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Exclusive: 9ice’s Manager In Face-off With Reporter

By Dimeji Ogedengbe -

Oladehinde Fajana, the gentleman who manages singer 9ice could not hold back himself when he spotted E-24/7 reporter Odu Black, yesterday at a popular hangout in Lagos.

Fajana, popularly called Mode F, told friends Mr Black, who anchors 'The Reporter' column in E-24/7, had written a lot of 'damaging' articles about him and 9ice in the journal.

In 2010, E-24/7 ran series of cover stories on 9ice and his many controversies – especially the issues of his separation from Toni Payne, his online and offline battles with Ruggedman, and all the drama with his producer ID Cabasa and other Coded Tunes acts.

But the magazine, owned by Biodun Kupoluyi was not alone in the reports. Many newspapers and magazines dedicated generous space to 9ice in 2010 – mostly for reasons other than his music.

When Black accompanied his boss to a meeting of contemporary artistes at 'The Place' yesterday January 31, he could not have expected the embarrassment that met him.

'I walked up to greet someone whom Dehinde was having a conversation with, and I greeted him too, so it won't look like I ignored him, and he started pushing me; saying I wrote damaging stories about 9ice', Black, who was close to tears, told a fellow journalist.

'He wanted to beat me. He kept pushing me!', Odu says.

Eye witnesses say the young reporter was harassed by security as his boss and other colleagues took offense and lashed out at Fajana.

'They've suddenly forgotten where they're coming from', E-24/7 Publisher Kupoluyi said during the incident.

'Only a thug would act like that', a Punch Newspaper correspondent tells us. 'Only a thug. I mean, if you find a report malicious or damaging. Do a rejoinder; go to court, or call the attention of the editors. Don't go about showing how much muscle you have or threatening to beat up reporters'

Our sources say Fajana and Odu Black had a relationship prior to now; and that the outburst could have been a result of other issues both parties know about but might be unwilling to share with third parties.

'I do not see this as a case of artiste manager fighting with a reporter. I know they used to be friends and Odu used to roll with both 9ice and Hman. So I'm sure there's more to this than meets the eyes', an artiste who is close to both parties tells us.

However, after the uproar had been calmed, ID Cabasa had a private talk with the Black and Kupoluyi – the producer was obviously sorry for what 9ice's right-hand man had done, and he apologised profusely…

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BIODUN KUPOLUYI | 2/15/2011 3:15:00 PM
Who let the dog out?-BIODUN KUPOLUYI

In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, you need others to survive, right? But here is the secret, in between, we need others as well.”- Mitch Albom.

It's another season of love but I'm seething with anger for someone I love. 9ice. His dog strayed into my barn and before he walks away I won't spare my whip. Penultimate Monday, E24-7's able and reliable columnist, Odu Black, was attacked by 9ice's manager, Deinde Fajana, at The Place, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos. Odu, had just said 'Hello' to a couple of people in the bowel of the club when Deinde, also in the row, apparently miffed, for reasons best known to him decided to fly off the handle. His thoughtless action nearly scuttled the important business of the day.

From reports, he alleged Odu, now elevated to the clime of masquerades that scare the living daylight out of chicken-hearted and shameless opportunists, had in recent time used his column, The Reporter, to report the activities of his boss, 9ice. No doubt, deceived by his height and his fluffy arms, he pounced on the young man whose lean arms that carry a venomous pen. But the ingrates, (seems Ruggedman and his protégé, Chinedu are right after all), has forgotten the generous space we devoted to 9ice as a budding artiste. Not once or twice, E24-7, unearthed stories about 9ice's rise to fame, his hitherto fraternal romance with super duper producer, ID Cabasa, our exclusive on his house tucked in far-flung Abule Egba, his marriage and expectedly, the painfully and unexpectedly crashed union. Those were juicy and better read stories that even other titles culled. No word ever came from the furious Mode F, or Alapomeji to show how generous we were in our space and attention on 9ice. We were not really waiting for that because like our mantra, IF IT'S SHOWBIZ, IT'S NEWS TO US!

No doubt, as speculated in some reports, (thanks, great colleagues for that rare display of espirt de corps), Odu, was unofficially a Coded Tune family member. He actually had Cabasa to produce his unreleased single, Fire Dance. He was a Bariga boy. At their Bariga hood, he wined, dined and rolled with them all- Jahbless, Lord of Ajasa, 2PHAT and of course, the minnow among them all, 9ice.

I was a regular visitor too. But, Odu knew everything, knew everybody and I meant everybody. He had his ears to the ground, yes, he was nosy too. He knew when they were praying and fasting to cook 9ice's Gongo Aso. He was there when Cabasa convinced Ruggedman to allow 9ice's voice on his legendary track, Authority that fetched him his first Hip Hop World Award and threw him to fame. He was there in the dingy room cum studio where they would smoke garri with Ewa Aganyin (mashed beans) and proudly run an 0-0-1 food formula. He ran their errands. He was proud to call himself their boy. Then he would regale me with Cabasa's production wizardry. He believed in Cabasa. He loved 9ice. He told me 9ice would blow and when he had the opportunity to bring his unreleased work, for me to listen, I concurred that we had a star in the making. Instantly, we became his fans, a massive one with the monstrously popular single, Gongo Aso. It was our anthem, my ringtone and a permanent feature on my playlist.

Interestingly, Deinde, who suddenly became a glorified messenger, was not in the picture, he was Ajasa's boy lurking in the corner, parading himself as his minder. He never liked 9ice. He stopped him severally from having sessions in the booth. Well, as they say fortune favours the audacious, 9ice made a hit song, a successful album and somehow, wily Deinde dumped Ajasa as soon as he sensed his career was troubled. He switched camp and gave one long whinge about his suffering from childhood to woo unsuspecting 9ice.

While anyone can be a manager, there are very few who are good at it. I bet Deinde, like many started what he called managing because he saw a vacuum or need to help a friend out. By his action, he was not only abrasive, pushy and obnoxious, he crossed the line. He raised his hands against an innocent soul. He's forgotten there is a hand behind the masquerade. He actually wanted a showdown with me but I know better and I proved him wrong. Scolded by all and like a dog beaten by rain, he walked away with his third leg between his thighs. His actions showed he's suffering from delusions of grandeur, he's forgotten that his role as a manager is 99 percent problem solving for his artiste but now he has not only gotten the butt, he's got 9ice battling with many woes and foes, and to add salt to injury, a bad press.

He has forgotten as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. The best support system any artiste manager needs is the media. Ask Sunday Are and Percy Ademokun. Ask Efe Omorogbe, ask Joy Iyamu. You need the media people to help you gain your edge? I recommend a management training course to give you a good idea of the basics of an artiste manager. Go get a degree.

9ice has a long list of people he rode on their back to fame, many of whom, he left really bruised and bitter and his manager feels nothing is wrong. Ore pe, asiwere gbagbe. Deinde would do better as a friend of 9ice than his manager, but with a friend like him, does he need an enemy?

It's time you crawl back to your bed, pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep until you wake up tomorrow and realise that your melodrama has all been a really bad dream. If you wake up and you are still feeling bloated and remorseless, shove that job, boy. You don't have a future in it. I bet.