On the 27th of November, 2008, the Ghanaian music industry suffered a great jolt. On that fateful day, one of the most prominent names in the Ghanaian music business was sentenced to a 13- year prison term after being busted trying to traffic 80 pellets of cocaine to London. The music executive was, at that time, flying high. His moves were solid, his influence was sprawling and his artists were breaking into one of the most difficult music markets- Nigeria after dominating the Ghanaian scene.
Isaac Abeiku Aidoo, known within the Ghanaian music industry as ‘Goodies’ was the Chief Executive Officer of Goodies Music. Having begun the label in the early 2000s, Goodies soon found success with the Ghanaian supergroup, V.I.P (Vision In Progress). The success of V.I.P would lead to Goodies signing up Tic Tac (now TiC), MzBel. He would also work with rappers Lord Kenya, Barima Sydney and Nigerian stars 2Face Idibia and Tony Tetuila.
Goodies’ production and management role made him a power broker within the industry. His ambitions were great, too. As a way to spreading his influence, he entered into deals with UK based entertainment promotion house Allordia Productions, where he sent Ghanaian artists to perform in the UK for Africans in the diaspora.
But, what Goodies came to be noted for was his ability to break his artists – Tic Tac and V.I.P- into the Nigerian market by developing a formidable relationship with DJ Kenny Ogungbe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kennis Music.
Goodies has been described as kind-hearted; someone who did not hesitate to lend a hand to people he crossed path with. His magnanimous trait became a leveraging tool for him as an executive, and the artists signed to his label through the establishment of strong relationships with influential radio presenters and DJs at that time. Through this, his artists were able to gain media support with every project they released.
I recall weeks before V.I.P released their magnum opus “Ahom Ka Wo Mu”, they would play an unmastered version of “Sere Kakra”, a single from the album during an interview with Radio Gold’s Prime Eye on his Saturday afternoon Entertainment Show. Radio Gold, was among the radio stations that offered support to V.I.P and Goodies Music whenever they released a project.
This was the era where radio presenters/DJs were eager to break records on their shows. The breaking of records was huge for both the radio presenter/DJ and their media platforms since it enhanced their reputation as credible platforms and tastemakers. This point of view was shared by Kwesi Aning- Adjei, former host of MegaHitz on Joy FM, who revealed how music programme executives would spend time in studios, and be on the necks of artists and producers for new music to break on their radio shows.
After successfully guiding V.I.P and Tic Tac (or TiC) in Ghana, Goodies set eyes on positioning his artists within the Nigerian music market. The Nigerian music market was growing in influence and on the cusp of becoming a multi-million dollar industry. Kennis Music had a stellar roster of artists like Edriss Abdul-Kareem, Tuface, Tony Tetuila at that time. With Kennis Music seeking opportunities for his artists in Ghana, Goodies became the best vehicle for that mission. The outcome was an altruistic business relationship.
Goodies’ foray into show business was more accidental than planned. He was a successful businessman with dealings in tourism, hospitality and agriculture – he was the owner of Goodies Travel & Tour and Farms. Being young and successful meant a lot of people came to him for assistance. One of such people was Abibifuo, a hiplife group who persuaded him to invest in their careers. According to Goodies, the monetary assistance he offered the group helped them cut their record ”Ye Gu Nsa”, a relatively successful track back in 2000. He would also finance another highlife artist Papa Tinko to release “Kpolom Palam” around the year 2000.
Realizing the perks that came from his involvement with these two artists – as their benefactor, Goodies decided to venture into showbiz on a full time basis. The first artist he executive produced was the rap legend Lord Kenya. In an interview with Sammy Flexx on Zylofon FM, Goodies revealed how his association with Lord Kenya came at the back of a friend’s recommendation. He would go on to executive produce “Yeesom Sika”, one of Lord Kenya’s best albums.
V.I.P, whom he had seen perform would come to his office at Caprice to solicit his assistance. That encounter led to the production of their ”Lumbe Lumbe Lumbe” album in 2001. To ensure V.I.P, whom he described literally as his ‘cash cow’ had space of their own to record, he converted part of his office into a studio for their use. Their biggest album till date “Ahomka Wo Mu” was recorded in that studio
In an interview since his release from jail – Goodies was released from prison on December 23, 2014, after serving a six-year sentence -he disclosed how he broke into the Nigerian music market, considered a difficult turf. Tic Tac, according to him was invited to Nigeria for a show. Tony Tetuila, then on Kennis Music expressed interest in working with Tic Tac. The outcome was “Fefe Ne Fe”, off his 2003 album “Most Wanted”.
In his submission, Goodies revealed how the relocation of V.I.P and Tic Tac to Nigeria helped grow their profiles, thus allowing them an opportunity to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the industry at that time. According to him, this move was deliberate since it was the only way for them to have some level of access into that market. “There was a time people thought VIP and Tic Tac were Nigerians”, Goodies confirmed. The attention, fame and business opportunities that followed included top collaborations, bookings for shows across the countries. Seeing Nigerian artists like Wizkid interpolating V.I.P’s ” Ahomka Wo Mu” on “Manya” attests to the impact they made in that market.
With all the gains Goodies was raking, why did he get himself involved with drugs which resulted in a 16-year prison sentence on his head? In his initial plea to the court, Goodies would tell the judge he was set up.
“My Lord I’m not a drug dealer and have never involved myself in any drug problem. I don’t smoke and don’t drink and so do not know how on earth I put myself in such trouble”, he indicated to the court. “I was surprised when I was told it was cocaine because I did not even know what I was carrying. I am humble and don’t put myself in such trouble”.
In a recent interview on Adom FM, the once high flying music executive would address the circumstances that led to his arrest, offering a new perspective. He attributed his financial distress and the need for money to soar up new business ventures at that time as the reason for his attempt to smuggle some kilos of cocaine to the UK.
“I was low on funds and I was executing a big project in London – opening a new office as I had been made an ambassador for Ghana Olympics Committee. I was also setting up a branch of Goodies Music. All these ate into my finances. So, I spoke with a friend who suggested I smuggle some drugs since I was a frequent traveler. Besides, I was not interrogated or searched when I travelled at the airport. Unfortunately, I got caught and served time in jail”.
The arrest and subsequent jailing of Goodies would have some effect on the careers of the artists he was managing. The momentum that V.I.P had around that time would wane, albeit they continued to release music. Tic Tac would also chalk some level of success before ‘retiring’ from music for a couple of years. The question remains: how would V.I.P have fared under Goodies? Would the members still be around? Would their success went beyond Ghana and Nigeria into other frontiers? These remain but questions.
Now out of jail, Goodies has gone back to farming. He is also back within the music business fold following the rebranding of Goodies Music. Registered in Belgium, Goodies Music International is “a consolidation of a good working relationship with some international record labels such as Reymond Entertainment (Holland), Base Management (UK), Alordia Promotion (UK) and Kennis Music (Nigeria)” including new relationships brokered with some international labels.
Goodies Music International is yet to outdoor any signed artists or release any song under the imprint. Whether Goodies could replicate what he did in the past with TiC and V.I.P remains to be seen. Armed with decades of experience and the right resources, Goodies might be able to make an impact. Though the music scene continues to evolve, the pillars on which it hinges has not changed much.