D’BANJ: ENTERTAINER OR BIZMAN?
Not everyone is a fan of D’banj’s music. And many more are those conservatives, who would frown at the regular theme of his lyrics – sex. D’banj is sexy. He radiates sexiness. He knows it. And he preaches it.
But he has not come this far simply by throwing sex in our faces.
Since October 2004 when he first hit headlines, after stealing the show at R70’s Nigerian independence gig (held in London), D’Banj has shown that he may not be the best singer in the world; he may not be the best songwriter; and he may not be the finest guy around the corner; but he’s told us repeatedly, until we had it engraved in our brains, that he’s got such an incredibly charming persona; he’s got an amazing fashion sense. And when he hits the stage, don’t we all get up from our seats, mouths wide open, palms held together as we clap, scream and marvel at his mastery of the stage?
Everyone’s agreed on that: D’Banj is an entertainer many entertainers should be taking lessons from. Like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade, the 28 year old is a delight n the stage, as he struts around, swirling, dancing, flirting and most times making overtly sexual moves that throws the ladies into a frenzy.
Such is the man’s art that he continues to dazzle us, hypnotizing us all, and making us forget that –until now- the last time we had fresh solo materials from him was 2006. Okay, so you’ve heard him on Pere and Booty Call and other Mo’ Hits cuts. But think about it, when was the last time D’Banj gave us a body of work entirely his? 2006!
Yet, he’s on top of his game, even strutting father up the ladder than some of his contemporaries who have dropped two albums in the past 18 months.
What has kept the young man going, truth be told, is not just his sex appeal and his lingo pattern and his stage wonders. The joker that has worked for him is a successful brand identity made possible by the acumen of Dapo Oyebanjo and Don Jazzy. And it is the more easier because the man Dapo Oyebanjo is very comfortable with the persona of the entertainer D’Banj.
But is he just anther passing phase; a changing mood in the life of a fast-paced industry? Or will he stand the test of time Like Fela and KSA? With just one LP and one EP to his name, it might yet be difficult to tell.
That’s why we’re all excited he’s taken time of performances; time off signing endorsement deals and harbouring a community of ‘kokolets’, to put together another body off work. D’banj’s third CD ‘The Entertainer’ is the material that should vindicate his supporters; convince doubting Thomases, and shame his critics. Most importantly, with near-excellent music coming from the likes of Nayo, 9ice, Asa, Etcetera and many more, this may be the one album that’ll determine where fans and critics will place him on the catalogue of music-makers.
Time will tell. And that time is not too far off – The Entertainer will hit the streets in a matter of days, after a high-power launch on July 26.
But whatever happens, either he goes on to conquer the world, or fades away like many before him, D’banj would have taught us more about music business, about giving back, about enlisting fans, and about building a showbiz brands than any book anyone may have written. Armed with past and present endorsement deals with Power fist, Virgin Colours, Virgin Nigeria and Globacom he boasts the highest number of corporate endorsement for any act in his category.
With his upcoming reality show (The entertainer), the koko mobile range, koko wears collection and his investments in Mo’ Hits, D’Banj is putting his money where his mouth is. And there’s the koko foundation, an initiative that enables him give back to the society that has helped him achieve his dreams – nurturing him from a wanna be to a bonafide star