by Hauwa Gambo
We told you! Two weeks ago we shared the story about a split between Nigeria’s hottest music ‘couple’ and some you doubted it, but now it’s (well, almost) official we’d say, something is amiss in the house of Mo’ Hits between D’banj and Don Jazzy.
(See the story HERE)
But don’t take our word for it. See excerpts that we just caught from his interview with Ebony magazine below:
EBONY.com: How did you join Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label?
D’BANJ: I had a concert in Dubai and when we pulled up to the airport’s first class lounge and a hostess ran up to me with a plaque with Kanye’s face on it, asking me to sign it. I said ‘I’m not Kanye West, I’m D’banj but Kanye West is coming? All eyes open.’ Then my manager spoke to Kanye, came back and told me ‘He’ll give you five minutes.’ I walked over — as an African man I’m always prepared — and I played my music ‘Stand Out,’ ‘Fall In Love’ and ‘Scapegoat’ for him on my iPod. Before we knew it, I’d almost missed my flight and he invited me to New York.
Coming from Africa I’m my own manager, I have my own label called Mo’ Hits with my artists Dr. Sid, Wande Coal, Don Jazzy, D’Prince and K-Switch. I own Mo’ Hits and we’ve won numerous awards by the grace of God. Being with Kanye for the last eight months and me leading a successful label in Africa, I’ve learned a lot and I believe people will see what we’re going to do. I signed with Kanye in June and that same month I won the BET Award for Best International Act. My New York concert isn’t done by G.O.O.D. Music, it’s done by Live Nation, meaning I’m already a moving machine. So who better to introduce me to the global world than Kanye West, a crazy genius?
EBONY.com: What is your chemistry like in the studio with West?
D’BANJ: Kanye doesn’t try to change you. He has great ears and great people working with him. I learned the way people do music in America is different, number one, the budget. You don’t have to rush a song, you can take your time. I was glad because I have a studio in my home but I thought I was doing too much. I’ve been working with everyone else on G.O.O.D. Music too and John Legend and I worked together in London recently. It’s been great experience, I just beg people to listen with an open mind.
Well, what do you think? Don Jazzy is D’banj’s artiste? Who woulda thunk it! We though Don Jazzy was, well, the ‘don.
Earlier this week, The NET Newspapers had authored a feature exploring the rift between the partners, speaking to inside sources – and they all pointed to Dbanj’s “ego”. D’banj is presently in the United States, while Don Jazzy is putting up with Dr. Sid in Victoria Island, Lagos. Excerpt below:
The now evident cracks became obvious around the time the producer who is also the President and CEO of Mo’Hits, bagged the Kanye West G.O.O.D Music deal which also influenced a $3m JV deal, with D’Banj as key beneficiary. The Kanye project catapulted both stars to a whole new pedestal in their careers, where they now rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in the international music scene. But the problems had emanated before then.
From then on, insiders say ‘D’banj’s ego, which was already causing tension within the label, only got bigger and harder to check’. Sources claim this new feeling of invincibility on the singer’s part began to make him question his continued association with his long-time friend and collaborator, who didn’t seem to be ‘representing’ on this new found wavelength.
The recent Occupy Nigeria protest also saw the acts take separate sides – while D’banj did little to save himself from accusations of collecting money from Goodluck Jonathan, Don Jazzy readily denounced the government and identifed with the people; saying, in what would become a famous tweet, that he ‘regrets voting for Goodluck Jonathan’
It appears D’banj, whose Don Jazzy produced 2005 ‘No Long Thing‘ album instantly brought him to the limelight, is uncomfortable with the continued delay in the release of his fourth studio album ‘Mr Endowed‘, which was initially supposed to be released late 2011.
Trusted sources allege that D’banj no longer remits payments from any shows he attends into the label’s general account. As one source puts it ‘he feels Don Jazzy isn’t putting the right kind of energy into the business right now’.
A Daily Times report claims D’banj is now represented by the label’s A&R – Oluseun ‘Bankulli’ Abisagboola while the other Mo’Hits acts, including Don Jazzy, are still being represented by long-time manager Sunday Are. All efforts to reach Bankulli proved abortive, and while Mr. Are picked up our phone calls, he didn’t answer our inquiries, neither did he reply our text messages asking the same questions. Don Jazzy had not responded to our emails as at the time of going to press.
As already reported, Don Jazzy has now chosen to stay with other artistes on his label, specifically putting up with Dr. Sid at the moment, leaving the Lekki Mansion deserted.
D’Banj, on the other hand, has been seen in the United States, and Paris recently, living it up with music heavyweights like Diddy, Swizz Beatz, Common and other stars who came to support his new boss, Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week. Those close to him also say he’s bought himself a home in Los Angeles where he now hopes to reside fully. He’s also reportedly building himself a new team – made up of trusted associates like Bankuli and a former Mtech boss who’s heading his business team.
One source told us: ‘The camp has definitely split up – D’banj and younger brother K Switch are shuttling to and fro the US and UK, while Dr SID (who’s had repeated spats with D’Banj in the past) and D’Prince have stuck with Don Jazzy. ‘Dr. SID feels indebted to Jazzy as he blew up his career‘.
If this split is true, it’s a sad development for Nigerian music. Or not?