Genius; a word that is constantly used to describe Blaqbonez and the marketing strategies he employs for his music. Born Emeka Akumefule, the Chocolate City Music signee has proven time and again that he has something up his sleeve that other artists in the industry don’t. Emeka The Stallion, as he is often called, has taken the Nigerian music industry by its horns due to his unorthodox and sometimes controversial approach to marketing his sound. However, whether you’re a fan of him and his music or not, it is impossible to deny that whatever Blaqbonez is doing is working for him.
Back in his battle rap days on the altercation show, Blaqbonez had always displayed a comic and witty side to him which he has managed to lean into exponentially better than other artists. Although a lot of artists have leveraged humor to grow their brands, Blaqbonez’s approach stands out. Blaqbonez has made humor and creativity his special weapons for making sure that he is taken seriously; ironic, isn’t it? But all of this is because the 26 year old Obafemi Awolowo University graduate understands something that only a few people do.
When you take a look at how Blaqbonez releases his music, you begin to notice a pattern. He doesn’t put out a new project without going all out by either trolling the internet like he did when he released Commander in February or over deliver like he’s just done with his new Back In Uni video. Blaqbonez directed the Back In Uni video alongside Perliks and for his music directing debut the self proclaimed “Best Rapper in Africa” had to go all out as he is accustomed to. The build up to the video’s release was nothing short of a rollercoaster. Blaqbonez first teased the idea of the video when he shared screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation between him and popular music video director TG Omori, where the director supposedly charged Blaqbonez $30k for a potential shoot which Blaqbonez quickly ran away from.
He then went on to share a picture of him on set captioned “BB Omori” assuming the role of a director and letting us know that his new video would be self directed. But that was only the first part of Blaqbonez’s genius plan to shut down the internet with his new video. Over the next few days leading up to the video release, Blaqbonez kept engaging his followers with constant tweets about how the video was coming along.
On the D-Day, Wednesday 12th of October, Blaqbonez’s Back In Uni video was premiered and it took over Twitter with ‘BB Omori’ instantly skyrocketing to the number one spot on trending in Nigeria. Why? Blaqbonez had managed to curate major moments in popular culture and allowed his music video to serve as a capsule for these moments. Some of the moments included Wizkid’s Bad To Me song cover, Burna Boy’s Dazed magazine cover photo, scenes from Ruger’s Girlfriend video, scenes from BNXN’s Kenkele video, a parody of Oxlade’s viral Colors Show performance of Ku Lo Sa, and scenes of Portable and Carter Efe.
Blaqbonez could have created a never before seen video idea, but he decided to recreate already viral content and combine them on a level that has never been seen before. The results? Blaqbonez’s Back In Uni’s video garnered over 500,000 views in the first 12 hours, peaked at No 33 on US trending, peaked at No 1 on trending music videos in Nigeria, and has garnered over 1.2 million views in less than 2 days. Blaqbonez’s YouTube channel also crossed 115k subscribers from its previous 99k subscribers. All of that hype has made the Back In Uni track crack the top 10 on Apple Music Nigeria from previously debuting at No. 33 on the charts. Back In Uni also went to No. 1 spot on Spotify’s top 50 most played songs in Nigeria.
Blaqbonez’s success comes from understanding one simple concept: you don’t always need to create something totally new. If you’ve seen something work for someone in the past, it’s possible to use that knowledge to your advantage. Now, with Blaqbonez, even though he borrowed already viral concepts, it’s his combination of these concepts on a scale that hasn’t been attempted before that has made it super effective and novel. Blaqbonez wasn’t ripping anyone off, he was simply leveraging his understanding of social media and virality to create a body of work that will go down in history as one of the most creative music videos ever released by a Nigerian artist.