Blaqbonez, Ruger, & The Adoption of Social Media Stunts To Promote New Music

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It’s 2022 and music promotion is taking a different look. With the rise of social media platforms like TikTok and the popularization of Instagram reels and YouTube shorts and short-form content in general, younger artists in the music industry are now leveraging these new creative marketing tools and features.

One of the artists at the forefront of this movement is Emeka Akumefule, more commonly known by his professional name Blaqbonez. Blaqbonez is a Nigerian rapper signed to 100 Crowns, an imprint of Chocolate City. Blaqbonez, known for blending Yoruba and English in his rap, is widely known for his controversial self-proclaimed status as the “Best Rapper in Africa,” which became the most talked about topic in the Nigerian hip hop space between July and September 2019. Blaqbonez uses an unorthodox approach coupled with his eccentric and humorous personality to promote his music. His methods resonate with the younger generation, and it has earned him co-signs from the likes of Wizkid and Burna Boy. 

On the 13th of February 2022, Blaqbonez held his first-ever concert which he titled “Breaking the Yoke of Love Crusade”. The timing of the concert was quite brilliant, as it started on the night of the 13th, and finished in the early hours of the 14th, which was Valentine’s Day; what better day than the 14th to be Indaboski and not be a preacher of love? The way the concert was structured and marketed was also simply genius. Blaqbonez went for an anti-love crusade approach and the visuals and designs for the concert reflected that. Referring to himself as ‘Evangelist’ and other calling other acts ‘Brother’, ‘Minister’, ‘Elder’, and ‘Evangelist’ too. Blaqbonez also shamelessly tags and mentions other artists in his marketing efforts, and an example is when he was promoting his new single at the time Haba. He utilized multiple tweets, skits, and stunts to ensure that “Stream Haba” was on the lips of half the country.

Blabonez who many know to be anti-love also claimed that he was in a relationship through a series of videos that he released on his social media. The videos came as a shock to many because of the anti-love status Blaqbonez holds. As expected, the conversation of whether this was real or just another promotional stunt became a trending topic. However, it was just a marketing stunt to promote his single CommanderWhen Blaqbonez’s album Sex Over Love dropped last year, we saw him release various comedy skits to promote the album. In these skits, he collaborated with other artists, comedians and, skit makers. Blaqbonez even took to the streets, making videos, to get his song to No. 1 in the country, at the time. Blaqbonez made himself so hard to ignore that Wizkid and Burna Boy got in on the act of supporting him. It’s been noted that Blaqbonez is a marketing genius but not many people realize that Sex Over Love was his 9th project meaning he’d had time to learn, change and adapt to this new atmosphere in music marketing. 

Ruger, another newbie leveraging social media stunts, is signed to the D’Prince-owned record label and management service, Jonzing World. Ruger is no stranger to using TikTok challenges to promote music which he did when he released Dior from his EP The Second Wave. Right now, Ruger is tapping not only a TikTok challenge but also stunts to promote his new single Girlfriend

Ruger started promoting the song which was released on June 17th by claiming that he and the renowned actress and influencer Susan Pwajok are currently dating. This triggered commentary online. Still, an announcement like this just when he was about release a single literally titled Girlfriend is a tad suspicious. However, we have to admit that it is a good way to get people talking and gain attention just before releasing new music.

One of the best examples yet of an artist who totally obliterated charts thanks to their understanding of social media culture is Lil Nas X.  Before fame and fortune came into Lil Nas X’s life, he was a college dropout with around 30,000 followers on Twitter which he gained from posting and resharing popular memes. He always wanted to pursue music so he chose to utilize his existing following but he quickly found that they weren’t interested in this new content of his. But he understood social media and meme culture, so he took a different route. Lil Nas X’s new approach was to produce a song that was created solely through the use of memes by asking his followers for lyric ideas he could use and from that point, the song Old Town Road was born.

He then began to pair the song with memes including that of a dancing cowboy which he shared with his existing followers along with a link to the full song and shortly after that it became a viral hit. The views started piling in, and Lil Nas X listed the track as a country song as he noticed that the country music charts were a lot less competitive and would be easier for him to climb up the rankings. However, Billboard picked up on this and removed it, claiming the song did not fit the country music genre which then became a talking point around the US and two weeks later the song was No. 1.

Lil Nas X has proven that he has developed a winning solution that works for his brand for marketing himself in an industry that is known for being extremely competitive. Regardless of his songwriting talent and his ability to create memorable live performances, Lil Nas X would not be as big as he is today if it weren’t for his ability to promote himself through social media, understanding trends, and manipulating the industry.