Prolific Nigerian song writer, singer and producer, Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa popularly known as OJB Jezreel died in the early hours of Tuesday, June 14.
While the late OJB Jezreel might not be so popular among the present crop of teenagers, Nigerians in their mid twenties and above will surely remember the beauty of his music production and how he on several occasions, made music that brought the whole nation to her feet.
As much as he was a singer with massive hits like ‘Searching’ and ‘Pretete’, OJB was a talented music producer whose works turned many aspiring artistes into famous acts.
Below is a list of 10 artists the maestro producer worked with at one point or the other.
Ruggedman’s first hit single to make waves in the Nigerian music scene was ‘Ehen’.
Ehen was a diss song calling out the mainstream hip-hop rappers in the music industry in the early 2000s.
One major artiste that was bashed on the track by Ruggedman was Eedris Abdulkareem whom he accused of doing wack, weak and watery rap.
Ruggedman’s diss song, masterfully produced by the late OJB Jezreel went ahead to be such a huge success- which kick-started the commercial acceptability of the rapper.
OJB Jezreel produced the first album of Innocent 2face Idibia now known as 2Baba shortly after he split from sensational RnB group, Plantashun Boiz.
2Baba’s first album, titled Face to Face owed a large bulk of its production credits to OJB Jezreel – same as Grass to Grace, 2Baba’s second album.
The late producer will forever be remembered for recording 2Face’s biggest song to date, ‘African Queen’.
OJB Jezreel’s masterclass production and ear for potential radio hit songs were one of the many reasons why he was courted by almost everyone in the industry in the early 2000s.
Azadus’ hit song ‘Madam’ was beautifully crafted and produced by OJB with a groovy beat the dancing feet could not resist.
Nomoreloss was a good friend and close associate of OJB Jezreel before his death earlier in 2016 after a protracted illness.
Nomoreloss’ biggest hit songs ‘Let them say’ and ‘Iyawo Asiko’ back when he was at the peak of his career, were produced by OJB.
‘Let them say’ was a sample of one of Ebenezer Obey‘s songs that spurred people to do their own things regardless of what the society was saying.
5. Jazzman Olofin
If there was any producer in Nigeria that could have helped Jazzman Olofin ‘Raise the roof’, it had to be OJB Jezreel.
Jazzman sang his way to limelight and stardom when he released his club-friendly hit ‘Raise the roof’.
There was practically no club nor party that did not try to ‘raise the roof’ with this particular song.
OJB also produced other hit songs for Jazzman before his career hit a descending curve.
While all of Dbanj’s early hit songs like ‘Why me’, ‘Mobolowowon, Tongolo and Sokor were solely produced by Don Jazzy, only a few people know that Dbanj had a prior recording which was produced by OJB Jezreel.
The song was titled ‘Kiss Me Again’ and it featured Ruggedman, who back then was a regular face in OJB’s studio.
The song briefly made waves on local radio, but it was only so brief.
Even the teenagers of today would have come across the man called Durella or some of his songs.
Durella was a revelation around 2008 when he released ‘Wiskolo Wiska’, a club banger which did a lot to introduce Durella to Nigerians as the ‘King of the Zanga’.
Joel was pipped to be the next 2face Idibia when he was signed by Kennis Music record label.
It doesn’t take a good eye to see a kind of uncanny resemblance of 2face in Joel, who also coincidentally sings just like the African Queen singer.
Perhaps in the quest to tread along 2face’s path to greatness, Joel also worked with OJB Jezreel for the production of some of his songs.
One of them which became an instant radio hit is titled ‘Fade Away.’
OJB Jezreel was a versatile producer of music.
The dexterity with which he could produce commercial anthems was the same with which he created cutting edge RnB, Afro-pop and Juju.
He also on a number of occasions deviated from producing secular music to producing religious-themed music.
He produced Esther’s hit single ‘Agbara Jesu’.
Arguably the biggest music export from Nigeria at the moment, Wizkid cannot tell the story of his come-up in music without highlighting the deep influence of OJB Jezreel in his career.
Wizkid, at a very young age, became a regular at OJB’s studio where stars like 2face and Ruggedman frequented to produce their albums.
Wizkid recalls patiently going in and out of the studio waiting for his turn while learning from watching OJB work so closely.
11. Yemi Alade
There is absolutely no way to chronicle Yemi Alade’s iconic rise to international stardom and fame through music without touching OJB’s contribution.
Mama Africa, as Alade is fondly called by her fans, hooked up with the late producer in 2012 to create one of the major hits of her career ‘Ghen Ghen Love.’
Upon release, ‘Ghen Ghen Love’ went ahead to take over the radio waves.