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2Face Idibia: Legendary Afro-pop musician (Biography and Net Worth 2024).      

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2Face Idibia
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

The Nigerian music industry began to witness a significant shift from the 1980s onwards. The crop of educated youths that grew up at that time became so ‘westernized’ from consuming excess of foreign music (especially from the USA). It seemed so many of them were losing touch with indigenous Nigerian music, and indigenous languages. To break the jinx, some young visionaries began to compose and sing Nigerian adaptations of Western music. And of course Pidgin English, which was a well-accepted lingua nationwide, came to the rescue. Thus, the Afro-pop genre (or call it Nigerian pop, if you will) emerged. One of those visionary music artists who took up and succeeded with the Afro-pop experiment was 2Face Idibia.

 

So many Nigerian youngsters had become exposed to Western music to the point of addiction – especially Rap, R&B, Rock, and Hip-hop genres. Mass media and communication devices (radio, terrestrial and cable TV, computers, video cassettes, compact disks, and the emerging internet) began to boom and evolve. But thanks to 2Face Idibia and his equally celebrated contemporaries, who are too many to be mentioned here. Another extended thanks to the legendary Fela Kuti, who had paved the way decades earlier with his successful Afrobeat project. They were able to blend indigenous Nigerian music and languages with foreign music to produce exciting modernized Nigerian music. This article delves into the journey of iconic Nigerian Afro-pop musician and highly-celebrated African artist, 2Face Idibia, to global stardom.

Introducing Afro-pop Megastar, 2Face Idibia: His Origins

He has been called a number of stage names. In his heydays at diploma school, he was called ‘Lord Elly’. He eventually adopted the stage name 2Face, which he later changed to 2Baba. Born Innocent Ujah Idibia in September 1975, 2Face Idibia is a multiple-award winning songwriter, singer, record producer, business executive, philanthropist, human rights advocate, and activist. He became very prominent in the 2000s, with his active role in the promotion of Afro-pop or Nigerian pop music. He is perhaps the most decorated Nigerian music artist, with over 70 local and international awards and honours. Currently acclaimed the 5th richest musician in Nigeria, 2Face Idibia is definitely one of the most successful Nigerian musicians in history.

 2Face Idibia hails from the Idoma tribe of Benue state (middle belt), but was born in Jos, Plateau state. His parents are Michael and Rose Idibia (not much is known about their professions). He also has three male siblings: Steven, Oche, and Hyacinth.  

2Face Idibia completed his secondary education at Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School in Makurdi, Benue state. Thereafter, he proceeded to undertake a National Diploma course in Business Administration and Management at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu. However, his passion for music consumed him to the point that he reportedly dropped out of diploma school. 

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While at the IMT, 2Face Idibia performed in several shows and events, both within and outside the school. He at first took up the stage name ‘Lord Elly’. He took his performances to nearby school such as University of Nigeria Nsukka; and Enugu State University of Science & Technology. In 1996, he also composed and sang jingles for the GB Fan Club at the Enugu State Broadcasting Services. He subsequently chose to abandon diploma school in order to purse his music career full-time. From 1996 henceforth, he changed his stage name to Tuface, which was shortened to 2Face. Twenty years down the line (in 2016), he adopted the stage name 2Baba.

2Face Idibia in Lagos: The Plantashun Boiz

2Face Idibia moved to Lagos to seek better prospects, and found two other talented people to team up with. He met Blackface (Ahmedu Augustine Obiabo) and Faze (Chibuzor Orji); and together they formed the group known as the Plantashun Boiz. The group released released two very popular albums: Body and Soul (2000) and Sold Out (2003) under the Dove Records label. However, they broke up in 2004 to pursue their solo music careers. Nevertheless, they came together to produce their final album titled Plan B in 2007. 

2Face Idibia’s Solo Music Career

Without doubt, 2Face Idibia became far more successful as a solo artist. In fact, the other members of the defunct Plantashun Boiz alleged that 2Face insisted on going solo, thus breaking up the band. 

2Face idibia signed up with the Kennis Music record label, and released his first solo album titled Face2Face in 2004. The album featured hit songs such as ‘Ole’, ‘Nfana Ibaga’, and the virally-famous ‘African Queen’. ‘African Queen’ was later included as the soundtrack of the Hollywood movie Phat Girlz (2006). Many publications listed Face2Face as the greatest Nigerian debut album of the 21st Century by a solo artist.

The singer went ahead to release his second album namely Grass 2 Grace in 2006. It featured popular singles such as ‘4 Instance’, ‘One Love’, and ‘True Love’. Then in 2009, 2Face Idibia released an experimental album titled The Unstoppable, which contained the popular single ‘Enter the Place’ (amongst others). The following year, he released an ‘International Edition’ of that same album renamed The Unstoppable International Edition. The international edition of the album became so popular, it won a number of awards.  It won awards at the 2010 SoundCity Music Video Awards; the Channel O Music Video Awards; the Best African Western award; and the MTV Africa Music Awards.

On a number of occasions. Kennis Music waded into the legal and media tussle that ensued between 2Face Idibia and former band member, Blackface. Blackface insisted that 2Face Idibia continued to release the songs co-written by them as his own, without giving any credit or reward to him. That issue came up when 2Face Idibia released the album containing the viral ‘African Queen’. Blackface alleged that he wrote the song while they were together as a group. And Kennis Music agreed to give writing credits for the song to Blackface, in addition to paying him royalties on that song. After years of a protracted battle, 2Face Idibia and former colleague Blackface eventually settled amicably. 

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2Face Idibia later exited from the Kennis Music record label to set up his own record label namely Hypertek Digital. The singer has released the following studio albums to date:

  • 2004: Face 2 Face
  • 2006: Grass 2 Grace
  • 2009: The Unstoppable
  • 2010: The Unstoppable (International Edition)
  • 2012: Away 7 Beyond
  • 2014: The Ascension
  • 2020: Warriors

2Face Idibia: Net Worth (2024)

2Face Idibia is currently the 5th richest musician in Nigeria. He has an estimated net worth of at least 4.7 Billion Naira (as of 2024).

2Face Idibia: Industry Awards and Honours

2Face Idibia is a recipient of so many music awards and special honours. He was awarded Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the Nigerian government. He received an honorary Master of Arts in Music degree from Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, in May 2016. He was also made honorary fellow of the School of Music by the Music Department, Obafemi Awolowo University in March 2019. Yet again, 2Face Idibia was chosen as good cause Ambassador for the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in August 2019. 

In addition, 2Face Idibia has won several entertainment awards, which include the following:

  • 2002 Affinity Awards: Best Male Vocalist
  • 2004 A.M.E.N Awards: Best Video; Best Male Vocalist
  • 2004 Excellence Recognition Awards: Music of the Year
  • 2004 Nigeria Entertainment Awards: Best Album of the Year; Song of the Year for ‘African Queen’
  • 2005 Channel O Music Video Awards: Best African Act
  • 2005 Kora Awards: Best African Act
  • 2005 Afro Nollywood Award: Best Musical Artiste
  • 2005 Hip Hop World Awards (The Headies): Special Recognition Award
  • 2006 The Future Awards: Musician of the Year
  • 2007 MOBO Awards: Best African Act
  • 2007 Nigerian Music Awards: Song of the Decade
  • 2008 World Music Awards: Best Selling Nigerian Artist
  • 2008 Australian African Awards: Best African Act
  • 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards: Best R&B
  • 2010 MTV Africa Music Awards: Artist of the Year
  • 2010 Sound City Awards: Best Pop Video for ‘Implication’
  • 2011 Africa BET Awards: Best International Act
  • 2011 Hip Hop World Awards (The Headies): Artist of the Year
  • 2014 Ben TV Awards: Album of the Year (Ascension)

2Face Idibia: His Endorsement Deals

With his viral popularity in place, 2Face Idibia was entered into a number of notable endorsement deals and brand ambassadorship over the years. They include:

  • Brand ambassador of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
  • Brand ambassador of Guinness stout (2005)
  • Endorsement deal with Airtel Nigeria (2010).
  • Face of Hennessy artistry season; alongside music star Wizkid (2014)
  • The first African ambassador of the Italian alcoholic liqueur Campari (2016).
  • First and official brand ambassador of Oraimo (2019).
  • Endorsement deal with Globacom (2019).
  • Brand ambassador of Pazino Homes and Gardens (2019).
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2Face Idibia’s Personal Life

2Face is currently married to talented Nollywood actress, model, movie producer and businesswoman, Annie Macaulay. Between them, they have two daughters (Olivia and Isabella). However, 2Face was also involved with two other women (Pero Adeniyi and Sumbo Ajala-Adeoye) while he was still dating Annie. He fathered three children with Pero Adeniyi; and two children with Sumbo Ajala-Adeoye. In all, 2Face Idibia has seven children namely Isabella, Nino, Justin, Innocent, Olivia, Rose, and Zii. 

2Face Idibia: Philanthropy, Activism and Humanitarian Causes

2Face Idibia is very actively involved in activist and humanitarian causes; and he is deeply involved in philanthropy. He owns a non-governmental organization named 2Baba Foundation. He once donated a multi-million Naira music studio to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Osun State. 

He was appointed as the International Youth Ambassador for Peace, and awarded the Nigeria Youth Merit Award by the National Youth Council of Nigeria in 2009. In 2017, 2Face Idibia partnered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). He also made an initial donation of over 11,000 US Dollars to UNHCR for IDPs and returnees. June 2017 arrived, and he released a song titled ‘Hold My Hand’ to commemorate the World Refugee Day. Subsequently, he pledged 60 percent of the proceeds from the song to the IDPs. For this, 2Face Idibia was appointed the Regional Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) in 2020.

The ace singer has also partnered with other non-governmental organizations over the years. They include the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Enough is Enough (Office of the Citizen campaign), National Democratic Institute (for Vote Not Fight campaign), and Youngstars Foundation.

 

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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.