square are more likely to realize that people have moved on and that the soundscape and industry has changed drastically since their disbandment.
On Monday, August 18, 2020, a video surfaced on social media about the return of erstwhile Nigerian superstar group, P Square. In the video, Peter Okoye [Mr P of P Square] can be seen accepting responsibility for their issues before saying, “We’re back.”
You can watch the episode of ‘Facts Only’ where the show airs below;
Some Nigerians got giddy at the prospect of some quality love music in the spirit of lamba. But as it turns out, the video is old – it was initially released in 2015. In fact, Mr P responded to the video via his Twitter account, @PeterPSquare that, “Stop wasting your time… that’s an old video 2015… Forever MrP. The Prodigal Album Loading…. #MrP.”
In 2015, Mr. P recorded the video to end rumours that P Square were finally breaking up after yet another fight. The rumours continued into 2016 when media reports claimed that the group had disbanded over the role of their manager. That break up would not stick as the group continued together until their infamous row in September 2017.
Nonetheless, Twitter reacted with humour and excitement;
Murmurs on the street is that the video might have been leaked to promote Mr. P‘s upcoming studio album, The Prodigal. Others also theorized that the return was never on the cards, and that someone just had a devious intent.
What made P Square special?
P Square was the biggest African acts at some point. In an episode of Loose Talk Podcast, legendary Nigerian producer and MAVIN Records boss, Don Jazzy revealed that the move to create love songs on D’banj‘s third album, The Entertainer was heavily inspired by P Square‘s ability to have large female fan bases and sell-out stadiums across different African countries.
Three years since that ill-fated, “Brother shame on you” video surfaced on the internet and went viral, the brothers are back together and it’s causing a stir on social media.
Their last album before the breakup was Double Trouble . ‘OMG,’ was one of their last singles together didn’t catch fire at all. 2015 to 2017 witnessed a tiring P Square that had overachieved by outlasting itself and fan expectations.
2015-2017 was P Square‘s fifth wave in the Nigerian music industry. After launching onto the scene at the 2001 Grab D Mic competition sponsored by Benson and Hedges, and releasing their album the same year, their KORA Awards nomination just three months later was the start of their superstardom.
In their catalogue are at least three classic albums, Get Squared, Game Over and Danger. Their debut album, Last Nite, released on Timbuktu Records, led by the late Howie T as well as their groundbreaking 2011 album, The Invasion, also have strong cases.
Could P Square return to the glory days?
Times started to change because the industry and the soundscape has evolved. More importantly, Nigeria has since undergone a change of guard and a widening of listener palettes, that the three generations after P Square has struggled with.
Yes, you only ever need one hit to make a comeback. But even that hit could mean nothing, if it doesn’t catalyze into sustained success. The truth: From the look of things, P Square’s return is a huge deal. But Gen Z is in vogue now and they don’t really care about P Square like we millennials do.
For one, both Mr. P and Rudeboy released ‘The Prodigal’ and RudyKillUs to minimal commercial and critical impact. Quality or a lack thereof, was an issue on both albums. Rudy’s smash hit singles, ‘Reason With Me’ and ‘Audio Money’ prove that anything is possible when talent is involved.
When they were apart, Rudy also sold out stadiums in Africa. Alongside their famed stagecraft and intense dance routines, P Square will probably sell out stadiums, even without an album. Although they will be attractive international touring prospects that show promoters like Duke Concept will be jostling to engage, they might need a groundbreaking album to sustain the shock value from their reconciliation will birth.
Over the past two years, the struggles of 2Baba’s Warriors and D’Banj‘s latest album suggest that starpower might be eternal, but the retaining the interest of every changing generation might not.
As noted earlier, Gen Z is in vogue and we millennials now have jobs and families to cater for. More than anything, the return of P Square will cause excitement on social media. But sustenance will reliant on whether their album aligns with contemporary realities in length, sound, format of songs, genres and topics.
They’re married now, so let’s see how the love conversations can go. A good place to start is to feature their respective families in a music video and watch social media explode. It’s also age-appropriate content.
P Square will also be potent endorsement for brands because they have an incredible lifestyle brand, but the music side is very hard to predict. They are more likely to realize that people have moved on and that the soundscape and industry has changed drastically since their disbandment.
Who won during the separation?
While Rudeboy has had successful songs like, ‘Reason With Me’ and ‘Audio Money,’ M. P has continually struggled to make successful songs that capture the sustained attention of listeners.
However, Mr. P made the better album. It might not have been excellent, but it was far better than ‘RudyKillUs.’
Why did Rudeboy win with singles?
It’s very simple; he has always been more of the artist in the group, Mr. P is also an artist, but he’s the better performer. Before they released their video album off songs from Get Squared, both members of P Square used to dance. As discussed on A Music In Time Podcast by former Editor-In-Chief at Pulse Nigeria, the presumption was that they were both singers.
But as we were to discover, Rudeboy was a producer, songwriter and the better singer of the two. In fact, word on the street is that most of P Square‘s songs were performed by Rudeboy with Mr. P simply lip-syncing. On the other hand, Rudeboy largely stopped performing choreography with the release of, ‘Bizzy Body [Remix].’
He also understands the concept reactive music. He makes resonant songs that appeal to emotions and get people talking. His two biggest songs, ‘Reason With Me‘ and ‘Audio Money‘ are reactive. ‘Reason With Me‘ is created on the emotions of the average Nigerian man and his sentiments about life and love. It was destined to catch fire.
‘Audio Money’ is created around the concept of deceit and money – Nigerians can relate to that. Aside from that, while Mr. P has largely made good music, he’s ever-so-slightly focused too excessively on his strengths – energetic, fast-paced music filled with a lot of dance moves. People don’t really care for choreography anymore.
More so, Mr. P is in his 40s now – there’s a thing as brand representation. Nigerians are not exactly interested in seeing a 40-year-old man dress cool and perform sleek dance moves on Afro-pop songs. The crazy thing: their fan base doesn’t even realize that’s why they don’t like the music, but it’s why the music isn’t selling.
It’s a stale gimmick. More so, Rudeboy is more strategic. In his video for, ‘Take It,’ he featured Mercy Eke of BBNaija barely five months after the conclusion of the reality TV competition. Eke, who is famous for her ‘pungent – albeit allegedly ‘manufactured’ – ‘behind’ was scantily clad in the full glare of human optical paparazzi.
Rudeboy‘s songs are also more musical than the more frenetic energy of Mr. P. Then, there is the issue of vocal performance in a soundscape where great vocals have been winning over the past 18 months. Over the past 18 months, the biggest Nigerian stars to emerge have been Fireboy, Rema, Joeboy, Omah Lay, Tems, Oxlade and more.
One thing they all have in common; great vocals and Afro&B songs. We move…
*Pulse Editor’s Opinion is the view of an Editor at Pulse. It does not represent the views of the Organisation Pulse.