Universal Music Africa has announced a strategic pan-African distribution partnership with leading French rapper and entrepreneur Booba and his Tallac Records label.
The exclusive deal will see Booba’s entire catalogue, spanning 10 albums and almost two decades, available for the first time across the continent and will also include future releases.
The deal also marks the launch of 92i Africa, a new division of his 92 i brand, in partnership with UMA and Universal Music France (UMF), his long-term distributor and partner in his Tallac Records and 92i brands.
The label will focus on signing and developing the best in African rap and hip-hop talent and launches with the signings of DopeBoy DMG (Senegal) and Didi B (Cote d'Ivoire). 92i Africa will also provide a suite of services for its artists including brand and marketing partnerships, live music production and touring services, and will be based out of UMA’s regional headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Booba, a French native of Senegalese descent, is one of French rap’s most successful artists of all time, breaking domestic sales records, whilst achieving numerous diamond, platinum and gold certified records in France, selling in-excess of 10 million albums. His live performances have also broken records in France, becoming the first rapper to sell out both Paris’ 20,000 capacity Accor Arena (twice), and the 40,000 capacity La Defense Arena. His latest album, Ultra, released in March 2021 via Tallac Records/UMF, has already achieved more than 300 million streams worldwide in its first few months since release.
As a producer, Booba has discovered, recorded and released successful artists including Damso, Shay and Bramsito through his labels. Booba will use 92i Africa, and his partnership with UMA, as a building platform to help elevate African music talent to new audiences around the world and support the local music ecosystem within French-speaking Africa.
Booba has launched several successful clothing brands and stores including La Piraterie, Unkut and Disconnected. He also owns his own whiskey brand, DUC.
Franck Kacou, MD, Universal Music Africa, said: “Booba has been one of the most important and influential rap artists, inspiring new generations of French and African hip-hop talent for decades. He is an artist and entrepreneur that Africa is so proud of, so it is an honour to help make his deep catalogue of groundbreaking music available across the continent for the first time. We are excited to work together with him to make 92i Africa, a home for some of Africa’s most exciting artists, and to help give them a step-forward onto the global stage.”
Olivier Nusse, CEO, Universal Music France, said: “Booba is an outstanding artist who has dominated the urban music market in France for over 20 years. He is a megastar, and he is also a great talent scout. We are extremely happy to have him as a very privileged partner for many years. Booba is an incredible reference beyond the French borders and particularly in West Africa. We are very proud and excited that he has decided to share his genius and experience with our teams at Universal Music Africa to make his talent shine brighter than ever on the African continent, and highlight the fantastic creative breeding ground of this region.”
Launched in 2018 with a regional headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Universal Music Africa’s scope encompasses 25 French, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries across the continent, and represents more than 50 artists.
Now with additional divisions in Dakar, Senegal and Doula, Cameroon, all under the leadership of UMA’s MD Franck Kacou, UMA operates a wide-ranging suite of services for its recording artists and labels including: music production and publishing, live event production and brand partnerships. In recent years, UMA has launched several frontline labels, including Def Jam Africa and Motown Gospel Africa.
In March 2021, UMG signed a deal with Boomplay, Africa’s leading domestic streaming service, to expand its distribution licence for the UMG catalog to cover 47 countries within the continent.
UMA works closely with UMG’s operations in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya & Morocco. UMG has divisions in seven countries in Africa, with others scheduled to launch in the coming months.
UMG is also working closely in partnership with parent company Vivendi, and several of Vivendi’s divisions, including CanalOlympia, Olympia Production, Vivendi and Canal+ to support and develop the live music industry throughout Africa.