Comparing the Strategic Rise of CKay to Stardom With Portable’s Instant Hit to the Top

Comparing the Strategic Rise of CKay to Stardom With Portable’s Instant Hit to the Top

It is imperative to discuss the stellar growth of one of Nigeria's finest artists, Chukwuka Ekweani better known as CKay who has carved a niche for himself on the international scene, and compare his success to that of the new kid on the block, Portable.

The Rise and Rise of CKAY

The stellar rise of Nigerian music star, CKay went up another notch as his worldwide hit 'Love Nwantiti' earned a gold certification in the United States of America.

The Recording Industry Association of America had shared in an Instagram post on 12 January, 2022 that 'Love Nwantiti' had amassed 500,000 unit sales to earn the certification.

The Gold Plaque is given by the RIAA when a record gets the equivalent of 500,000 copies via streaming and raw CD sales.

CKay and Portable
CKay and Portable's rise. Credit: @ckay_yo @portablebaeby
Source: Instagram

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This success came after the Kaduna state born artiste had recorded the same feat in the United Kingdom and France.

When popular rapper and former Chocolate City boss, MI said in his 2018 Yung Denzel album that 'Ckay is coming soon and everyone would see the evidence', not many took him seriously.

This line is possibly a response to the 'Who the F*** is Ckay' episode with music critic, Osagie Alonge on the Loose Talk Podcast in 2017.

In the episode, Osagie had berated the veteran rapper for being a terrible Chairman as the rapper and all other artists on the Chocolate City label have fallen off the radar, since he took over the reins of the record company from Audu Maikori.

He had responded that there is a young kid from Kaduna who is going to take the industry by storm, to which the reporter made the famous statement.

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With the success of 'Love Nwantiti', MI's prescience has since been vindicated.

Born Chukwuka Ekweani in Kaduna 25 years ago, CKAY left the North West for Lagos in 2014 in order to pursue his music career.

He joined the Chocolate City team as a producer. He had production credit on MI's Rendezvous album in 2018.

He also produced songs like 'Otedola' by Dice Ailes and Blood & Fire by DJ Neptune. His first major release was the self-produced 'Container' which featured in his first EP under the ChocolateCity print tagged 'Ckay the first' in 2019.

The EP also contained the smash hit 'Love Nwantiti', which continues to gather glory till date.

Despite being a 2019 song with two remixes in 2020, the hit smashed music charts streams records across the world and topped major music charts.

Although the 2020 remix with Joeboy and Kwami Eugene made the song very popular, making waves in many countries of the world, it was the original version of the hit song ‘Love Nwantiti’ that earned him the American Gold Plaque and not the remix.

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The record has become a global sensation as CKay made history as the biggest African artiste on the popular streaming platform, Spotify.

The song also debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in October as the second Nigerian after Wizkid but unlike Wizkid's Essence which featured songstress, Tems, Ckay is the first Nigerian to debut with a solo single.

It also became the most looked-for song in the world on Shazam, the popular music discovery app. Again, it edged out Wizkid’s Essence as the most Shazamed song in the United States. At some times in the year, two different versions of the song were the 2 most Shazamed songs in the work.

Among its other feats, the song was number one in 40 countries on Apple Music and also number one in 23 countries on Youtube charting at 167 and 75 respectively.

His song has had over a billion streams on TikTok, making him feature in the social media app's music report of 2021.

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For CKAY, it seems to be another month and another record for his hit song. In the past year, he has achieved feats that even more established artistes with international labels can only dream of.

Ckay tags his music Emo-Afrobeats because of his emphasis on emotion, as a refined form of the hitherto Afrofusion. Although it is his 2019 hit that is raking in the numbers.

CKAY released another EP in February 2021 titled 'Boyfriend' which includes highly rated singles 'Kiss me like you miss me' and 'Felony'.

The EP is a perfect blend of love, dance-worthy, and highly emotive tunes. He tags himself 'Your Boyfriend' because his music preaches love.

In November 2021, he left Chocolate City to sign a deal with Warner Music SA, under the auspices of “Warner Music”. If he had been able to achieve so much with Chocolate City, the possibilities seem endless for the 25-year-old, as he joins an International label.

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While popular artistes like Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido continue to push the frontiers of Afrobeats as well as open up news vistas to engage the world, Ckay is pushing new boundaries for the Afrobeats brand.

He had leveraged on a hitherto uncharted path with his popularity on Tiktok, he had been strategic with his moves, judging from the remixed and he had moved to a bigger label, all these added to his talent and a bit more luck the possibilities are endless for the rising star.

And Portable's instant hit

The fortuitous entrance of Portable Olalomi into the mainstream Nigerian music scene last December has continued to generate conversations on which is the major requirements to break into the heavily guarded industry between talent, luck or a combination of both.

In the past few years, the industry has opened up as new stars have made their names in the highly competitive scene. Names like Fireboy DML, Omah Lay, Bella Shmurda have become mainstay riding from relative obscurity

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One major feature of these new entrants is that they mostly rely on more established artistes to put them on. Portable's rise to stardom keyed into the same theme, as his viral video had caught the attention of Olamide. Like many before him, he enjoyed 'Baddo's benevolence to get his shot at home.

This is not the first time Olamide is putting artiste on, apart from being a successful artiste himself, one of the things he does best is giving his platform for upcoming acts and many would be eternally grateful for that. While the likes of Adekunle Gold,Lil Kesh and Fireboy DML have been successful

The interesting taste of Nigerian music consumers makes it difficult to judge the fate of many artists. But with his adopted eccentricity, Portable has not proven himself to be a force to reckon yet but the coast seemed clear for him to turn to another superstar.

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As promising as Portable's career looked with his hit track Zazu scoring high numbers on many digital platforms and meeting and performing with superstars like Davido, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid in less than one month of breaking into the mainstream, fans still have a bit of reservations for him.

Some fans feel Portable's public display of unruly behavours has tendencies of affecting his blistering music career on the long run.

The Zazu crooner prides himself as a troublesome musician and mad man artist, not many will love to associate themselves with such a brand who might bring troubles to them anytime.

Portable's public rants to his benefactors, Kogbagidi and Poco Lee has further proven that he is not a easy artist to manage.

Some may call it a strategy just to continue catching cruise and chasing clouts but it is actually a questionable strategy.

It remains a question begging for serious answer if Portable will still change his ways and become a more refined and composed artist who will go on to conquer the industry.

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Well it is just to early to pass a judgement on Portable and his immense rise to stardom in the shortest of time.

We wish Portable, CKay and other Nigerian budding superstars success in their music career and hope to see the Afrobeat genre conquere the world in a bigger version.

D'Banj Wizkid, Fela rated among top 10 Nigeria's greatest afrobeats stars of all time

Afrobeats sound have evolved since the time it birthed in the country in the times of Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti who an amazing job to project the lovely genre of music.

Other superstars have taken up the mantle to further promote Afrobeats to the rest of the world with their unique styles and deliveries. compiled a list of the best 10 Afrobeats superstars who have done their best to standout in the ever competitive industry. Some of the musician include, Wizkid, D'Band, Davido and Fela Kuti with Tiwa Savage being the only female in the list.


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