If the contemporary Nigerian music industry was subjected to a candid review at some point the name D’banj will come up and so many things would be said about the entertainer. The Harmonica wielding musician, helped in so many ways raise the bar for the current crop of artists in the industry. He came, paid his dues and set new industry benchmarks.
Born Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, on the 9th of June 1980, D’banj is one of Nigeria’s greatest entertainer of all time. He lives up to every individual letter of the word entertainer.
Could you possibly imagine the Nigerian music industry without a D’banj, well you just can’t because the “Oliver Twist” crooner brought his sparkle to the industry. What the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Olamide etc., and so many other industry players are enjoying on a platter the Kokomaster worked overtime to get it done.
Here are a few things D’banj made happen in the industry.
Producer Privilege: Before the advent of D’banj, music producers were a bunch of pushovers in the industry. Music producers were lowly regarded, nobody cared much about the man behind the hits we heard, too often they were underappreciated until D’banj happened. The Kokomaster ushered in a new era of producer relevance in the music industry, the energetic singer always gave shout out to his erstwhile producer Don Jazzy. Slowly Don Jazzy became the enigma behind the beats, the magic fingers who orchestrated the hits. It was a new dawn for beat makers, everything changed since then for those folks. Now we know and care about Sarz, Pheelz, Shizzi, etc.
Record Label Set Up: Prior to the D’banj era record labels were owned by some money bags who cared a little about music. There wasn’t a scenario were an artiste owned a viable record label to his name. At the time, Storm Records, Kennis Music were running things as record labels in the industry until D’banj came to the scene. The Kokomaster did not waste time in setting up a record label which he co-owned with Don Jazzy. In less than no time Mo’Hits Records became the number one ranking music imprint in the country. The game changed from then on. Now Kizz Daniel, Lil Kesh are record label bosses, you see?
La Vida Loca Type Music Videos: Music videos were very modest in the beginning. Those videos then were devoid of fancy cars, palatial mansions, expensive parties etc. Then came D’banj and Mo’Hits and all that low budget kind of music videos started getting out of style. D’banj made larger than life music videos, with the Roll Royce, Bentleys and other flashy items. Truth is that at the time those were rented but it sure set the standard for the new reality. Soon every artiste shifted to the new horizon of doing things.
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A few folks like Eldee, 2Baba etc were in the game before Bangalee but he truly opened his colleagues eyes to the fact they could earn more as musicians. Word has it that as D’banj fame was on the rise, the jovial singer placed a high premium on his services as an entertainer. He is reportedly the first to bill a million naira to perform at a gig. At the time it seemed outrageous but D’banj stuck to his guns. It was either a million naira or no deal and he won. Now Wizkid charges up to 10 million as the case maybe.
Personal Branding & Int’l Collaboration: Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo better known as D’banj has about the most potent personal branding than any of his industry colleagues. The singer has many aliases like Kokomaster, Banga Lee, Eja Nla, Capsule Lomo etc. The singer has created a sleek and supercool image which is very affable to multinational brands, no wonder he is able to attract juicy deals to himself. D’banj been able to sell Nigerian music to unbelievers in the culture. His sellable image has seen him attract suitors like Sony Music, Def Jam, G.O.O.D Music etc. He has proved working with internationally known stars is very possible and he has done that.
Going International: D’banj As A Lesson: In truth Banga Lee isn’t the first Nigerian artiste to foray into the international music scene. However, D’banj’s story gives a lot of lessons to be learned as regards trying to go international. I would say the “Oliver Twist” crooner paid all the tuition fees in lessons for other Nigerian stars to learn from him when approaching that point in their career when they want to go international as far as the word goes.
Now it’s clear you have to stay original even as you pursue international success. Another thing is stay close to your Jazzy. Flourishing acts like Davido and Wizkid know that no matter where the go with their music, they must never drop the old crew.
Although D’banj may not be raving at the moment, there is no mincing words that the man created his own legend. Sometimes he doesn’t get credited as well as he deserves as a pathfinder. This present industry has been shaped by the successes and setback of the Kokomaster. In the words of famous actor Charles Okocha “D’banj deserves some accolades”.
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