So the man who gave us The Entertainer album with such hits as Mo Gbono Feli Feli and Fall in Love and was once signed to Kanye West’s record label G. O. O. D music, felt the need to put out a song to remind us of who he is?
Reaffirming his claim to fame with a song titled It’s Not A Lie, the music video for the song starts with a press conference in which instagram model Bernice Burgos posing as a reporter asks; “So who is D’Banj?” He then launches into his braggadocious tirade starting with the opening line of the song; “My name is Dapo, they know me as D’Banj…” He goes on to reference Mo Hits and name-drops rumoured ex-girlfriend Nollywood royalty Genevieve Nnaji. The real questions here are: A) Who doesn’t know the “Kokomaster”? B) Why did he think that we needed this reminder? I am so confused.
This is the man who also gave us hits like Suddenly and the critically acclaimed Oliver Twist which catapulted his career to a level that I am sure he himself didn’t even expect. This is the man who sat with presidents and other dignitaries, has graced television screens, won several prestigious music awards internationally and featured in global top ten charts. This is also the man who was once ranked the richest solo musician in Nigeria. He has been recognised worldwide while managing to lock down several endorsements including brand ambassadorships for Beats by Dre and Ciroc Nigeria. He is Nigeria’s first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace and a ONE campaign ambassador.
Using his talent as a powerful vessel for awareness and change, D’Banj was a key contributor to ONE campaign single Cocoa Na Chocolate which was aimed at encouraging governments to support agriculture as a force to alleviate poverty. He has also been involved in campaigns for gender equality and female empowerment. This kind of activism put him in the presence of great men such as the World Bank Chief, Jim Yong Kim who in 2015 applauded him for using his voice. “I had the pleasure of meeting D’Banj last month and seeing him perform. I’m thrilled he is the first artists to take part in our new Music4Dev series encouraging global artist to raise awareness about poverty and related issues,” Jim Yong Kim was reported as saying.
So why or why will D’Banj at this point in his glorious career, feel the need to unnecessarily reintroduce himself with a song wherein we are being instructed to Google his accolades when in reality his legendary status precedes him? We already know who he is and we will never forget the impact he has on the Afrobeats culture. It has been a while since we heard from him so could this be the act of an artist who perhaps believes he has lost touch with his fanbase since his Mo Hits days and is feeling a little bit insecure?
Having attained this level of success thanks in part to his fans worldwide, it is confusing that this is the kind of content that he is now delivering. It almost makes a mockery of who he is and trivialises his achievements. D’Banj probably has one of the most colourful trajectories of success in the history of African music and he is blessed with access to some of the best musicians so why is he releasing nursery rhyme stanzas? Sir, it is true indeed that we know who you are. But can you tell us something else please? Can we get better content? Can you display some lyrical ingenuity, play with words and tell us some colourful stories about how you came to be who you are? This kind of jingle in the name of bragging is for amateurs not for a self proclaimed “Oba” like you!
At this level, substance should form a key part of your motivation because you now have a platform to inspire with powerful messages and stories. This is a responsibility that comes with the territory. Some people are great artists who need to be supported by a great team of musicians in order to maximise their potential. Maybe D’Banj is one of those and that is why the musical marriage between him and Don Jazzy was so magical and harmonious.The most successful hit producing teams in the music industry worldwide follow the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis format ie a record production and songwriting team. They were inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame yesterday. The songwriter and the producer have to be in sync and on the same level of dopeness to make a hit. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to encounter a maestro who can do both. Google these guys if you don’t know who they are. They have provided hits for everyone from Michael and Janet Jackson to Usher, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, you name it! In short D’Banj please add a dope ass song writer to your team! You deserve better and mo hits than this. That too is not a lie! And the pun was intended.
With all of that being said, we were not surprised that Nigerian instagram personality @mr.jollof_ posted his dislike for the song on instagram as seen above. It was only a matter of time before someone picked up on this. He has since been attacked by D’Banj loyalists. Insults upon insults from fans who for the life of them do not understand how he dared to criticise their Oba. Thing is no harsh words were even said by Mr Jollof. All he said was I do not like the song. He went one step further by being constructive and stating his reasons why. Long story short, he too expected more. My people take note; to be a loyal fan doesn’t make you a praise singing sycophant even when deep in your heart you feel praise isn’t warranted.
a person who acts excessively obedient towards someone important in order to gain favour
Those of us who believe in D’Banj enough to know that this recent offering is by far beneath his current status, are also fans. We have Googled him as he instructed us to do so we know what he is capable of. True true, on the D’Banj scale of poetic justice and sweetness, no justice was done and the song no sweet. We can only hope that when King Don Come is finally released next month, we will be pleasantly surprised with some hidden gems.
It is true that the “Oba doesn’t go to court” so in effect he doesn’t have to pay attention to anything that is being said here therefore let me use this as a teachable moment for others who might. THE PROBLEM WITH MOST OF US IS THAT WE WOULD RATHER BE RUINED BY PRAISE THAN SAVED BY CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. If we are happy to receive praise, we must also be open to be challenged with feedback that we may not like. If you are not open to this, you are not open to growing as a person. Also, please note, when you present yourself, your thoughts, your work, you words or anything for public consumption, the public is entitled to react as they please. Not everyone will like you and that is perfectly okay. However if someone likes you enough to say I think you can do better, don’t shut down, don’t take it as an insult. Listen, take heed and grow. After all even Prince, one of the greatest musicians to ever live once said, ” I like constructive criticism from smart people.” So who am I? Feel free to shred me to pieces in the comments. I can take it. I am also willing to bet that if I ask you to list your favourite D’Banj songs, It’s Not A Lie will not be one of them!
Welcome to SagaCity. A social commentary column by @wurathepenwarrior, for 9ja
the quality of being sagacious.
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