No padi for jungle: 7 lessons for artistes from the D’banj-Don Jazzy leaked emails

by Chi Ibe

I have spent the past two days looking at those vicious leaked emails between D’banj and Don Jazzy.

(See the leaked emails HERE)

Both of them have had the chance to speak, but none has denied the authenticity of the emails – so that’s is not in doubt. But looking at those two emails beyond the shock and the scandal, a number of things strike me as something artistes (new and old) should learn from two of the greatest music minds in contemporary Nigeria. Here goes:

1. Be humble:

Or at least, simulate humility. I have said it before, and Don Jazzy’s fans went haywire, but I insist: Don Jazzy is not a humble person. However he is smart and understands the power of appearing humble and down to earth. Those investments in connecting with his audience and humility he has displayed over the past few years have given him more than 200,000 Twitter followers—they have also given him a public relations (PR) buffer in these hard times. He has won the PR war against D’banj simply based on his perception. Even D’banj’s emails drip with arrogance—so it doesn’t matter how right he is in the matter.

Don Jazzy

Lesson: It doesn’t matter how big you get, if you want to get bigger, stay humble. See 2face for instance. Psquare? No those ones are the exception to the rule.

2. Let your contracts be clear:

People always say, ‘make sure you sign the papers’. What they don’t tell you is that any contract can be a useless document if it does not state everything (and I mean everything) clearly. Many contracts aren’t detailed and broken down item by item. Why exactly are D’banj and Don Jazzy arguing over the rights to the song catalogues? Why aren’t they sure what percentage of their songs go to the artist and which goes to label? Why don’t they know who owns the company in case of a split? You have to have a contract that is so clear it avoids conflict and ultimately court action. If you have a contract that needs court interpretation before it can be agreed, then it is not good enough.

3. No paddi for jungle:

This is in fact for all of life in fact, not just artists. Forming a business based on the hope that it will run on love and trust is a bad way to run a business, period. When D’banj and Don Jazzy were begging Obi Asika to buy them out for N1m, they wouldn’t have ever thought the time would come when they would make this much money. After all said and done, what has divided them is success—which is what success always does. Everyone from Steve Jobs to Barack Obama back-stabs (or is perceived as backstabbing) one way or the other on the way to BigBoy Ville. If you think your friend or partner is going to be the same way after he meets Kanye West in an airport and then buys you a Bentley? Well, there you are.

(Read “What do Akon and Kanye West want? HERE)

4. Perception is important:

Never take it for granted—perception is reality. One of the biggest problems with this Mo’Hits farce is that we have found out that many of the things we thought we knew were a lie. Who knew D’banj had as much in the company as Don Jazzy? Who knew he could even claim to have bought Don Jazzy a Bentley? Who knew they led the company together? Who knew at some point D’banj even ran the company? There are many examples of this—like I have said before, many people think EME’s success is driven by the business man in the group, however many people do not know that Banky W is as much the boss as Segun Demuren. EME guys note: you stand this risk, let’s sort it out. MI is already sorting that out with Chocolate City – doing it with maturity and legally. That’s how it should be done.

5. As you get bigger, use professionals:

I am looking at you, Davido. This young man has risen too fast, too soon. Not surprisingly, when he was climbing up, he had all these high school graduates with him. It’s time to let them go, dude. If not you’ll run into trouble. When Mo’Hits got big, who was managing each artist? Sunday Are was there, but everyone knew he wasn’t in charge of D’banj. And Mo’Hits didn’t even have a publicist! So when this mess broke, D’banj only had his manager (who has zero finesse and zero experience in public relations) handling his matter. It’s really silly. There is a reason 2face Idibia chose Efe Omoregbe, a man he respects and one whom he can listen to. As a brand, you need people who know what they are doing and can stand up to you and tell you the right things to do. This entire Mo’Hits mess makes it clear they didn’t get those people. And that’s a shame. Oh, by the way, don’t be like D’banj and deepen the mistake by employing a lady with an English sounding name who is based in the US and who responds to media enquiries with, “I don’t know anything about that.” #Epicfail.

(Read the responses from D’banj’s representatives HERE and HERE)

6. You can’t hide anything:

Nothing is ever hidden under the sun—no matter how much you try, especially not in a new media age. This has two sides: one, you should be careful what you say on emails, mobile phones and social media. With these leaked emails it also become clear that in a 5-minutes media cycle, everything will eventually be out for all to see. For instance, why haven’t these guys come out once and for all to be clear about what happened? If they don’t say it themselves, other people will reveal it. You can’t hide anything—especially when you are a celebrity.

7. Run your own race:

This is in fact for me the biggest lesson! Many young artists look at people with bigger houses, awesome cars etc. and begin to salivate. Hold it! I remember that when the immortal Dagrin had his fatal and sad accident; he had just bought a new car, but there wasn’t enough money at hand to take him out of LUTH, or so some version of the story went. Well did you read what they said about D’Prince? The guy had become a superstar, but he has no contract! And D’banj says the 11m jeep ‘Omoba’ is driving everywhere, he didn’t even earn! It was a gift to help his “branding.” And this is the same young man who is now enmeshed in a murder scandal based on an 11m club debt. If you allow yourself to be insecure or feel like a failure based on what you perceive as the success of another artist, you might just be in a jonzing world. In the entertainment industry, things are never as they seem. Run your race, follow your success steadily. Don’t be distracted by the flash and the buzz. Focus.


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (14)

  1. Can i have this writer’s email or twitter handle? I just love his/her detailed analysis.

  2. Bravo Chi Ibe. Well thought out and clearly laid writing.

    It is important to be absolutely real and not keep up a face.

  3. Dear Matty,

    Which part of Chi's write up says that Efe is 2 Face's publicist?

  4. dat is y i like my 2face (apart frm being flirt o, and dat is his own personal life),d guy is too humble and dat is y he is still on the race,infact he's a role model.

  5. well written. totally on point. makes lotta sense especially the "jonzing" statement. hope people will take a cue from this. keep it up bro.

  6. Its pathetic that as big as Mo'hit is, they never had a publicist. I guess they must have been blinded by the fact that they are news makers forgetting that its not enough to make news; you also need to shape news as someone or biz that has publics and consider them as stakeholders cum shareholders in BrandYou Inc. And about the contract thing; Chi you did justice to it. Ensuring that its detailed down to what colour of boxers you would be wearing when its biz time is pretty imperative.

  7. gbam! Well written article! Especially the point on writing contracts. Very important!

  8. Please what's your twitter handle? I'll follow you, I swear 🙂

  9. I stand 2be corrected bt isn't Bayo Omisore 2Face's PR man and not Efe?! Anyways, well-written article. D fine print is oft overlooked by many peeps in bizness…

  10. This brothers should go and settle their issues behind close doors Joorrr

  11. This is gospel!! I'd told a couple of my friends this but you have written it in a clear and concise manner for the world (my friends inclusive) to understand.

    Thumbs up!

  12. These could as well be lessons for life.

  13. Wow, Pearls of wisdom. I'ma read this again.

    It's like those acrimonious divorces – hard to anticipate, isn't it?

  14. This is the truth…the industry looks so glamorous but a lot goes on behind the scenes that we don't know about.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail