I have always acknowledged Runtown‘s superb songwriting skills since I first heard him on a song Party Like it’s 1980. Being a good songwriter is one of the major skills that can quickly push a singer or rapper to prominence. Runtown showed that he knows his way around songwriting on his latest EP Tradition.
I remember I was seated with some friends in a car (more a jalopy) when Gallardo came on. It’s usually interesting to come across new Afrobeats sounds. When I heard Davido‘s vocals, I took the song (and the singer) more seriously.
Not only is Runtown an outstanding songwriter, he is a good singer.
He understands melodies and can easily make a jam. Gallardo, which was released in 2014, won Runtown his first award for ‘Best Collaboration of the Year’ at the 2014 edition of the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
A great start to a solid music career
Some industry sources would later inform me that Runtown writes songs for artists. It wasn’t unimaginable.
He is confirmed to have strong ties with acts like Timaya, J. Martins. He featured alongside Phyno on J. Martins’ album Tonight.
Although Runtown (whose real name is Douglas Jack Agu) co-founded a label Penthauz with Phyno, he later signed a massive deal with Eric Manny Entertainment.
Under the label, he became more established.
I find it fascinating that asides being a singer and songwriter, Runtown is a producer.
He possesses the uncanny ability to switch between different genres. Yet his music is certain to be groovy.
2015 was one hell of a year for the singer/songwriter
After featuring on one of the hottest collaborations Emergency with Patoranking and Skales, the talented songwriter released his debut studio album Ghetto University. It featured top acts like Wizkid, DJ Khaled, Phyno, and many others.
I can recall clearly that I attended the album listening party at the Industry Night. It was so thrilling.
The album reportedly generated more than N35 million on MTN Music Plus, making him one of the most streamed artists in Nigeria.
At this point, Runtown had become a SoundGod.
Mad Over You changed his story entirely
As Ghanaian Pon Pon sound was gaining popularity in the Nigerian mainstream scene – thanks to Mr Eazi – Runtown released Mad Over You.
Joey Akan described the song as a “self-produced track that draws inspiration from the Ghanaian Alkayida sound”
Mad Over You remains one of the biggest Afrobeats songs so far. The song blew Runtown beyond proportion. He gained international recognition after the song entered various charts across the world (including reaching no 38 on Billboard Twitter Top Tracks chart).
Hiatus from music after terminating contract with Eric Manny
The songwriter was unable to make music and perform at shows freely after terminating his contract with Eric Manny towards the end of 2016.
He seemed to take a break from music and was not active in the Nigerian music scene.
He later released hit singles like Energy and For Life in 2017. Following a viral Coke studio freestyle, Runtown released another hit single Said which featured South African rapper Nasty C.
2018 was quite a regular year. Runtown, who is said to be studying a Fashion Management course in a University in New York, operated majorly in the underground in the proliferating Afrobeats scene in the US.
Starting his own label SoundGod Music Group
Using his alias, Runtown launched an indie music label SoundGod Music Group in 2018.
The launch party was held in Los Angeles, US where he’s been based recently.
Runtown’s songwriting skills came into play again when he began meeting up with international stars like Asap Rocky, Rihanna.
He stated that Rihanna is trying to infuse Afrobeats with other sounds on her next album and he has been helping with production and songwriting.
He went ahead to release songs like Unleash, Oh Oh Oh (Lucie).
He also dropped a mixtape Afrobeats And Stadium which was majorly a remake of songs that he has previously released.
Runtown’s latest EP Tradition is proof that he’s a great songwriter
With songs like Redemption, Emotions, Runtown is a lover who is writing from a place of heartbreak on his new EP Tradition.
International Badman Killa is pure vibes, strongly backed by stellar songwriting.
Tradition is an alluring project that shows Runtown in his element.