Prettyboy D-O, Odumodublvck And The Never-Ending Clone Wars Of Nigerian Music

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Prettyboy D-O and Odumodublvck have found themselves locked at the center of Nigerian music’s most recent controversy, the first in 2024. Already, the internet has been agog with comments implying a shared artistic similarity between the artists, and these were often fashioned against Odumodublvck as his profile had grown tremendously in the past year—insinuating that Prettyboy D-O pioneered his music style and should be getting some of these accolades. Triggered by an ugly quarrel involving NATIVE Records, Prettyboy D-O and an unpaid debt of $500, these reservations have resurfaced and there is no better time to put these comparisons to bed than now. 

Prettyboy D-O.
Source: Instagram/prettyboy D-O

Prettyboy D-O and Odumodublvck undoubtedly share a multitude of similarities—men raised in the relatively calm city of Abuja but bearing a brand of thuggish confidence that is distinctively Port Harcourt’s; rappers blending Trap, Street Hop and cult-like slang into a mix that is both vicious and melodious. And yet, there are even more lines that distinguish them. The most obvious of these is their self-given music identities. Odumodublvck tags his genre ‘Okporoko music’ or ‘Okporoko and grime’, harping on the tasty, nutritious properties of the stockfish which he likens to his music. Prettyboy D-O simply went with Culté, imagined as a bridge between Atlé, Hip-hop and Street Hop. In recent times, Odumodublvck’s ability to create outside the box of rap has been a key difference-maker, as seen in mellow fan favorites like Domitila and MINIMAL FUSS.


After establishing that the artists do indeed share some commonalities—close enough to be placed in the same category, but too stark to be considered duplicates—the issue of  imitation then comes up. An artist cannot be a copy of another if his style had been established before the other’s emergence. Applying this principle to this scenario makes things a little complicated, for although Prettyboy D-O released his first single in 2013—three years before Odumodublvck accidentally discovered his affinity for music while writing lines for another rapper—the rapper’s early efforts were not cut from the same cloth as the genre that is now in contention. Bance (with DJ Olu) and Gbese (feat. Falz), D-O’s first releases , relied on American Trap and Hip-hop, and were devoid of the street swagger that is now his staple. His next few releases, Taribo, Tinkoko, Your Level (with Ycee), Bruk It Down (feat. Ayo Jay), Peter Piper, Bumvita (feat. July Drama) and Footwork explored Afropop, Afrocarribean Pop, Trap and streaks of Dancehall as the Culté star sought to forge a unique identity within Nigeria’s Afropop-loving soundscape. By the time Prettyboy D-O leaned into his signature Culté side for 2018’s Chop Elbow, the hard-hitting single that tackled inept politicians and Nigeria’s worsening economy, Odumodublvck had already released his debut album, To All Blvck Sheep, built on the sound he is thought to have copied. 

For some, it is not enough that two artists operate in the same corridor of music, supplying similar experiences to a similar audience. One must surely be a dupe of the other; a fraud, only latching onto the other’s style because it had proven successful. It was a popular narrative in 2022 with Asake and Seyi Vibez, when some sections of fans insisted that their similarity was too much to be coincidental, with this section then breaking into two camps to argue over who the better artist is. The bigger acts are often targeted with more malice in these comparisons, as detractors insist that they occupy the spotlight that the smaller (and supposedly more talented) star deserves. Similar scenarios have played out multiple times in recent history: Rema was once accused of mimicking Wizkid at his debut, while Ayra Starr was touted as Mavin’s response to Tems. 

In Nigeria, these can be chalked up, at least in part, to a lack of proper music segmentation and the coronation of the one-for-all genre that is Afrobeats. With so many artists crowding into that narrow space, the few who break the mold and branch out into something different find themselves in these comparisons if they stand too close together. In an ideal situation, artists like Odumodublvck, Prettyboy DO, Erigga, and others who offer the zest of the streets in a Rap-leaning package would be encouraged to extend handshakes of collaboration and promote their newly created music genre. Collaboration over competition is how an industry flourishes.

However, the drama that has unfolded over the last few days suggests that any collaboration, creative or otherwise, between Prettyboy D-O and Odumodublvck is now far from likely. The storm began to brew a week ago, when Teezee, co-president of NATIVE records, made a seemingly innocuous tweet about audacious debtors. Prettyboy D-O replied to it , insinuating that the Alté pioneer was being hypocritical. Six days and a barrage of exchanged tweets later, the origin of the fracas was revealed: Prettyboy D-O was championing the cause of an unnamed video director, who had allegedly supplied services worth $500 to Teezee’s NATIVE in July 2022 but had not been paid. ODUMODUBLVCK stepped into the fray in defense of his label boss, but his responses to Prettyboy lacked much connection to the subject matter. It was a rekindling of a personal grouse he held against his former friend, perhaps triggered by the comments accusing him of imitation. 

It is everyone’s hope that this nasty episode is brought to a close very quickly, especially for the sake of the director whose fee might remain unpaid. Moving beyond this, however, it is imperative for fans to begin to see music as a fluid spectrum of expression rather than fixed boxes owned by artists. Two artists may share similarities without being identical; it doesn’t make either of them an imitator, and it certainly does not have to be grounds for competition.