Ice Prince: When will Nigerian rapper sign to Jay Z’s ROC Nation?
Ice Prince is currently working on his third studio album “Jos To The World”, devoting his time to dropping an upgrade to his previous projects. Perhaps the release of that project is tied up with another announcement that involves the Jay Z outfit.
April 1, the traditional fool’s day always brings with it, surprises, pranks and laughter from attempts to override national intelligence with carefully thought-up false alarms, and prankster games. So was it in 2015, as the day settled into its usual routine. But something more than harmless fun was in store for that year for the citizens of Nigeria, as an iconic photograph made its way to the internet.
Ice Prince and Jay Z were photographed together at ROC Nation’s offices in New York.
Cue in the frantic celebration and exultant scenes of delight and wonder. Here was the god MC, and America’s business mogul and Hip-hop legend, standing side-by-side with Africa’s most marketable rapper at the time. The Nigerian cyberspace broke, as everyone spun into overdrive. There were exultant scenes all over the internet, as media houses fell into a press race for the scoop. Reports flew from every angle, opinions were offered, editorials created, polished and let loose on the conveyor belt of the Nigerian press. Ice Prince needed to be waved like a flag as the headlines ran screaming.
Twitter was no different. The rapper’s name instantly trended, as everyone found new ways to express happiness, opinion, famzing, reservations, and of course, trolling. 140 characters, for once was enough, as people discovered new creativity levels on the microblogging platform. Here was our son, in whom we are well pleased, representing his country on a bigger stage. Progressive ‘insiders’ came up with scoops about the rapper signing a deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, one in which profit was the aim, and African talent, once again the raw material to be exported, harnessed and converted into a finer product. Ice Prince was truly doing us proud.
“Imagine you meeting Jay Z, was probably the same way it was for me”, Ice Prince told Pulse Reporter, Ayomide Tayo in an interview. “It was moment in my life, it was a dream come true…what’s even more powerful about it is that the picture was taken at the ROC Nation office, at Time Square, New York, at Jay Z’s office. Shout out to Briant ‘Bee-High’ Briggs, Jay Z’s cousin, who actually made that introduction happen. And it’s been big conversations since then.
“It’s bigger than how people see it, it’s bigger than a picture. Not just for Ice Prince, it’s bigger for the whole African music, the whole Hip-hop, the whole Afrobeat movement’.”
In the coming days, there were more activity for the singer. He appeared at The Breakfast Club on April 16, 2015. Interviewed by Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, Ice Prince spoke on a variety of subjects like growing up, his father passing, what Nigerian music is like, and meeting the rap legend Jay Z. During the interview, he honored his Choc City brothers M.I and Jesse Jagz, and congratulated General Buhari for winning the presidential elections. There were also clips released, which shows the rapper arriving at the ROC Nation offices in style.
ROC Nation’s business in Nigeria is helmed and ran by music executives and veterans, Tola Odunsi and Obi Asika. They are in charge of overseeing the setup and creating the conduit for effective representation and planning. After Ice Prince’s escapades in New York, rapper Jay Electronica showed up as a forerunner, worked with Don Jazzy, clubbed and had a social media blast in April 2015. The next month had his cousin and Roc Nation director of mobile strategies, Briant ‘Bee-High’ Biggs fly into the country to ‘scout for new talents’. Bee-High held meetings with MI Abaga, and Ice Prince and the Chocolate City team as well as Mavin Records before going the way he came.
That was it for Ice Prince. The trail went cold. Nothing was heard again of the singer’s name connected with Jay Z, although conversations were ongoing.
All of these conversations and cross-Atlantic traffic paid dividends when Tiwa Savage and Don Jazzy, in June 2016, flew to New York to hold a meeting with Jay Z to seal an international management deal for Tiwa in Roc Nation. Official confirmation was later given and the deal was bagged. Last week, two other emissaries from Jay Z’s camp arrived Nigeria. One, Rel Carter, has the distinction of being his nephew and an A&R at Roc Nation. He is with Rodney Williams, the founder and CEO of LISNR, a company that own a high frequency, inaudible technology, and serves as a communication protocol that sends data over audio. His firm is in partnership with Roc Nation. They both arrived in Lagos a few days ago to ‘continue Jay Z’s talent scouting job’, and have left with no news announced.
But so far, there has been no word linking the company with Ice Prince. Although inside sources reveal that the conversations started in New York for the rapper, has been ongoing in the background. Conversations and meetings about an extensive deal are still on, with everyone tight-lipped about it. According to many, Tiwa Savage’s deal with the company is not the only one in the bag, but for now, just the one allowed in the public.
Ice Prince is currently working on his third studio album “Jos To The World”, devoting his time to dropping an upgrade to his previous projects. Perhaps the release of that project is tied up with another announcement that involves the Jay Z outfit. One Nigerian is already on the roster. Another won’t hurt, yes?