Revisiting Mo’Cheddah’s brief reign as Queen of Pop

The pop genre in any musical climate is the fastest evolving style of music. Artistes slip in and out of the industry almost as fluidly as social media trends. The task for artistes in the genre, therefore, becomes one of a constant battle to keep their career afloat by constantly remaining relevant with music, controversy or brand.

For Mo’Cheddah, her battle was a personal one that sent her packing from the industry at her peak. Nonetheless, the level of success she reached in the brief span she held sway is still miles ahead of many who came after her.

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In 2008, a 17-year-old Mo’Cheddah was unveiled by Knight House as their latest signing. The next year saw the rapper-singer breaking into the limelight with a feature on Finest (Won Beri) alongside rap heavyweights Teeto Ceemos and Sauce Kid. Despite being a sultry-voiced teenager, she was able to hold her place strongly enough to gain the attention of the rest of the country.

The buzz surrounding her growing fame grew even bigger when she placed second runner-up in a Hennessy Artistry Competition won by Ice Prince in 2009. The competition didn’t only demonstrate the measure of her talent, it also showed how versatile she was, as an artiste who could easily excel as a rapper or singer. Later that year, she released a Christmas EP titled True Christmas. The collective was made up entirely of quasi-alternative songs and covers of traditional Christmas songs. She finally broke into the industry in 2010 with successive hits like Ko Ma Roll, If You Want Me and the eventual release of her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Franchise Celebrity’.

The following year saw Mo’Cheddah amass a bigger fan base with the roll out of more videos. Like her peers Wizkid and Davido who emerged about the same time, she became a pop-culture gold-mine for catchy one-liners that made for cool social media updates. Despite her age, Mo’Cheddah’s time at the top produced label mate Phenom as her one of her legacies after she featured the rapper on her single See Me. marking the beginning of the rapper’s mainstream career.

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She rocked many stages including the Big Brother Africa and MTV MAMA awards, where she performed alongside rapper Rick Ross in 2010. In the same night, she bagged an award for best new act in Africa. Sadly, nothing good comes without its screws, especially fame and success.

In 2011, a 21-year-old MoCheddah ended her 3-year relationship and parted ways with label, Knight House. This exit was noted by her management and the label as mutual, even though rumour mongers and tabloids stated greed on the part of both parties as the actual reason. Mo’Cheddah herself referred to her label exit as a part of her evolution as an artist. But industry politics was the least of Mo’Cheddah’s problems.

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Things got more turbulent for her as she tried to juggle her demanding music career with her ongoing education at the University of Lagos. According to her, she was missing out on her teenage years, family and friends. The iceberg that finally tipped her over was a nude photo scandal that still hovers like a dark cloud over her career to date. She released 3 singles in 2012 in an attempt to redeem herself, but the conservative Nigerian public had long since moved on.

Mo’Cheddah has been back in the game for nearly two years, and while there is no doubt that the former pop queen has enjoyed success and suffered from the jarring scars of the industry in the same manner, we watch with keen interest, her attempts at staging a full fledged comeback.

We wish her all the best.

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