|Don Jazzy & Dbanj|
As the news of the break-up between the estranged partners dragged on and rolled into weeks, both feuding camps kept mute thereby fuelling more speculations. Several theories ranging from the mundane to the absurd were adduced to the flaming controversy. One tale had it that the last straw that broke the camel’s back began in June last year with disagreements over details of their widely celebrated deal with American rapper, Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music.
Another account revealed that the rancour was due to a clash of egos and differences in personalities between both actors as D’Banj’s alleged overbearing attitude started to pitch him on a collision course with Don Jazzy. Yet there was also another outrageous theory to the effect that an invitation by Kanye West to the duo to become members of the much-vaunted American occult group, Illuminati, is at the root of the deep feud between both former friends.
Many fans avowed that the crises had been raging quietly between both partners for a long time. Nevertheless, the source of discord between the two friends remains an elusive item.
In fact, it was learnt that by February when all members of the Mo’Hits crew reunited on stage at what was to be the crew’s US breakthrough at a New York concert organised by Live Nation Tours, a crack was already obvious. A source close to the outfit revealed that both acts shared different dressing booths before the show kicked-off, which was a departure from their intimate past.
Interestingly, the first confirmation about the break-up between the estranged business partners did not come through an official medium. After several weeks of isolation from the public, including all forms of social media interaction with fans, Don Jazzy ended the speculations on March 17, by confirming the fears of many with a comment on his twitte account.
The now famous tweets read: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the end of a long era and the beginning of a new one. Some of the rumours you have all heard recently are sad but true. The way forward now is to make sure I keep bringing you guys more of the beautiful music y’all love to dance to. And to end the old era I will be donating the proceeds of my production catalogue from day one till date to five charity organizations. Thanks. IDJA”.
No word was immediately heard from the camp of D’Banj who had temporarily relocated to the US where he has since been operating with his cronies at G.O.O.D Music.
But in a reaction to Don Jazzy’s comments, Obi Asika, CEO, Storm Records and showbiz impresario said in a tweet, “I was extremely sad to see @donjazzy’s tweet today. I just want to salute @donjazzy @iamdbanj and the entire mo hits crew, amazing memories!”
Finally the truth was out!
Enter the barbs
Until Don Jazzy’s confirmation, the prevalent public opinion was that the rumoured bad blood between the former pals was just another hoax, a public relations strategy. This came shortly after D’Banj became the butt of jokes among young Nigerians after he claimed ignorance of the fuel subsidy removal protest in an interview with online medium, Sahara TV.
Breaking his silence, Don Jazzy put to rest further speculations about the rancour within the Mo’Hits rank. The chain of events that followed (and still continues to unveil) exposed the fact that there is a lingering feud between both acts, which is messier than it first appeared to be. The drama gained momentum when Ebony Magazine by commission or omission “erroneously” misquoted that D’Banj owned Mo’Hits and that Don Jazzy was an artiste under his management. Even though the magazine has made a retraction, this further stoked the fire.
Thereafter a more explosive item appeared: a fortnight ago, an email exchange between Don Jazzy and D’banj was leaked. The email generated a lot of reactions, including a visceral statement from Wande Coal, one of the Mo’Hits ensemble.
Status Quo: Silence is not golden
In the meantime, D’banj does not appear to be sitting down with his hands crossed. The G.O.O.D Music ambassador is now set to float a new label which, according to sources, will have his younger brother, K-Switch as a managing partner cum artiste and long time pal, Seun Abisagbola also known as Bankuli as his manager. In addition, he has also recruited the services of a highly resourceful event, celebrity and brand Public Relations Expert, Vanessa Amadi, Managing Director, VA PR who now oversees his corporate image. Since the turn of the year, D’banj has practically relocated to New York and London where he is believed to be recording fresh materials for his long-awaited album. Although pictures of him surfaced with other G.O.O.D Music label mates including Kanye West at the American’s recent fashion show in Paris, however, on the home-front, he has become a scarce commodity. Reports indicated that he was in Lagos about three weeks ago only for a few days.
On his part, Don Jazzy is fast emerging as the biggest winner in the unfolding feud that has continued to witness the exchange of brickbats from both camps. The erstwhile media-shy and reclusive President of Mo’Hits Records has been enjoying the sympathy of members of the public since coming out to confirm the rumour. Unarguably the biggest Nigerian celebrity on twitter with almost a quarter of a million fans, Don Jazzy is making the best of the situation with his interaction with his numerous fans via social media and appearances at public events. He has been sighted recently at two different shows including 9ice’s Bashorun Gaa Versus Concert and AY Live which both held at Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos.
Don Jazzy, whose popularity and goodwill recently saw him being named as the 37th most influential African celebrity by Forbes Magazine, was again sighted last weekend at the Celebrity Face-Off Basketball Game where he played the role of a coach.
IDJA as the talented producer is fondly called still enjoys the loyal support of his manager, Sunday Are, CEO, List Entertainment, as well as that of the other Mo’Hits acts including his younger, D’Prince, Dr. Sid and Wande Coal.
A future of dissolution and legal tussle
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the war of attrition between the two camps in Mo’Hits Records may be far from over. Close watchers reveal that there are many more unanswered questions than answers.
For instance, the terms of dissolution of the partnership to determine who gets what may be a subject of fierce legal tussle in weeks to come as more dirt and mudslinging continue to fly between both acts.
EE learnt that all hopes of reconciliation between both acts may have been completely ruled out as several attempts to broker peace between both parties have met a brick wall. A report claimed that even the attempt to broker a truce between the warring parties by Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, ended in vain.
Mo’Hits: a post-mortem
Like showbiz guru, Obi Asika, rightly reasoned, even thought the group may have disintegrated, it left behind amazing memories. Music lovers will fondly remember the synergy between Don Jazzy and D’Banj that became a model of success and reference not only within the music industry but also among young and aspiring entrepreneurs. Many would not forget that the advent of Mo’Hits marked an exodus that saw many Nigerian talents based abroad returning to the country to pursue their dreams.
Don Jazzy’s email
Here is an excerpts from the Don Jazzy’s email.
“…Note that Mo’Hits Records only owns 60 per cent of the songs and 40 per cent belongs to the individual artiste. So, 40 per cent of the songs is not mine to give…the catalogue I am releasing to D’banj only consists of songs already released in albums exempting new singles and unreleased materials…So, songs like Wande Coal’s Go Low and Been Long You Saw Me are not part of the catalogue he is receiving…It is important to note that any unreleased songs done by any artiste (including D’banj and K-Switch) must not be released and is not part of the catalogue I am giving away.”
“With these few points, I do hope that you all realise that I have been generous enough to facilitate the End of the “D’banj & Don Jazzy” era as a team. After this new deal has been signed and sealed, I do NOT look forward to seeing an email whatsoever or hearing from the DKM (D’banj, K-Switch, Mo’Hits) crew…again.”
“What do you mean by any bills or loans would be cleared by Mr. D’banj? That will never happen because when I ran the company, I ran it perfectly and well. So, if I give him my shares he is left with 100 per cent liability. My catalogue is everything that has been done with the Mo’Hits system and under the normal agreement we have, that means everything I have recorded or that has been recorded whether new or old, or even classic, whether beat with concept or even idea without beats, anything we did as a team and sponsored by me throughout, then, it is mine. Including K-switch clause and all mine and even Wande’s singles and all till the date of signing even today…In case he (Don Jazzy) forgot, this is the arrangement! 50/50—–song writer/ production, which means for a song X for artiste Y, 75 per cent as per production is fully owned by Mo’Hits and writing is shared 25/25 with the individual artiste co- writing. So, that’s the deal! So him (sic) saying 40 per cent is not his to give away is more like 75per me and 25per each artiste.”
“And now, (I) wanna clear the air on this Samsung deal! I would expect by now that you understand that me keeping quiet is being GENEROUS because this is a deal structured under Mo’Hits Records, (and it is) the first deal and income you would ever bring into the company in eight years. We shared the first 150k (One hundred and fifty thousand dollars) the right way, 1/3 down and that was cool. But after you collected another 130k and did not say anything (that) is and could be described as theft! I only refused to contact them (Samsung) directly because of your reputation. But please don’t call me a fool and let’s know who is generous…Please, please, will he (Don Jazzy) return the Bentley because I bought it for him and it was N5.2m more than mine?… So, let’s get the facts straight, I AM BEING MORE THAN GENEROUS.”
Wande Coal’s reaction
“As much as I would like to be quiet on this issue. seeing peoples responses to this so called leaked emails I can’t take it any longer…Saying that he bought a car for Don Jazzy is wrong and untrue. come onnnnnn. well I dont think he said it sha until i see a video of it’…‘God please don’t let the success you have given me get to my head to the extent that I will forget my humble beginnings. Don Jazzy. ‘@Donjazzy baba I hail you
dieeeeee. will be back from dubai tomorrow’.
2004 – Birth of Mo’Hits
Don Jazzy and D’Banj return to Nigeria to launch Mo’Hits Records with the release of the phenomenal hit single “Tongolo”. It was a gamble that turned out to became a big success.
2005 – Enter the Koko Master
With the release of D’banj’s debut album all produced by Don Jazzy under Mo’Hits Records entitled No Long Thing, a new vista was launched; D’Banj was now to be known as Kokomaster. The success not only positioned the label but as the new bride of Nigerian hip hop. It also led to various show engagements and collaborations with other artistes as well as a KORA Award for Most Promising Male Artist.
2006 - Funk Up
As a follow-up to the success of his debut, D’Banj released “Tongolo (remix)” and “Why Me” as a prelude to his second album entitled Funk U Up. Same year, D’Banj emerged HHWA Revelation of the Year and Nigerian Music Award (NMA) for Artiste of the Year while Don Jazzy bagged NMA Producer of the Year.
2007 – Mo’Hits All Stars album
As a strategy to introduce its new act, the label released a joint album entitled Curriculum Vitae by Mo’Hits All Stars including acts such as Dr. Sid, Wande Coal, K-Switch and D’Prince. It included hit singles, “Be Close To You”, “Booty Call” and “Move Your Body”, which was the lead single. Again, D’Banj emerged Best Africa Act at MTV European Music Awards, while Don Jazzy again emerged as Producer of the Year at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, US (NEA).
2008 - The Entertainer
D’banj’s third album entitled The Entertainer was released with hit singles such as “Gbono Feli Feli”, “Kimon”, “Olorun Maje” and “Entertainer”. D’banj was featured in Ikechukwu’s hit “Wind Am Well” produced by Don Jazzy. D’banj snapped up MTV Africa Music Awards, Artiste of the Year and Best Male Artiste. He was nominated for Best African Act at the MOBO Awards.
2009 – Wande Coal debuts with Mushin to Mo’Hits
It was one the most eagerly awaited album of the Year by a debutant artiste as Wande Coal made a debut with Mushin to Mo’Hits which got his career to a roaring start. D’Banj again emerges MTV Africa Music Awards’ Artiste of the Year. He was a second time nominee for Best African Act at the MOBO Awards.
2010 – Dr Sid drops Turning Point
The former Trybes Record act and Dentist turned-musician made a loud debut with Turning Point under the seal of Mo’Hits including hits such as “Something About You”, “Over The Moon” and “Pop Something”.
2011 - Mo’Hits/ G.O.O.D. Music collabo
In March, D’banj launched Kokomobile Phones and around the same time he conducted an exclusive interview with President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the latter’s Presidential election campaign. By June, the duo of D’banj and Don Jazzy made history by signing unto Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label as artiste and producer respectively. Same Year D’Banj emerged joint-winner of Best African Act at BET Awards as well as a Special Recognition Award at Channel O Music Video Awards, South Africa. The highpoint of the rollercoaster ride was Kanye’s West’s appearance at Koko Concert at O2 Arena, UK.
Disc Jockeys speakBy OMOTOLA OLAIFA
It is strange that this kind of a thing is happening to Mo’Hits record. Wealth, success and fame are three very powerful things that are difficult to manage. D’banj and Don Jazzy both have them all. They’ve both allowed themselves to be ridiculed by these driven factors. Personally, I think D’banj won’t be complete without Don Jazzy. If the likes of Wande Coal, Dr. Sid and D’Prince could all leave with Don Jazzy while K-Switch who happens to be D’banj’s kid brother can only manage to stay with his brother; then that says it all. What this simply means is that Wande Coal and all other artistes find D’banj guilty. More so, such break up shouldn’t be allowed to graduate to this state and should have been resolved amicably even without public awareness.
DJ SPIN’ ALL
Kanye West is the devil and when you team up with the devil, calamity is what you get. Even though there have been problems in the Mo’ Hits house, what Kanye simply did was to bring the whole house down on both of them after sidelining Don Jazzy and knowing well what reaction will follow. Imagine, for someone like Kanye to profess openly that he sold his soul to the devil which is not a mere musical rhyme, and you join forces with such artiste, you would definitely get hurt. There are hardly any of the so called superstars from Michael Jackson to the least who have not bowed to that devil all for fame, wealth and prestige. And their end is like that of a fool. My advice for other artistes is: Stay where God has placed you and shine from there. Most of the collaborations are done out of complex. People like Fela hardly collaborated with anyone and you could see how bright their star still shine.
I don’t really understand what is going on. Really, it’s complicated. Both parties should settle the fight because this is not the best. I pray that God should help Mo’ hits and let them live as one family again. To be candid, these two guys are only allowing journalists destroy their careers, friendship and future. Like men, they should come together and sort their differences, and if necessary split even as friends. The press is using them to make sales.
They are yet to tell us the real ‘koko’ of the matter. But before the ‘koko’, I will just advice that they talk less in public and get both lawyers and accountants involved to enable them wind up seamlessly. It is obvious they were running a partnership without following the rules of partnership and certainly without much documentation on what happens in case of splits.
But they should know that nothing last forever especially when money, fame and ego are at stake.I don’t even know what is wrong with D’banj and Don Jazzy. D’banj needs Don Jazzy, Don Jazzy needs D’banj. These guys should get back and do G.O.O.D music without Kanye. We sing better than and produce more than this guys.
2012 – End of Mo’Hits era
In February, Mo’Hits full-scale invasion of the US took-off with a sold-out Koko Concert at Irving Plaza, New York backed by Live Nation. By March 5, rumours of break-up within the label became viral. 12 days later, on March 17, Don Jazzy announces the end of Mo’Hits via his twitter handle. The drama begins.