For Moh Bah and Kilo Jalloh, their achievements have been huge in such a small amount of time. First, starting a management company titled 2k Management, and helping the likes of J Hus reach stardom, Jae5 become the producer everyone wants to work with, and Young T & Bugsey become viral hitmakers.
As the 2k Management operation grew, it become more than just a day-to-day operation outfit. They became to give a helping hand to other areas of the artist’s development. This helped birth the creation of 5K records. Moe, Kilo, and long-time collaborator JAE5 established their new label in 2020, and since it has birthed new artists, and global hits with the likes of ‘People’ by Libianca.
Fresh of the release of J Hus’ new hit album ‘Beautiful And Brutal Yard’. Clash spoke with Moe and Kilo.
First off, I wanted to say congrats on the success with J Hus. No. 1 in the album charts. Has it been a pretty busy few weeks for you both?
Moe: Thank you. For sure, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Just the leadup as well has definitely been more work. The last Hus album (‘Big Conspiracy’) had literally no marketing or videos. This time it’s different.
Kilo: We’re just glad the album is out for people to enjoy now, it’s been a long time in the making. We’ve been sitting on some of that music for a while.
I saw some videos of your 2k party as well, it looked like quite the night.
Moe: It’s something we’ve run every year, well for the last couple of years. It was really good to see all the artists turn up. Hus performed and we have a load of celebrities there to celebrate.
How has the transition been from 2k management, into also creating the 5k record label?
Moe: It was definitely a big transition for us, there’s been some mistakes along the way. What you can promise and give to artists as a manager and those expectations are different when you’re running a record label. So at the start, we were definitely overcompensating and making more work for ourselves.
Kilo: There were some big-budget music videos at the start with artists who had a big vision for a song, and we would just go along and believe in that too. But we’re a few years into it now and it feels like we’re taking it in our stride.
Is it tough making the decision about which artists to invest in?
Moe: Yeah, but that’s why it’s great that there are three of us to bounce ideas with. You can get too excited about an artist and want to spend a load of money, but it’s something we are checking with each other. We learned this over the first couple of years as well.
You had huge success with the Libianca song ‘People’ last year. How do you go about marketing a track that becomes such a global hit?
Kilo: We put the song out in the clubs and shisha bars around Ghana and Nigeria to get a feel. Then it just spread and we saw it was getting big in the likes of India and Indonesia. It was crazy.
The track came out properly at the end of last year when the world cup was on. It was making sure we got it to the right influencers in each country whether their football team won or lost. They were making content around the song. Then we would use some paid advertising to boost it so the right people were seeing it.
Moe: Even throughout this process of seeing how big the record got, we were learning about the likes of being in the ‘Genius’ charts for lyrics. There are so many factors that can help a track become a success.
Also, it’s about the artist, and Libianca was putting in the work and posting content using the song so much. We almost were going to tell her to slow down at one point. She was great to work with throughout the campaign.
Also just a shout out to the whole team at 5k, it was during the Christmas period which is obviously a busy time for everyone anyway, so we’re just glad for the work everyone collectively put in.
You also have the artist King Promise, who has been getting more accolades in his home country.
Moe: His new track ‘Terminator’ is performing really well. He’s one of the biggest artists in Ghana, but we’re trying to build him out in new areas such as the UK. Obviously how you approach a track will change and there can be differences in opinions on how to approach it.
But the main thing is, we all have the same goal and we’re working towards this. He’s a super-talented artist.
Also, you have Zakhar who I think shows a lot of versatility and a great voice.
Kilo: He’s got a great voice and there’s definitely versatility. But with this, we’re just trying to figure out what style works for the artist. He’s testing a lot of styles out that work for him now, it’s just about finding his feet. Zakhar is still young so it will come with age too. We can give them all the tools, but it’s down to the artist to deliver.
It’s also about the artist believing in themselves and their sound. Even with Hus, it got to a point where he just needed to do his own thing, and not listen to what everyone else thought he should do on a track.
Do you ensure to maintain a good relationship with the artists on your label?
Moe: There’s a certain way that music labels can be perceived, and there’s a history of artists being mistreated by labels. Because of this, a lot of artists are choosing to go independent, but we want to show that we’re honest with our artists and will make sure they’re informed of our decisions. It’s about being transparent with all our artists.
Words: Joe Hale // @joesquestions
Photo Credit: Richard Kattah