HOW D-BLACK IS SURVIVING THE RAP GAME DESPITE…

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‘‘If rap skills sold, D-black would have been poor. Fortunately, networking and marketing is the highway to big purses and D-black knows his way around getting it’’.

It was at a seminar in 2013 on the importance of branding especially for those in the creative art industry that a very vivid example was given by the speaker, Basil Anthony, CEO of Ticket Ghana to back his presentation.

‘If I were a concert organizer or musician and need an artiste from Ghana to put on a concert/collaborate with (on a project), I’ll easily settle on D-Black. If you want to know why, visit all his social media pages and check his biography’.

Desmond Kwesi Blackmore aka D-Black’s biography across all platforms is solid, well packaged and an easy sell. The Ghana Boy knows the importance of branding and the benefits accruing to him is huge.

There are no figures to back it up but the overall consensus among entertainment watchers is that he is the richest if not one of the richest musicians in showbiz today in Ghana and in Africa. And this feat did not come out of the blue. It took a well crafted and deliberate plan.

THE BEGINNING

D-Black’s entry into the music scene was in 2010 when he teamed with Kweku T to release a joint album Target Practice in 2008 with Move Back and Breathe (featuring JaySo) as the top singles. From then on wards, he has not looked back. Employing his numerous connections-his peer pressure family-who are all media persons, Move Back and Breathe became a hit, earning them a performance and a nomination in the best hip hop category at the 2011 Ghana Music Awards. The video for Move Back was featured constantly on Channel O and MTV Base.

Prior to stepping into the glitz of fame, D-Black had had a working relationship with Reggie Rockstone, working at one point as Reggie’s manager. He made a cameo in the award winning video to ‘AH’. His stint with Reggie Rockstone obviously impacted his business sense -he learnt the ropes of show business and established connections with the right people. And these connections are serving him right.

Following the success of his collaborative effort with Kweku T, D-Black (Alhaji Kiti) went solo and released his album Music, Love and Life. He has three albums to his credit and is readying to release his fourth album.

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D-Black and Reggie Rockstone

D-BLACK THE BUSINESSMAN

If there is one thing his critics will agree to, it is that D-Black has a talent for networking. He always looks out for opportunities and tries to build bridges for the immediate future. And so far, he has done that well. He has a lot of connections than most of his contemporaries.

D-Black is building an empire in the entertainment industry. He has a music label-Black Avenue Music, he has a movie production company and a music video outfit-Black Avenue Films.  Last year, he released his first movie Why Should I Get Married He has also added music video directing to his skills set.

His marketing skills are so enormous to a fault. He was the first rapper in Ghana to have billboards across the metropolis announcing the release of his album. He, after signing and overseeing the release of Joey B’s first single ensured that the latter’s video ‘Strawberry Ginger’ was beamed to the Africa and parts of the world on leading music channels such as Trace TV, MTV Base, Channel O simultaneously. Who does that?!

Dubbed the ‘P.Diddy of Ghana’ due to his business acumen , D-Black has ensured that artistes under or affiliated with the Black Avenue Music  brand get the best of everything-from exposure to having their records enjoying radio spins. D-Money owes his popularity within the music circles to D-Black for instance.

His endorsements are among the best any artiste could scoop. He is a Ciroc Vodka ambassador. How much he was paid is not known but it is believed to be huge. He was in 2013 signed by IT firm RLG for a speculated amount of 50,000 with music duo R2Bees. This is in addition to his fashion line Black Avenue Clothing.

D-BLACK AND MUSIC

I am sure if music fans are asked to list their 10 top rappers in Ghana today, D-Black will not make the list (the meanies will say he won’t even make top 20). D-Black I’m cock sure acknowledges the fact that he is not that great on the mic. He is an average rapper. Any attempt by him to hold himself as a real talented rapper may be delusional on his part. Despite all this, D-Black is signed to Universal Muisc, Africa and was the first Ghanaian rapper to get a BET nomination.

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It is for this reason that he has cultivated a smart habit of soliciting the help some of the best rappers or singers on his projects. He has also found a way of working with some of the finest producers in the game. The recruitment of the talented DJ Breezy as the resident producer of Black Avenue Music is a great move.

Most of the big hits D-Black has scored have been collaborative works. He has featured every major act he should within Ghana and has collaborated in recent times with Nigeria’s Davido and Mo’ Cheddah. His recent big hit Personal Person was a collaboration with Castro Destroyer (who is has gone miraculously missing). Also, his first major hit as a solo act was with highlife crooner Kwabena Kwabena on Somebody.

D-Black’s resume looks incredible- in his 4 years in the music industry, he has scooped 10 awards and received 53 nominations across Ghana, Africa and worldwide. And has a movie to his credits- he Executive produced a romantic comedy “Why Should I Get Married’ in November, 2014.

It would be interesting to note that outside of Ghana, D-Black is regarded a ‘god’. A rapper and a friend of his told me he towers over Sarkodie and EL outside of Ghana. ‘D-Black in South Africa is huge. He has more fans there than both Sarkodie and EL’, he told me in a conversation.

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photo courtesy Ghanamusic.com

D-Black divides opinion among music fans. Whiles some deem him nothing but an average rapper, some think he should stop making music and concentrate on his business. Both parties may have good reasons to back their argument. However, one thing remains indisputable about him, if skills really sold; D-black would have been poor. Fortunately, it is the connections and marketing that is important and d-black knows his way around it.

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2 comments

  1. Nii · May 27, 2015

    Well written article, but I totally disagree. Look at Don Jazzy, he is what we would call a successful businessman/ average musician. If you have lowered the bar for D black then its cool but I don’t think he has as much money as Don Jazzy then P Diddy. Ghanaians who hail mediocre acts at times even say he is bad. We don’t have a lot of rappers who are popular, when we start, you’ll see him fade away. I respect his hustle, but nah, he hasn’t gotten anywhere.

  2. Efo Dela · May 28, 2015

    Yep, i do agree with you on this. He’s a branding genius. Positioning himself at the right place at the right time.
    You are wrong however when you say “D-Black I’m cock sure acknowledges the fact that he is not that great on the mic”. According to him, he’s a genius who has to dumb down his music just so he can win award.

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