Tshego has re-released his earlier hits in the form of a seven-track EP titled El Pantera. The “Hennessy” hit-maker was previously signed to Family Tree Records, owned by Cassper Nyovest, before he signed to the Universal Music Group in 2019. He was also announced as one of the artists to make up the roster of Def Jam Africa when the group announced the launch of the label division early in 2020. While signed to Family Tree, Tshego’s catalogue was distributed under Africori but since the signing to the Universal Music Group it has been re-released in a repackaged body of work, El Pantera.
If you’ve tried to listen to hits such as “Hennesy,” “The Vibe,” and “Money Machines” over this transitionary period you would’ve noticed that his singles had been removed from streaming services. His work since 2019 has been distributed by UMG and has been readily available but in transferring his earlier work from Africori to the UMG stale they’ve opted for the release of the EP as a capsule of his earlier work and a trip down memory lane.
Tshego’s move between record labels has not been without controversy. In an interview with The Sobering Podcast in 2019 he noted the reason for signing to UMG was a need for greater control over the distribution of his work. He said, “I wanted to control when I drop,” he said. “I wanted to control whether I get PR or marketing and how much I spend on this. I finally wanted someone to point a finger at. I wanted someone I can wake up in the morning and know that I can call that person ask them why hasn’t this been done. I wanted to actually like, ‘okay, it’s time to move, I need to hit these marks,’ but I needed people to be accountable to hit these marks. I can’t hit these marks alone.”
In the same interview he also mentioned that his association with Family Tree Records was more informal. “And this Family Tree environment,” he continued, “I haven’t signed anything. So, if I haven’t signed anything, no one is responsible.”
The informal nature of the relationship was put under scrutiny when the administration of his catalogue was called into question. The artist took to social media in December 2020 announcing that he had won a long legal battle with Family Tree and that his catalogue was now in his possession. He went on the say that “the label was not sub-accounting to their artists. Instead just pocketing everything that was distributed by Africori as their own.”
El Pantera is now available to stream across all DSPs. Check it out here: