The Copycat Crimes of Naija Music Video Directors

Somebody once said if something is too good to be true, then it actually is too good to be true. Over the past few years, the production of Naija music videos has grown and developed with the entrance of a fresh crop of music directors who have revolutionized the quality and nature of videos produced for Naija artistes. Not only does quality play a key role but creativity as well.

Clarence Peters, Lynxxx and Ice Prince on set of VIP
For a long time, we were wowed by the powerful display of creative colorful videos as well as scandalized by dirty raunchy ones. There is so much glitter and fame over the work of these directors who have in a number of ways succeeded in making uninteresting music look interesting with the nature of their visuals.

The concepts, creativity, execution...everything looks so good...but how true are they?

Olamide's Ilefo Illuminati bore striking similarity with The Game's Martians Vs Goblins
The above question begins to arise with the discovery last year of Olamide's 'Ilefo Illuminati' video shot by Godfather Productions, being a rip off of the concept of The Game's 'Martians vs Goblins' video. This did not seem to catch the attention of many. Later in the year, director Moe Musa would rip off the concept of UK Pop duo LMFAO‘s 2011′s ‘Party rock anthem‘ video for Davido's 'Skelewu' video.

Above: Opening Scene from LMFAO's video
Below: Opening Scene from Davido's video
The LMAFO video starts with RedFoo and SkyBlu waking up from a coma in the hospital, hitting the streets to notice the town has been deserted. Just when they get on the road, someone comes to warn them about a song that has caused a frenzy in the town, then a bunch of crazy dancers get close to them and start dancing, LMFAO later join the dance.The above description just about sums up Davido’s ‘Skelewu‘ video too; Davido waking up from a coma, hitting the streets to be warned by a young man bla bla bla…       
In both LMFAO's and Davido's videos, we have the scene
where a man warns the artistes about the song. The dude
in the Davido version sounded and looked retarded.
I have always wondered what the Moe Musa directed Skelewu was really about because it didn't make sense to me; to me it didn't look any better than the Sesan Ogunro directed version. The drama was weak and carried a lame story line I didn't understand until several watches later.

Copycat scenarios: Empty deserted streets from
LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem (above)
and from Davido's Skelewu (Below)

Dancers like Zombies...LMFAO (above)
Davido (below)
In the words of Nigerian Entertainment Today:

What was director Mr Moe Musa thinking? That there was no MTV or YouTube in Nigeria back in 2011? Not only should he be berated for this unacceptable creative plagiarism, he should be visited by LMFAO’s label Interscope Records with a lawsuit.
There is no mention of Moe Musa borrowing the concept or paying homage to LMFAO. The official release from Davido’s publicist WildFlower PR states, ‘HKN Music presents Davido in a revolutionary movie showing the viral effect of the ‘Skelewu’. Revolutionary indeed!

Hmmm....serious matter.

Another offender has recently surfaced. With a high profile and consistent track record of which has amounted to shooting hundreds of colorful music videos, one would least expect Clarence Peters to be stealing video concepts or dallying into copyright infringement - if he never actually sought any permission for the videos he plagiarized.

Above: Drummer from Tumi & the Volume - 'Asinamali‘ 
Below: Drummer from Tiwa Savage & Don Jazzy - 'Eminado'

Above: Tumi in the chair rapping ('Asinamali‘) .
Below: Don Jazzy in the chair singing (
A few weeks ago Tumi Molekane, a South African rapper accused Peters of stealing the concept of his music video 'Asinamali‘ and using it for Tiwa Savage's 'Eminado' music video. Looking at the two videos, you can see how Peters copied the retro concept as well as the boxed screen. Though we can credit him for getting a bit more creative with the 'Eminado' video, adding more elements and making it even look better than the 'Asinamali‘ video, the fact still remains that the 'Eminado' video owes its good finish and foundation to the 'Asinamali‘ video concept.

Copycat scenario...
Above: SlaughterHouse with featuring artistes
Below: Ice Prince and featuring artistes

They decided to use a female pilot instead of male
...probably a weak attempt to differentiate
But Peter's copycat crime on the 'Eminado Video' may not be as profound as that of what he did with Ice Prince's 'VIP' video. The 'VIP' video release online June 21, 2013, was a total rip-off of US rap group SlaughterHouse's music video, 'My Life' which featured Cee Lo Green, released about June 2012. Clarence's greates crime in this shoot was going as far as stealing footage from the SlaughterHouse video. Unlike what he did with the 'Asinamali‘ video in which he shot everything, the 'VIP' video is fraught with footages that bear the exact semblance to what we see in the 'My Life' video.

Same copied scene...could this be a stock footage?

Another copied scene...could this be a stock footage
with picture manipulation to change pilots?
While I'm aware that directors and filmmakers can make use of stock footage when shooting videos, the fact that a video ends up having way too similar elements with an original is where the issue arises.

The Ice Price scene below is definitely not a stock footage.
It's a copycat of the one above. 
This scene gives away clues that it was copied.
Check out the figures on the left hand side above
and below...they're the same! 
It’s obvious from this growing trend that directors may be trying to cut corners due to a busy schedule but then there’s always the danger of somebody eventually discovering the act. 

To be honest, majority of the footage that looked duplicated in the ‘VIP’ video also look like stock footage that directors can buy to use as fillers and establishing scenes when shooting and cannot be a basis for being sued as Nigeria Entertainment Today thinks.

However, what do we say of other scenes that are definitely not stock footage and copy off the ‘My Life’ video? This is where Clarence may be guilty of actually copying the SlaughterHouse video.

Are music video directors running out of ideas just like many artistes today or their schedule is just showing them 'pepper'?

This now makes one wonder…how many other Naija music videos out there on air are actually rip-offs and copycats?

Photos and additional Info Courtesy: Nigeria Entertainment Today

3 Screamer(s):

CherryWine said...

The worst thing is the don't do it ironically...they are actually taking credit for people's intellectual property. With all their posturing on the COSON platform, should they be infringing other people's intellectual rights while fighting for theirs? It is a damn shame! I actually hope someone gets sued to serve as a deterrent to other outright thieves.

Afronuts said...

@Cherrywine...very true! Gosh! I forgot to make a mention on COSON in the write-up. Thanks for putting that up.

Anonymous said...

Honestly i dunt think Nigerians have an idea how wrong plagiarism is. In an advanced country these director-plagiarists will be sued for millions for theft of intellectual property. on no account should u plagiarize, its not done.