The D’Banj in this very delightful interview with Saturday Vanguard opens up first time on his relationship with Genevieve Nnaji and the controversial interview with President Jonathan. He also talked about his ideal woman and why he cant find a wife and more…
The Kanye West Deal…
First of all there are two different kinds of contracts here. This deal is more like a Mo Hit’s Records contract and under Mo Hits, there are two deals.
The first, is a two- year production deal with Don Jazzy. He’ll be working directly with Kanye West. The second one is more like a partnership. It’s flexible because it’s a partnership. It’s not a regular deal because we’re funding some part of the deal. And it also puts us in the position of power. The deal isn’t just for the Mo’hits crew. Other artists will also have access to it and the money will come in. We now have the connection and the bridge has finally been built and as we’re doing that we’re still holding our base back home. So it’s flexible and good too.
The New Single
Oh yes, it will drop before December by God’s grace with a beautiful video. It’s a Kanye West collabo.
‘No long thing’?
Mo Hits records stands for more hits as you well know. I decided to use ‘no long thing’ meaning no long story, because I love freestyle and I love to play with words. The Koko thing was coined in London. Before we finished the recording of my first album, there was an independence show in October 2004 which I was invited to perform as a solo artist. Then I was signed on to Backbone records headed JJC of the 419 Squad.
Before the show, we’d parted ways JJC, but he was nice enough to say we could still perform with his group. Kween Onokala who was also a former member of the crew was the first to climb the stage. After her performance, I was told by DJ Abass the organiser of the show, I was only good enough for a song.
As I went on stage, I shouted ‘I’m D’banj and it was only one guy who responded by saying “ we no know you”(we don’t know you). Then I responded with “if you no know me, wait you go know me”. Then I started singing. And the song I did was an Afro beat song.
So as Kween made to leave the stage, I pleaded with her not to. I sang, “make you know ask me wetin you go do for me, but ask me wetin I do for you, wey go make my body stand well well…”
Everyone just went mad with excitement. The outfit I wore that night was sent from Nigeria by my brother. And because it was a size smaller, my broda the trouser come jump
As I was rounding up, DJ Abass beckoned that I continue. Immediately I went into the song, Mo Bo Lowo Won.
Gbagaun, come see spraying, meeen! Gbenga Adeyinka, can tell the story. By the time I finished that, I did a third song. Then Gbenga Adeyinka came up and said “who say them no know am?” And everybody shouted “we don know am!”
And that’s how I also came up with “I’m Skibanj. ” Skibanj evolved because of our interactions with some Jamaican friends who were always with us in the studio.
My performance earned me the right to now play with JJC. I played the mouth organ in the song, See Me See Wahala. A certain Nigeria journalist who was in crowd wrote on my performance.
As at that time, my mother who didn’t agree that I go into music, saw the story, called and demanded that I return home.
I was an Engineering student in LASU. And mum obviously like every parent, didn’t see anything good in the business.
But I told her it’s what I wanted. So advised that even if I wanted to do music, I should be through with school first.
So she said I could come back home and that they’ll support me. By this time, Don Jazzy and I were already planning on how to come back and that’s how we found Mo’Hits.
Do You like the Koko?
When we first returned home, we played some of our songs to friends and I remembered Ruggedman saying the Koko song was going to be a hit.
Because of the way people reacted to the Koko song, we decided to shoot the video. And after the release we went back to London to hustle. By February, we got paid N150,000 to do a show in Lagos. I was only able to pay for only one ticket to come home, but I told Don Jazzy not to worry because we were already gaining grounds.
The next show in 2005 was good and I told Don Jazzy to come home. He flew in and we did the album launch at White House on 25th March, 2005. And things have been going well since then.
I want to say thanks to my mum because she’s been support. We had no godfather or money but mum supported myself and Don Jazzy. The challenges of settling in was more of us moving from one hotel to the other in trying to get ourselves ready because we couldn’t do it from the house. We did most of the jobs in the night and it was hard moving from one place to the other.
Don Jazzy and I were flat mates in London, so it was easy to share the boys-quarters of Mummy’s house. But soon we got a place at Otedola Estate around Marwa garden. We were happy and mummy was too. She was even in support because she knew that our jobs were always in the night. She supported us and I remember she bought us a Previa bus. Before success came we paid our dues by doing more than a hundred free shows
I think I’m more matured and have more experience. Obviously life is good and sweet. To whom much is given, much is expected. So Don Jazzy and I think of ways to come out with creative things. God has been faithful and I owe no thanks to anybody but to God Almighty.
I’m not a great singer, I’m not even a singer, not a rapper, I’m just a entertainer. And whenever people hear my songs they’re always happy. And we try to bring out something different all the time and the Mo’hit crew live in harmony and blend with everyone, both the high and low.
The Koko mansion winner was not supposed to be come my companion. Even oversea when you do a reality shows, you could say you’re looking for the best this or that. Koko Mansion was a search for the ideal woman and not for D’banj’s ideal woman.
With my exposure, I’ve found out abroad, the picture of an ideal woman is different from what we have here. There, both couple would cook and do other chores together. But here, it’s not same. And that’s why I was not responsible for the winner or loser. If I had to choose the winner, I’d another woman. But it was all about whom an ideal woman is to us Africans.
At the end of the day after she won, I saw the reason why they voted for her because she was ideal to them in their own way. She was ideal, cool, respectful and had other qualities. But as a man, I was not attracted to want to date or marry her. Even some people in the house saw that I was attracted to some other Kokolet not minding if she’s a criminal. I wasn’t meant to be with her but it was for her to be established in her own way. We sponsored her to South Korea after then, she went on a project she signed for. So she wanted to work as a presenter and I tried getting her into HiTV and she did the job for a while but I don’t know whether she’s still there.
The return of Koko Mansion
So many things have happened to us over the years. We’ve had the America trip, the collabo with Snoop Dog and more. Reality shows takes a lot and we have to do it well.
The first time we did it, Hi TV sponsored it. After that we got sponsors especially from DSTV. But there’s a problem because Hi TV covers mainly London and a lot of my London people enjoyed the season one.
But for season 2, DSTV is going to give me 800 million Africans and I’m trying to look for how we can expand.
The next reality show might be a camera man just following me around. It doesn’t have to be the search for an ideal woman. It might be Koko Mansion shot in te studio and there will be the making of my album.
They say I’m a role model to many youths and they’re confused about how I work. The show could focus on the making of my songs, so the youth would seethat it isn’t so easy coming out with a good album.
So my reality show is not going to be limited to the search for an ideal woman.
The Genevieve Story
I really can’t remember, it cost between N4m to N5m. I ‘m not too sure. But I think it’s a beautiful idea if not for the way everyone is trying to go about it. I think Genevieve is a stunner I could date or love her. But we didn’t date. She’s my friend and a star you know. We’re close and we both understand that things couldn’t work out.
That song was recorded two years before the video was released and it remains my biggest song ever.I wanted to make a statement with it.
We had options of whom to use in the video, but at the end of the day, we saw that it’s an African song and by that time I had already played it in about fifty weddings.
A touch of Jazzy
I think we should ask Jazzy that question because I objected to the idea and wanted to do something for Koko mansion. It was Jazzy who insisted we do it. I told him I couldn’t do stuff like that because I’m not P-Square, I’m not used to love songs. But Jazzy said I had to do it.
I did it again in Scape Goat. Yes, I will do more love songs because now, I’m international and it doesn’t really matter if it’s Hip -hop or R & B.
My songs will be based on the ideas I get.When Falling love was done, I was going through a phase, now I’m a grown man. And that’s why I recorded Oliver Twist.
We’ve short listed our top 50.
You asked why it’s taking us long to start our realty show? We’ve started it, it’s just that we’re looking for the best way to drop it. Don Jazzy did the Enigma and we’d more than 1800 entries.
With Oliver Twist, we have over two thousand entries from more than eighty countries.
We’re actually taking the top five videos which we will either add or re-create to suit the real Oliver Twist video.
Unlike Don Jazzy, I’m not internet friendly. So I don’t know what Illuminati is. I believe in Jesus Christ the Almighty God, who has given to me, all the money and successes. I’ve no idea of what people are talking about. I’ve heard a lot of rumour about us being members of Illuminati, drug trafficking and other allegations. I think the rumours are because of our success stories and because Nigeria exports nothing but music and movies.
So, it’s wake up time for our youths know that what we do isn’t for us alone but for the whole nation. And if you tarnish what we export, you’d have us running away to overseas to live our lives. Seal ran away fron the country because of the same problem and he’s one of the biggest artists in the world today. If he was, his money would have done a lot for the youth.
President Jonathan connection
First of all, he didn’t ask to be interview, instead I did the asking and that was four months before the election came up. I asked for the interview because I needed to have a good reason for what I’d wanted to do.
A year before then, I already changed my song from Scape Goat to I Will Vote For Him. A lot of people had asked why I changed title of my song.
I told myself that if I had an opportunity to meet him, I’d ask him just one question which is, his agenda for the youths.
I’m not a journalist and couldn’t have asked the rellevant questions. I was only interested in his plans for the youths. I still have recording of the interview.
If some people were not biased, they’d see that he addressed at least nine issues ranging from job, employment to education and everything that I thought was okay for my level.
I’ve no regret for doing the interview. Because of the reactions of some people, I had to go back and watch the whole thing and I saw the highlights again.
I wasn’t even around when it was aired.
More Koko please
Am I good in bed? How I’m suppose to know? I think you should ask the women, but please don’t ask a virgin
That song is misleading them. When you say how big is the koko?, then they want to see if it’s that big. But when some come, they see what they either want to see or don’t expect to see.
So are you saying that the song has put you into a lot of trouble?
Yes, a lot of time. But to find a lady that really likes one genuinely makes me paranoid. Of late, I dated a lady called Dana and she doesn’t even know that I’m a musician. I told her I’m a businessman. She’s based in America and I like it. Is it wrong? Even if I date a foreigner, I still have to come back home.
Are you saying you haven’t met any Nigerian lady?
It’s really hard to find because how will I know she likes me genuinely? My mother said I should go to Bishop Oyedepo’s Church, Living Faith to find a wife