by Lekan Olanrewaju
So I read my colleague’s piece on Don Jazzy being the one to lose in the Mo’ Hits fall out and I had to scoff. As expected, my eyes were subjected to opinions, in agreement or otherwise, from people who believe there’s some form of glory in pretending to be the online version of Simon Cowell to a bunch of people they most likely don’t even know, but that’s not why we’re here.
I would start in the vein of my colleague and state that I am #TeamDonJazzy or #TeamDBanj but I am unabashedly, neither. I’ve never for one second stopped to consider whether D’banj was good or bad at anything although I’ve caught myself a few times thinking how great a beat maker Don Jazzy is.
That said, I find the idea that Don Jazzy will be the loser in this case, highly improbable.
D Banj has Kanye. Okay, now what?
Sure, Kanye appeared in D’Banj’s latest video. But, excuse me while I ask, “then what”? What has Kanye done for D’Banj so far beyond shouting him out on Twitter? He got him doing back up (to put it nicely) “vocals” on a song by someone called Lil Issue (I mean who is that?) Whoop-de-doo. As far as the Nigerian public goes, all that “deal” can bring D’banj is hype. Success? That’s not how the American music industry works. The idea of having a Nigerian musician linked to Kanye West will inevitably rouse the interests of any music lover out there. But what happens when the novelty of that wears off? How many Nigerians know or will bother trying to figure out who a “Lil Issue” is?
D’Banj is the performer. So?
Yes, D’Banj is the performer. The same performer accused of being boring at the Koko Concert and Rhythm Unplugged shows last year. Whitney (Houston) and Michael (Jackson) supposedly had the love of the public “through thick and thin”. Really? It’s easy to forget, due to the (unfortunately) largely hypocritical outpourings of affection that trailed their deaths, that they were once the butt of ridicule by the public. In fact, many would say being in the public eye caused many of their problems but that’s neither here nor there at this point. The fact is, certain things are just hard to live down, and the public doesn’t let go that easily. A more recent example would be Chris Brown. Despite the attempts by the media and members of the industry themselves (Rihanna, I’m looking at you) to make us forget “the incident”, people aren’t just going to pretend like it never happened. Even a public endorsement by the woman he beat up isn’t about to wash away his sins; hearing him sing about all the different ways he wants to enjoy a “cake” isn’t going to make me think of him as anything beyond a woman beater (thankfully I have an edit of the song free of his voice so I can continue to enjoy it in all its sexually over the top catchiness). His songs get played on the radio, MTV shoves his videos down our throats, he performed at The Grammys twice, even won one, but his last album, released almost a year ago hasn’t even gone platinum. Despite the attempts by “insiders” to convince us it’s some sort of “comeback”, it hasn’t even sold up to a million copies worldwide. Yes, it’s a flop. And D’Banj, even though he (thankfully) hasn’t beaten a woman to unconsciousness, could very well become a flop in that manner. The public loves to take sides, and hey, it’s clear Don Jazzy is the one receiving all the goodwill in this situation. I mean, the dude shares credit on Twitter, of course people are going to support him! Especially when the other option is to either “mind your own business” (which is pretty much a foreign concept to Nigerians) or support the guy who for a while now has seemed determined to present himself as the most arrogant -(insert preferred word for unpleasant here) person ever.
Don Jazzy’s losing it? Hardly.
Don Jazzy’s biggest power is his mystique? Errr, no. It may play a huge part in his “image”, but I highly doubt people listen to songs produced by him because they think by so doing they can somehow discover a little more about that guy who bizarrely insists on always whispering into D’Banj’s ears.
When people hear a song produced by Don Jazzy is about to be released, anticipation builds. Why? Because, they’re sure that it will be, in no equivocal terms, a jam. MI has made “Short black boy” a very prominent part of his brand, but if 24 hours to the release of Illegal Music 2 he were to suddenly transform into a 6 foot plus light-skinned fellow, would that stop downloads of the mixtape from crashing any site onto which it were hosted?
Get off the stage
This is, admittedly, a near faultless point. Let’s face it, Don Jazzy has little business adding his indistinguishable croaks to a track. Granted there’s a certain melodic catchiness to his “lepa on the floor” line from Tiwa Savage’s Without My Heart but overall his feature on that song could have been done without. That said, is that going to ruin his career? I can only laugh as I say, hardly. The notion that this will cause him to lose is, quite frankly, over the top and pointlessly dramatic.
Don Jazzy is boring
Another faultless point. At least as far as I know. But the question is, who cares? Seriously. Don Jazzy splitting from D’Banj doesn’t necessarily mean he needs to now take the spotlight. He can be boring all he wants while remaining in the background, like he always has. Yes, D’banj may possess the uncanny ability to confidently spew out meaningless dribble about “kokolets” and what not, but what happens when the novelty of that wears off and he actually has to answer a question with some semblance of intelligence? Judging by the debacle that was his Sahara Reporter’s interview, the answer to that is a resounding “eh….”
Don Jazzy on the other hand managed to handle the public outcry over his involvement, or lack thereof in the Occupy Nigeria protests, much better. A series of well worded tweets was all it took to get people back on his side. Boring or not, the man knows what he’s doing.
Don Jazzy has magic fingers. Well, duh?
Well, he does. Ikechukwu and Dr Sid/DPrince and whatever the rest of the “crew” are called may effectively be flops now but their only chances at success were due, in no small part, to Don Jazzy.
Yes. Everyone “knew” Ikechukwu before Don Jazzy hooked up with him, how could we not? What with him shrieking “My name is Ikeeeeechukwu” left and right like a sex-starved banshee. But, the only time anyone ever took him or his music seriously, or at least seriously enough to listen to was more than likely with “Wine am well’. And no, D’Banj’s verse and feature in the video were not the reason. People may have danced to D’Prince’s “Omoba” in the club but it sure as hell wasn’t because of anything special he added to the song.
This is my “half reason”. I’ll admit I’m pulling this out of nowhere in particular. But what if? Yes, Davido is already insanely popular now. He’s managed to achieve a lot without the backing of any popular or already established music industry honchos like Banky or Don Jazzy. So what if he somehow got with Don Jazzy? Sonia debacle aside, how many would be able to resist Davido “nananinanano’-ing on a Don Jazzy beat? He already has the females (and males, apparently) fawning over his dimples so imagine what would come of that pairing? Still think D’Banj is irreplaceable?