By Ena Ofugara
It’s Don Jazzy Again. These words made popular by Dbanj were once the most popular words in Nigeria. That was at the apogee of Mohit success, where they managed to upstage the almighty 2Face and PSquare. Indeed, those two young “Ogbono feli feli” men came down from London and took over an entire industry.
One holds it in his palms still.
Don Jazzy is the consummate strategist. Also Actor. First, he showed us a personality that was MYSTIQUE itself. He was reticence to Dbanj’s garrulousness. We craved to hear him speak. “Dbanj yarn them the koko” sings his background voice to their breakout hit “Tongolo”. That was the only way we knew he was not deaf and dumb. And to make the mystique even more mystical, the almighty Dbanj, ladies man extraordinaire, would prostrate and give all credit to Don Jazzy.
And why not. Dbanj hardly would strike me as one any producer or label would invest in. He does not have the sonorous voice of the Omalays or sweet airiness of the voice of Kizz Daniel. What he had was “IT,” that inexplicable quality in an artform that defies reasoning. Don Jazzy saw that IT .. that Xfactor in Dbanj and he is said to have left JJC and 419 Squad and put all his eggs in a basket many would have looked quizzically at.
The rest is history. Dbanj was number one in Africa. Yes. He upstaged everyone in his prime.
Don Jazzy was to then take a couple of other talented and perhaps so-so talents to the Zenith of Nigerian music, by virtue of sweet music production and intelligent song-writing. Dr Sid’s Over The Moon is a classic. The Prince even has hits including OMOBA and Goody Bag. Without meaning to question anyone’s talents, one would wonder how far many acts would go without the imprimatur of Don Jazzy.
Speaking of inprimatur, that was all a young beautiful ambitious Tiwa Savage needed to break into the male-dominated Nigerian music scene. Kele Kele Love was no child’s play (kele kele, no child play. Get it?) at all. It was a MONSTER hit. Tiwa was/is to go on to enjoy an uncontested reign as the number one female, with maybe only Yemi Alade enjoying some of her international fame. (apologies to Simi, who I love to bits). Tiwa’s crown is only now threatened by Tems and Ayra Star, two females with global potentials (Sorry Teni. Love you also)
And amongst those two with genuine potential to upstage Tiwa, one is from Don Jazzy’s stable. Let us just say Don Jazzy has been “Filling (sic) VIBES ON VIBES and is more than a TICKING DYNAMITE.
Ticking dynamite or exploding one? Where would our lives be without (From Mo Hits dispensation) “You done make me fall in love, fall in love ohhh” or Why Me or the many hits with Dbanj that had us saying OLORUN MAJE when we heard that they were splitting up? How would our joy have been without Korede Bello’s GODWIN or Tiwa Savage’s EMINADO, Wande Coal’s Bumper to Bumper, or Reekado Bank’s Katapot, or everything from the mouth of Johny Drille? Should I remention “Over the moon” by Dr Sid or the collabo “DORO BUCCi? Let us just borrow REMA’s words and say Don Jazzy is SOUNDGASM and he can make you BOUNCE like a Ghanaian woman’s backside with his beats or beats he approves for his artistes, or go sweet like doo do do do doooo do doo dooooooo, like Rema. “Yeh yeh”
And now, if you think rap music has passed its sellby date in Nigeria, oh well, LADIPOE, under the auspices of Don Jazzy, is giving us some sensuous rap music that is playing well beside the best of Afro Beat music in any DJ’s rotation.
But all I have written, lengthy as it might seem, is but my preamble.
The reticent mystique of Don Jazzy has given way to the most interesting persona on Instagram, in my estimation. The introvert is still seen by his continued reluctance to, unlike a puff daddy/P.Diddy, be all over the artistes video. He will not even take a verse in the hit with Burna boy, (craved for one). Gone totally is PRETEND diffidence(?) that characterized his leadership of MOHITS and in its place is a… with all due respect, CLOWN.
Clown…. painted face; cross-dressing, butt shaking, groundnut-bottle swigging like it was alcohol…. you name it
Crown… Ayra Star, Ladipoe, and now Majixx.
And the way he is releasing the artistes and getting them famous is the crux of this gist..
CLOWN… Don Jazzy has found allies in skit-makers. If you dance to Ayra Star’s Bloody Samaritan by crossing and uncrossing your hand, remember the artiste herself did not do that. A skit (funny dramalets) had a lady continuously cross and uncross her hands, despite all the difficulties, including being run-over by a car. “You no fit kill my vibes” was the message. That move is more popular than the beautiful video. The song is perhaps the biggest song INSIDE of Nigeria.
And inside of Nigeria and beyond, with a combination of funny content and money giveaways, and pure goodwill of PROMOTING OTHERS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH MAVIN (he celebrates other acts like they were his) Don Jazzy’s instagram is a STAR-MAKER and he has now an army of WILLING PROMOTERS of his acts and trade.
He lifts others, they lift him and all that is his.
So I know Majixx without seeing him on TV. I heard Ladipoe ft Fireboy “Running” without seeing it on TV. And you should see the emphasis Don Jazzy put on Fireboy’s talent, and Fireboy is not his artiste.
CLOWN and CROWN, whatever hat Don Jazzy chooses to wear, I know beneath is an unadulterated, pristine, undiluted GENIUS
And when we say he is an ALL ROUNDER, it is not about his body weight. (you must admit he is indeed very “ALL ROUND” in physique.). It is in reference to a visionary talent spotter, producer, CEO, INVESTOR, actor, jovial, convivial Nigerian male with a CROWN, on his head and a CLOWN at heart.
When a man has the ability to laugh at himself, and also able to go out of his way to make others happy, that man has found true self-worth.
And think of all the money he has generated for families of his acts and the immeasurable economy that is the sale of his products… and the unquantifiable pleasure derived.
May God continue to broaden his coast in Jesus name.
Did I mention he has produced a song for Beyonce and Jay Z?
*Ena Ofugara writes from Houston, Texas, United States.