Me, Dbanj and Don Jazzy: How The Cookie Crumbled By Azuka Ogujiuba

imageDo I even say that everything happened by sheer providence? I met D’banj and Don Jazzy about nine years ago through Dumebi Kachikwu who introduced me to these two burgeoning artistes then. When Kachukwu called me, l told him l was on a three-month maternity leave and that l would give him my colleague’s number to call so he could assist him with whatever they wanted to do. He insisted he wanted me on board; that D’banj and Don Jazzy would meet me at home or where ever l wanted. Bewildered but I braved the odd somehow. I told him l couldn’t leave my house because my baby was pretty young and was still breastfeeding. However, l probed a little further why Kachikwu wanted me to do an interview with them at all cost which in my modest submission, anyone in my office could as well prosecute. And I still have a strong presence of mind, don’t mind me, I just don’t forget certain things. These were his exact words: ‘These guys are stars, they are going to big mark my words’ and l asked: ‘Which star? Nobody knows these your emergency stars o.’ l remarked jocularly. Kachukwu insisted that they were stars and would be big soon in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Well, as a Christian, I know what the Bible says of our humble beginnings. Kachikwu continued: “Azuka, l believe in these guys. They are talented, we must support them, l really need you to come on board. You have to do this for me, please.” He pleaded tenaciously. Words almost failed me. My curiosity swelled almost to a crescendo as l pondered what was the might of these men who was making Kachikwu plead this way. Now, this wasn’t about playing hard to get; l just had a baby l wanted to spend time with her. It was my maternity leave but Kachikwu’s constant calls and pleas to interview these guy took my resolve out of the equation. I found myself shifting grounds against my will. Even Israel Edjeren who was part of the project then was also harassing me with calls on the other side to the extent he had to visit me at home apparently to know if I was playing hard to get but they found out the truth anyway. The truth was my baby was ‘shacking’ me as they say and she was all that mattered at that moment of my solitude. Kachikwu had a valentine show coming up then tagged ‘History of Love 101’ which had American stars like Chante Moore, Kenny Latimore, Donell Jones and 112 all performing on that day. Kachukwu wanted to give Dbanj and Don Jazzy a bigger platform to perform with these artistes. D’banj and Don Jazzy finally came to my house the next day. I was even breastfeeding my baby when they came, they waited patiently amid some very exciting hobnobs. They were so cool, impressively affable and felt so relaxed in my house that was inside one bush corner like that at Akoka. I noticed D’banj was the talkative like me and the extrovert while Don Jazzy had this sweet smile. He seldom talked. He just listened to me and D’banj. They even gave my baby some monetary gift, saying that in African culture they don’t see a new baby without giving him or her a gift. In no time, we became not just friends, but like family members. We exchanged numbers and called one another whether it mattered or not and our ‘gists’ would drag on forever. Their first major interview in Nigeria was done by me. It was a three-page interview spread, no newspaper in Nigeria will ever do that for an upcoming music group.

imageBut l guess God and luck were on my side when l convinced my editor to give them that spread and he obliged. He was not into entertainment like me, but he trusted my judgment on the industry. I didn’t attend the concert but heard it was a success. After that Kachukwu called again insisting he wanted stories on them in the papers every passing week. Of course, l told him it was not possible except they were doing any show or something special. So, l monitored their progress even when my leave was over l visited them at home in Maryland, Lagos a number of times. On the other side, Kachukwu was investing heavily on them financially. He spent money buying them exotic cars like the BMW Dbanj and Jazzy rode to my house, can’t remember what year but it was so low to the ground and looks like a racing car, pardon me, lam not into cars. He loved this duo that later metamorphosed to Mo’hits. Authoritatively, I can tell that he financed their first trip to America. He made sure he introduced them to all his rich friends who invited them for gigs and paid them heavily to perform, as the Mo’hits grew in fortune and fan base, they gradually started manifesting their ‘true colours’. Now, permit me to rest the innuendos. I could help people grow without desecrating the fine ethos of journalism. I discern the lines whenever I inch towards them. Finally, we fell out when l did a critic on Koko Mansion which l felt was a debasement to womanhood. And D’banj was billed to perform at Genevive Pink ball but did not. l was there and wrote about it. When it was published, understandably, hell was let loose. Immediately, Dbanj and Don Jazzy stopped taking my calls. By the way, it still beats me that anything under the sun would be powerful enough to tear Don Jazzy and D’banj apart. They operated like twins, if you hurt Don Jazzy, you also hurt D’banj, if you hurt D’banj just be ready to face Don Jazzy with a shield. Literally speaking, theirs was like a bond completed in heaven. So strong was it that Don Jazzy had a greater influence on D’banj than anybody, let alone anyone else. Anyway, back to my story, Toyin Subair, who was the brain behind the show and a very good friend was peeved beyond description about my article but l honestly didn’t understand their anger. Did they expect me to say that D’banj performed at the Genevive Pink ball when he did not? When I got the hint that they felt terrible about my report, I tried to reach out to them to explain. Remember, I still supposed we were friends but all efforts proved abortive and that consequently soured the once chummy relationship. I am naturally not a bitter person. So l moved on until l met Dbanj again at an event in Kenya. We were all supposed to stay in the same hotel, but immediately he sighted me, he told the promoters of the event that he would not perform unless I was sent back to Nigeria and that l was his number one enemy. In fact, his former P.A. Chuchu and manager, Bankulli, kept threatening me. I ignored them and for the first time, l insulted D’banj. l was tired of his petty and childish behaviours, so l gave it to him fire for fire, while the D Prince, Jazzy’s younger brother and Ramsey Noah where on that trip watched the drama closely . And I dared them to advance with their threats. The promoters of the show tried to intervene and they ended up taking me to another location where I passed the night. When l got back to Nigeria, l did my report and wrote about how D’banj shut down Kenya, which was the truth and l never mentioned the fight and harassment from Chuchu and Bankulli. That same day my phone rang, it was D’banj. He loved the article and he apologized to me and he even said we should hook up at some point. He told me to save his phone number and call him anytime, but l never did till date. I later ran into him and Don Jazzy at events and we exchanged pleasantries. I follow both of them on instagram at least to keep tab on their works. Celebrating 10 years of fame and infamy If you ask me, I’d say that D’banj’s 10th anniversary could have been more glorious if he’d invited people who supported his career through the years when nobody knew him, especially Don Jazzy. Well, let’s set off the chronicle. The show was supposed to start by 7pm, but l got there by 8pm. l had a flat tire and l was hungry too. When l got there, l called Dayo Showemimo of the Netng. l wanted to quickly eat the ‘mama put’ rice l bought in his car knowing well that l might not get anything to eat since my ticket was a regular one. But l got tickets for drinks. I had my ‘Baba dudu’ candies too in case l feel like chewing anything inside the hall. Even by 10 pm, nobody was allowed into the hall as people hunged around, no popular face or a big celebrity had arrived either. At the red carpet, TV presenters were passing time by merely chatting away the night as they waited patiently for the colorful guests they could interview. When l was approached, l politely refused because l don’t do red carpet interviews. I’d only had to maybe once or twice in the past, but l will pose for pictures if l have to because l am so obsessed with that. l don’t waste time uploading them on Instagram and Facebook. By 11.50 pm, the hall was finally opened. Kemi Adetiba was the first face l recognized. l loved her sequins skirt as it shimmered noticeably in the hall. Adetiba is a fun loving woman. She danced while she also waited patiently like everyone else. By this time the hall was still empty, l mean practically empty, l saw Toolz Oniru in a light brown knee length dress as usual displaying her voluminous curves, l like her because she carries herself well and l also like her body. I stood directly opposite the stage where l thought Amber Rose would twerk and give us an experience to last a lifetime. l made sure l took a vantage position where nothing would obstruct my access to every bit of the soiree. Later l recognized Mubarak, the photographer, and we exchanged pleasantries. l saw Aremo Segun Oniru and Tee Billz, they sat next to each other. Tiwa Savage was also in the building, l guess she probably wanted to seat in a corner where people will not harass her for photo-up, l didn’t see her though but l was told. Aremu Oniru and Teeblizz sat under a VVIP cabana directly opposite the stage l suspect that was where Amber Rose would sit before she would go on stage. At this point, my feet were aching l could have gone to meet Jojo and Akin at their VVIP corner, but l knew l might miss out some enchanting scenes, so l endured. By 12pm, nothing was still happening; just a few guests that you could count on your finger tips. At this point, my mind started racing with many rhetorical questions. One of them was ‘where are the stars from Nollywood, the comedians and the music industry?’ l only saw Seyi Law. Didn’t they know it was Bangalee’s special day? Kemi Adetiba was still dancing and enjoying herself. That’s the spirit: make yourself happy and have fun at every point in time with or without an Amber Rose. Jimmie of Beat FM: A Saving Grace Jimmie Akinsola, He anchors sports extra on Beat FM. It probably won’t suffice for D’banj to just hand the MC his fee, he should appreciate him specially. The first time l saw Jimmie on stage was at the 2014 Headies Award. l had asked about him. He was so good, and when he introduced the hosts of the event, it was seamless and natural. He is a good host and a good hype man. He saved Dbanj’s party, to be frank. l still don’t know how to classify the event. He kept making the very boring and dull atmosphere come alive, supported by music supplied by Dj Exclusive and Dj Spinall. Jimmie kept screaming Dbanj’s new nickname ‘Eja Nla’ so much to the anger of a guest by my table where l stood, who malliciously asked: ‘Which yeye Eja Nla (big fish)? Dbanj is now a Titus or abi na shawa fish’ We couldn’t help but laugh at that. By 12.25am, Uzoma Dozie, the managing director of Diamond Bank and his wife, Adesuwa, after waiting almost endlessly for D’banj and his special guest, Amber Rose, left. Shortly after, l saw Ayona, and her husband, Philip Trimmell, strolling out at 1.02am. l guess they were home bound too. The hall was still empty. I sighted Praiz in his all round black bespoke outfit designed by Jasonporshe. He was so dapper. He was my best dressed male that night. Timaya strolled in too, Shaydee, Teckno and Banky W who carried himself in a noble demeanor. Lynxxx was so casually dressed like who is taking a walk in the park with his bae. I saw Chris Obosi and his wife walking around and I could easily sense that they were also tired of waiting and were probably thinking of leaving when Jimmie started announcing that Eja Nla and madam Amber Rose were about to step in. Excited and Happy ‘Eja Nla’ When Dbanj walked in with Amber Rose hand in hand like a couple walking down the aisle, Eja Nla was so happy and you could tell that he had a butterfly in him while feeling he’d achieved a great feat by standing side by side with Amber Rose. Lo and behold, they both walked into a practically empty hall. I am sure Amber Rose would be wondering why the hall was that empty. Didn’t Dbanj tell Nigerians she was storming their entertainment hub? Dbanj, Koko Master, Bangerlee or is it Eja Nla was just shaking like a jelly all over Amber and you would think he stood by one decent super star, well l think she is one in her own world and they walked straight to where Aremu Oniru sat. I stood directly opposite them and watched as D’banj faked a chatty friendship with Amber Rose who pretended to be flowing with him because of the cool cash breathing in her account back in the United States. At this point, l asked myself: what did Amber Rose come to do in Nigeria? What would her presence do to D’banj’s sinking image and career? Who advised D’banj to go on such a project? How the Anniversary Party Should Have Been Held D’banj, no doubt is one of the big names in the entertainment industry, not only in Nigeria but in Africa. He is loved and adored by many. Fame took a rush on his career and D’banj probably saw himself on the same pedestal with big American acts like Kanye West. Of course, he did everything to be with Kanye West which ended up in shame with all the noise about being signed on to G.O.O.D Music after wasting so many months in America. At the end of the day, he was relegated to playing a ‘waka pass’ role in one of Kanye’s videos. l remember when l ran into him and Bankulli on a British Airways flight to the Cannes in south of France, he wouldn’t even talk to me. He was so cold that Bankulli was so embarrassed and immediately became his mouth piece; answering every question on his behalf. I just thought this dude needs to grow up, l just laughed at his behavior, l was not upset because l already know how he operates. When it comes to fighting and keeping malice, he is worst than a woman. l was going to attend the Cannes Film Festival and he was catching a flight to attend the premiere of Kanye West’s movie. Anyway, l think Dbanj should have celebrated his 10th anniversary on stage by giving back to the music community and to the country whose fans made him. He should have had a black tie event. Where family, close friends and not ass lickers (that is if he still has close friends),the big wigs in their Nigeria entertainment industry, his contemporaries, young and old will come on stage and tell the world how he has inspired their career, sing any of his hit songs or sing a tribute song specially composed for him. D’banj loves everything America, so by now he should have seen how BET organizes such events for their big stars or legends and not spend hard earned money bringing Amber Rose, who is nowhere near a role model but a glorified stripper who felt too big to twerk but ordered her ‘assistant’ like Dominic to twerk for sponsors like Diamond Bank and made his guests look stupid because everybody who came wanted to see Amber Rose twerk. Two lies D’banj told was that Amber will host his show, she never did, for the host of the show was Jimmie of Beats FM, and she also did not twerk like the impression D’banj gave. D’banj should have played the role of a god-father by inviting budding artistes like Runtown, Kiss Daniel, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks, Dija (l call them the Mavin babies that is if Don Jazzy will release them though) Brain, Skales, B-Red, Lil Kesh and Teckno. The list goes on. These chaps would come and rivet all on how D’banj has inspired their careers. And if he wants a big star to host his event, we have Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Funke Akindele, Kate Henshaw or Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde who are people’s delight any day. They will be supported by my new favorite anchor man, Jimmie, he will soon be my ‘man crush’ after Phyno, we would have had a beautiful and memorable night; biko. He would have promised an unknown artist a record label deal in his newly formed Bangalee family; though we are yet to hear any singles from the ones on board. Does D’banj have an inferiority complex problem even as big as he is in Africa? Why does he think being in American will put him a better and a bigger platform? Why doesn’t he think of ruling Africa and let the likes of Kanye West, that he was one time chasing around, Jay Z, John Legend and Common search for him? Why does he think these American stars are better than him? Now he has brought in Amber Rose, only God knows how much she got paid just for seven minutes on stage, to do what now? This is exactly what Darey Art Alade did too with Kim Kadashian. What is wrong with all these dudes? Meanwhile, ex- presidents like Bill Clinton will visit and give lectures. They will stay till the end of the events and the shallow and empty ones just spend three to seven minutes on stage doing nothing yet they are heavily paid. D’banj and co please give back to your society who made you and stop wasting money on these American stars who don’t give a hoot about you. Now when Kim Kadarshian was getting married to Kanye in Paris, did she remember that Darey Art-Alade paid her so much money to be at his show? Did she send him an invite? And what about Kanye West did he remember to send D’banj an invite for his wedding? Nigerian artistes should please stop worshiping these guys and build their brands. Nigerian artistes are so big and talented, maybe the best after American artistes in the world. And that’s why l like P-Square. Can’t D’banj take a simple cue from his contemporaries like P-Square and 2baba, Flavour and J Martins who are making cool millions all over Africa? I heard with all the money he has made all through his career he is still living in a rented property like me, while P-Square, 2face even the Dr Sid (whom he kept accusing broke Mo’hits up) is happily settled in his career, marriage and has moved to his personal house. I am still not married so l have no moral ground to question why he is still single. When Dbanj is sober he should ask himself what was the significance of bringing Amber Rose to Nigeria? l think among all the celebrated women he dated, he lost a good woman in Jennifer Obayuwana, a kind hearted hardworking and supportive woman. I am sure he secretly regrets losing the newly engaged Jennifer, a smart guy called Peter has taken over that jewel. Who knows? Jennifer may be secretly thanking God the affair ended. Diamond Bank’s Misadventure What is wrong with some of our financial corporate institutions? Why would Diamond Bank be involved in the sponsorship of bringing Amber Rose to Nigeria or did they just pay for a cabana for their executive staff? If an upcoming act approaches them for just hundred thousand naira loan to pay for his studio session in order to release his single, will they assist him? Why did a supposedly conservative bank like Diamond Bank in the first place want to be associated with anything that has to do with bringing Amber Rose to Nigeria, to even do what in the first place? What good has Amber Rose visit done to the Nigerian entertainment industry or morals conveyed to the teeming Nigerian youths? Does Diamond not have a proper PR department? Didn’t they do a research of what Amber Rose does or represents? We don’t want our daughters to start thinking they can be professional strippers. Everyday in the papers, people solicit for funds to treat cancer or one form of ailments or the other. How many of these patients get help? They’d rather approve funds to bring Amber Rose to Nigeria. To do what? Did Diamond woman even sponsor last year’s Genevieve Pinkball? but they loved to be associated with Amber Rose and the other sponsors, goodluck to you all. There are so many young fashion designers from less privileged homes or even artistes, why can’t they invest their money on them? One won’t be surprised if some girls start twerking publicly at parties from this point on as they think it is right especially now that respected corporate institutions don’t see anything wrong in it, why won’t they start twerking like Amber Rose? If D’banj wanted some ladies twerking for him, he could have gone to isa le eko or idumota and fish for those Yoruba girls who are local dancers, they twerk well too, is it not all about a woman rolling and shaking her butt? …

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