Teni, a Nigerian actress, and Shizzi, a Nigerian superproducer, had an infamous social media feud on Saturday, December 17, 2021. Shizzi’s wife, Meredine, and Jaysynths, who later produced Teni’s 2018 hit, ‘Case,’ responded to the feud.
But there was a foreshadowing in this story…
Teni’s debut album, Wondaland, featured an emotional and introspective track titled ‘Hustle,’ which was written as a monologue or self-dialogue in response to some of her critics. Teni had a period of inactivity 18 months before the album’s release, which was exacerbated by the pandemic’s uncertainty.
The song appeared to be her response to fan pressure to maintain her success, as well as some of the people she appears to have offended in her pursuit of fame. Her lyrics were enlightening and informative about Saturday’s events.
Towards the end of the song, Teni offers a pungent line, “Dem say Teni pompous because I put myself first… It’s all love…
Her voice was calm, revealing the pain points that might have birthed that cathartic record.
The song opens with the following line, “I wan talk my mind, for anyone wey fit relate…”
The music industry is brutal, especially for unconventional women who prioritize personality over sex appeal. Making difficult decisions that may harm some people is a necessary part of succeeding. Teniola Apata was a Business Administration student at an American university when she became a nascent social media sensation in the early 2000s.
Falz was a model for entertainers with a wide range of skills who needed to use their other talents as a springboard for their music at the time. Many people dubbed Teni the “female version of Falz” because of her use of the selfie camera to emphasize words and make comedic expressions.
While all of this was going on, the makings of a superstar began to emerge, but first as a songwriter. While Teni denies such claims, some reliable sources claim that when she first entered the music industry, she preferred to be a songwriter.
Around that time, she met Shizzi, a rising Nigerian producer best known for his work on Davido’s “Your Body,” EME, and Wizkid’s “Rands and Nairas (Remix),” Emmy Gee’s “Rands and Nairas (Remix),” and other hits. His influence on Davido’s career was so significant that the OBO boss decided to buy him a house.
By this time, Shizzi was based in Atlanta, Georgia, US, which also happened to be Davido’s ‘hometown.’ Most people around Teni commended her tenacity, appetite, creativity, and ability to write records via ‘one take’ recordings.
“She was special and she knew it. You didn’t need anybody to tell you twice. All you had to do was catch her at a studio session and watch the magic [happen],” a source says.
As she grew, Teni found her voice and personality, possibly buoyed by encomiums. Slow but surely, she embraced the possibility of becoming a recording artist.
“Everybody wanted to be associated with her, but Shizzi beat everybody to it and signed her,” the same source revealed. “They had uncommon chemistry and a relationship that you couldn’t buy in the market. They’re both too angry to admit it now, but they know it’s true.”
By this time, Teni had started busking on the streets of Atlanta, often with a smile on her face.
“As much as she was simply enjoying those moments, I think she was using them to test run and solidify her superstar dreams,” says another source.
Teni’s mother’s nervousness
Teni’s mother reveals a lot of shocking information about her.
Teni’s mother stood in her way, urging her to finish high school rather than pursue a career in music. The woman had spent a lot of money on a degree at an American university and didn’t want her daughter to end up in an uncertain career in a crazy field.
Teni had a long phone conversation with Abisagboola Oluseun, also known as Bankulli, a Nigerian executive. The conversation became so heated that Bankulli’s father, who was visiting him for the holidays, intervened. He requested that his son assist the poor girl’s cause.
When Bankulli attempted to intervene by calling Teni’s mother, his father requested the phone and spoke with her in Ondo dialect. Things moved forward after she agreed.
Teni: Restlessness vs. Patience in Nigeria
Teni returned to Nigeria in 2015 with aspirations of becoming a superstar. Her social media skit game was gaining a lot of traction at this point. Everyone wanted to sign her pre-Amin when they heard her music.
“We’re talking about everyone,” another source says, “including D’Banj and Tunde Ednut.”
However, she was still signed to Shizzi at the time, who was eager to keep her. Teni felt ready and only needed money to continue and succeed, while Shizzi was particular about patience and building the blocks with records like ‘Magic Finger’ and ‘Amen.’
“Shizzi wanted to be patient and build it one at a time. And from the look of things, he had pure intentions for her. Considering what Teni has since become, one can also argue that he wanted to give her the best platform to excel,” says our first source. “But the longer he waited, the more restless Teni became: the attention didn’t stop. She might have also felt like her pen skills and ability to make great reference tracks had been exploited, even if that wasn’t the case.”
According to the source, a blogger named Tunde Ednut posted her videos in the hopes of signing her. Osadolor Nate Asemota, on the other hand, won the race and signed Teni to his Dr. Dolor Entertainment label. He was also willing to splurge on a large scale, something Teni felt she needed but could not get from Shizzi.
“I believe this caused some friction or unspoken animosity between Dolor and Tunde,” the source continues.
“I think Shizzi felt [betrayed] by Teni’s disloyalty, not even the breach of contract. They were close and he supported her dreams, from when she couldn’t recognize herself to when she found herself,” a US-based source says. “Countless studio sessions and hours that he put in, helping her to craft her sound at little to no cost just went away like that – it was more about the breach of trust. He thought she was family, but it was just a business decision to her. And even in the business, he was the bigger loser.”
Battle for contract
After Shizzi found out about Teni’s betrayal, he was livid and keen for Teni to uphold the terms of their contract. From a purely legal point of view, he had every right to enforce the terms of a breach.
“To Teni, she felt slightly hurt by it. As much as she knew that her selfishness hurt him, she seemed to hope that Shizzi would understand some of her decisions,” the second source adds.
When that didn’t happen, Teni’s mom once again stepped in to settle the matter, which resulted in Shizzi getting paid a compensation package. He didn’t think it was fair, but it was better than nothing, so he moved on.
Everything seemed to be fine until Davido released ‘Like Dat,’ the fourth of his four-hit singles in 2017. Teni recorded the song that became Davido’s reference a few years ago. While things didn’t spiral out of control, it did put both parties on ice detachment, which was eventually resolved with Teni receiving her credits.
In August 2018, Teni had signed to Dr. Dolor, but still wanted to work with Shizzi on ‘Case.’
Teni released ‘Case,’ a record produced by Jaysynths, a frequent collaborator, on October 19, 2018. Shizzi was enraged once more when he found out.
Teni had freestyled the core of the song in Shizzi’s presence on August 8, 2018, albeit to a different beat, but to continue to work on it together. Shizzi went on to fine-tune the beat in preparation for Teni’s vocals, which never materialized.
Jaysynths reportedly produced a new version of the song for Teni two days later, with a beat that sounds strikingly similar to Shizzi’s.
Despite this, there has never been a recorded version of ‘Case’ with a Shizzi beat, which may further complicate matters. Shizzi would have to prove that Teni told Jaysynths about an earlier beat and that Jaysynths knew about [Shizzi’s] version, which he then used to create his version, to have a successful legal claim to this song.