Portable is always in the news. And, a lot of times, it’s not for his music as many people would expect.
Between December 2021 when he first came under the public glare and May 2022, the street hop singer has been embroiled in quite a number of controversies, spurring lots of questions about his prospects and brand longevity.
Although he did once admit to leveraging confrontations in PR stunts, recent developments might be suggesting the musician is not done earning himself what many would almost readily consider no more than a negative press.
- The $3,000 scuffle that nearly scuttled his career
Portable has, no doubt, done a long haul in the music industry but he only had his big break with the hit song ‘Zazoo Zeh’.
The story of how he struck gold after teaming up with the dancer Poco Lee and the rapper Olamide is not new.
What attracted attention pervading even audiences not inclined to the genre of his artistry came after his scuffle with Poco Lee, the dancer, inadvertently initiated conversations about upcoming talents and music copyright.
Last December, Portable called out Poco Lee for allegedly “swindling” him of his money and receiving the credit for their hit song.
Portable had performed with Wizkid, Olamide, and Poco Lee at a Lagos show. While he danced, Wizkid could be seen in multiple social media videos throwing some dollars at him. Poco Lee was then said to have picked up the money.
In his rant, Portable claimed that Wizkid threw up to $3,000 but Poco Lee gave him only $600 after the show.
He also dissed the dancer — uttering several Yoruba slangs — for putting his name first in the credits for ‘Zazoo Zeh’.
In a video reacting to the development, his then-manager Kogbagidi disapproved of Portable’s actions and went ahead to state that he was sending the singer packing from their hotel.
Portable would later apologise and sort out the discord after intercession from several industry personalities.
Arguments would later abound on what in-house agreements governed monies earned from his shows and whether it was right for Portable to impulsively do social media callouts over a monetary dispute with a long-term associate.
- The people’s man & his many women
It’s not new in the music industry. Portable has this unapologetic street-smart demeanor that is not unexpected of a breakout hip hop star who survived years of hardship in the creeks struggling to make this music thing work out.
He’s expressive with his women too, making headlines over his lust and general philogyny on several occasions.
One moment, he shared a video wherein he spoke of snatching people’s partners and using wealth to attract the damsels.
“I have many girlfriends. They’re just coming and I get tired. It was like that before my big break. They’re the ones breaking each other’s hearts, not me. I have two sons with two different mothers,” he said on another occasion.
“There’s a girl I want to marry. If she messes up, she won’t be the first. I suffered for music. I believe I’ve arrived.”
The singer admits, in a more recent disclosure, that he would have amassed up to 12 wives before he hits age 40.
“I’m not yet 30 but I already have six wives and plenty of children. Before I’m 40, my housewives would be up to a dozen. I just want to inform you guys so you would be aware,” Portable added in a mixture of Pidgin and English.
In January, Portable was accused of “embarrassment” in Kenya after the singer appeared to be mocking a lady who walked out on him after he told her in a snub that he was not available for what he described as a “hook up”.
Most entertainers who have enjoyed quality years in the limelight have their way with women. Opinions on how juggling an infant career with philandering can disrupt focus, diminish productivity, and damage reputation are for another day.
- Firing his DJ, manager, promoter
In March, MC Morris, the comedian, removed Portable from the lineup of artistes to perform at his Canada show.
The comedian had cited Portable’s controversial personality as the reason for his decision and further faulted the singer’s prior resolve to sack his team members including his manager, promoter, and his personal disc jockey.
“2 managers in less than a year. Even sacked innocent DJ that his job is to play song and scratch,” Morris argued.
After wielding the big stick on his team members, Portable accused them of being “unruly” whenever he wants to mingle with new people.
In January, he was also spotted charging at his manager over issues related to money, a car, and a contract.
- Death threat & Headies award tussle
The latest of these controversies would be his threat to co-nominees vying against him in a music award.
After The Headies unveiled the nominees for its 2022 edition, Portable was nominated to vie in the ‘Rookie of the Year’ and ‘Best Street-Hop Artiste’ categories.
In the ‘Rookie of the Year’ category, he was put up to compete with Av, Fave, Magixx, and Ugoccie.
For the second category, he was pitted against Bella Shmurda, Mohbad, Naira Marley, and Goya Menor among others.
But in a video, Portable would claim the other nominees are no match for him. He further threatened to kill anyone who wins any of the categories in his place.
This prompted The Headies to consider disqualifying him. The award’s organisers also said they had involved the police in the matter, threatening to take legal action if the singer fails to retract his statement and apologise.
In response, Portable would tease that The Headies had nominated “a mad musician”.
“You invited a mad person and you’ve seen one. This year’s Headies will boom, you’ve nominated a mad man. The street is taking over. We don’t fight. We just said we want no competition,” he said in Pidgin English.
“Just give us our award. Don’t be vexed if I messed up. I won’t be the first to. I just want my award.”
- Two car accidents in 59 days
In March, Portable crashed his vehicle. He also took to social media to put a video in which he claimed it was a “spiritual attack”.
Less than two months after crashing the Range Rover car, he would be involved in yet another road accident.
“Why was it only my side of the car that got damaged? They want to kill a superstar but nothing will go wrong with the child of God. Nothing happened to the driver. it was only where I was that got damaged,” the singer lamented.
There are PR executives so skilled in the art of spinning around conflict that they buy into the 19th-century school of thought that believes there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
Conflict and confrontation sell. It’s sad. To date, entertainers still leverage controversy to drive brand visibility.
However, one might argue that it becomes excessive when a greater deal of what makes up the public conversation around a musician’s person in the media isn’t their creative output but their latest gimmicks and gaffes.
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