Last week, the Oba of Lagos took time off a very busy schedule to play host to a very unusual set of guests.



Fresh from a trip to the UK and the US, D’Banj and the entire Mo Hits crew decided to pay a courtesy visit to the Lagos monarch. The visit, according to his spokesperson, was to officially present his new album to the Oba, and ask for his blessings.  What’s a pop star doing in the palace of a traditional ruler?



Well, in case you don’t know, D’Banj is not your regular pop star. The 28 year-old entertainer may appear exuberant and urbane, but deep down his soul lies a man who understands how to court power; how to use his star status to his advantage; how to identify with people, issues  and causes that could sell his brand and soar his rating.




So if you’re one of those surprised by the meeting between D’banj and Oba Rilwan Akiolu, maybe it’ll be good if I also told you that the charming musician has also been hosted by the senate President David Mark. He’s had lunch with captains of industries; and state executives. And he not only finds time to see the high and mighty. Just like 2face and Julius Agwu and few others, he’s known in different orphanages and less privileged kids’ homes across the country. In fact, through his Koko Foundation for Peace and Youth Development, he’s sponsoring over 50 helpless youths for ICT education – yet he’s only 28 years old and his recording career less than five years.




But that’s not what fascinates me about D’banj. If you remove your glasses and look closely, you’ll quickly see that the young man is teaching his contemporaries a lot of lessons no showbiz journal can teach them. OK, so he’s not the first artiste to return from nowhere and move straight up the charts. He’s not the first homeboy to be decorated with Channel O and MTV awards. He’s not even the first to rake in N10 million in a week. After all, there’s been Femi Kuti and 2face Idibia before him. And if you look further, into the catalogue of outgoing performers, you’ll see that that likes of KSA, KWAM 1 and Ayinde Barrister have achieved impressive feats in personal capacities.




What D’Banj brings to the table, is unusual business acumen, an understanding of modern showbizness like no other. The young man is like a teacher, in front of a crowded classroom. Chalk in his left hand and a cain in the other, he’s teaching his colleagues, and plenty upcomers, the rudiments of showbiz, the dos and don’ts. If it was a university class in real life, the course would be called ‘Koko 101’. And if he were to compile the lessons into a book, then the title would be: ‘how to make money like it’s going out of fashion – a guide for today’s artistes’.




In a country where most artistes quickly go from rich to broke -no thanks to soaring piracy, unpaid royalties, dwindling record sales and extravagant lifestyles- D’Banj and his partner Don Jazzy are developing an art that will prove useful to a generation of Nigerian musicians. And just at a time when we were getting tired of the sexual connotations of the koko philosophy, they’re holding us by the collars, whispering in our ears that ‘the Koko is entrepreneurship!’




During a visit to Nigeria recently, respected lyricist Talib Kweli told a group of industry leaders, ‘record sales are dropping seriously. What most acts are doing now is to sell chips of their personalities. The main revenue for acts now and in the future will come from endorsements, business ventures and performances’. That’s what Jay Z and 50 Cent and Akon have since realised. Global showbiz stars are toeing the same line, ensuring the stay in business long after the fans have tired of their art.




But back home the norm is for artistes to rely on record sales, performance fees and, in some cases, spraying. Of course we all know they end up fighting with the label over revenue arising from sales, and the earnings from performing are consumed by an extravagant lifestyle.




So what’s D’Banj doing differently? He’s bagging endorsement deals like he’s using talisman to convince the brand managers. He’s showing the entrepreneur in him: partnering with Bank PHB for an upcoming reality show and Globacom for the Koko range of mobile phones. D’Banj is embarking on a series of projects that, when completed, may turn him into the richest artiste in Nigeria . While some of his contemporaries are busy making babies, he’s discussing with his partners about floating a Koko condom line; while some are setting up a harem of wives, D’Banj, in spite of the sex theme of his lyrics, is staying out of trouble. These days, the only thing he’s doing, apart from making more money, is giving back, through his Koko foundation. From helping the motherless babies, to giving out scholarships and fighting against the increasing violence in the Niger Delta, the lanky entertainer knows it’s important to give back to a society that accepted him with open arms when he returned home from the UK in 2005.




Oh, and he’s still finding time to make music too! The singer’s new body of work ‘The Entertainer’, will be released next week, after a talk-of-the-town Launch in Lagos today and tomorrow. The album is D’banj’s first solo body of work in over 18 months, and anticipation has already reached feverish proportions, following the acceptance of ‘mo gbona feli feli’, ‘igwe’, ‘olorun maje’ and other early singles off the album.




The new work will mark the beginning of a new phase for his career; as he takes more executive functions at Mo Hits (where he’s vice president). The label is seeking to push forward Wande Coal, Dr SID, The Prince and other talents. Then of course, D’Banj will aim for more attention internationally. He’s already gotten a Canada-based publicist. And I hear talks are on for major international collaborations.




Ladies and gentlemen, let’s meet in class for Koko 101…



19 Responses to “LESSONS FROM D’BANJ”

  1. I really agree with this article, |D’Banj is really doing great, the guy has got a lot of talent, and energy and he is using it well. Other artiste should emulate him. What i love most about the guy is that despite his fame and stardom he is down to earth.

  2. Princekay123 Says:

    Surely, D’banj is an artist I admire alot not because of his music (he is singing rubbish) but because of his style, personality and initiative.
    He is really showing the skill of managing stardom. I think most Nigerian artistes lack this skill (Tuface for intance still need to learn how to manage fame). Blackfaze of Nigeria, Eedris AbdulKarim and co also need training. They need to know that as artistes they are vanguards of change.
    Stardom goes beyond just singing “No Shaking” or “Nothing they happen”, you must know how to publicly comport yourself because whatever you do sends signal. Most of these artistes don’t know that they are seen as role models.
    Kunle, thanks for this article. I hope others will learn from this and imbibe enterpreneural values so that they will not depend solely on record sales.

  3. LITTLE P Says:

    oh my God ,when are we going to start the koko 101 thats the course code isnt it?

  4. asuku oluwakemi Says:

    Looking at D banj closely, one will see that behind d sexy physique and sexy lyrics there is also a kind heart. the type that loves to reach out to the needy. if only others can follow his footpath and give back to d society dt made dem who they are, rather than using there stardom to have fun and fun only. keep up the good work brother and kokolets will keep on loving you.

  5. sly egweni Says:

    why not me! why not me God!! i scream out every day.
    kunle thumbs up for this beautiful write up. i like it.
    as for dbanj, God no doubt has blessed him way above his contemporaries, you wil no doubt agree with me if you were reading this article and at the same listening to his new album ‘the entertainer’.
    my prayer for him is dat God should continue to bless him and lift him higher as it appears to be his destiny to be famous and wealthy.
    he’s got the energy and ofcourse the charismer which he’s obviously using well.
    Not forgetting the man behind the scene. DON BABA JAY. truely, you are the son of your father.
    im not an ibo man but i can tell when an ibo man is involved in a venture.
    truely dis man is the igwe! igadi o………………….

  6. emelie asomugha Says:

    man i dont know why some people have the guts to criticize others, dbanj is an examplary artiste simply too good. if you are not rich and you cant sing, hide your shame by emulating those who have the money and the talent. i have a lot of interest in the music industry and i am working on my first album and i hope it would be good. but as for now give respect to whom respect is due, dbanj is the greatest.

  7. Oluwaseun Says:

    Well, well, well, i think you’ve all spoken but i like to add that, 2Face is da bomb. Dbanj? i like him but he is a Local artiste while 2face is an international artiste. We shd appreciate his effort for making nigerian music proud.

    1love, No shaking, God dey our side.

  8. D banj baba, u are the bombbbb. This article really shows that heard work and beeing yourself leads to a great success. D banj make you dey let dem know say NO LONG THING FOR THOSE GIRLS SOMETHING.

  9. I think you are very sick for calling Dbanj a local artist..What is the meaning of that…….Dbanj even had fame than 2 face…Now lets talk about endorsement and money

  10. I will like to appraise each and everyone in the Nigeria music industry.Its very easy to passive that Nigeria music industry is getting to the top….I pray that the Lord Almighty will up hold the artists and bless them abundantly…

  11. Who ever said dbanj was local has a problem, he won the mtv best african act. Also he is going to like he said be the african m. jackson.

  12. Festus Young Says:

    I need a nice girl and who is god fearing and should be Edo girl I love Dbanj anyway.

  13. Festus Young Says:

    I need a nice girl and who is god fearing and should be Edo girl I love Dbanj anyway. 08060076612

  14. i really luv d banj and wuld like 2 blow like him some day.GOD help me make my dream cme tru,through dapo oyebanjo AMEN



  16. ha is great but still searching cos am a god fearing girl i dont need 2 expose ma self im a student 08139235862 i need a serious minded guy i base everywhere


    hi…….Dbanj is 2 intelligent.very soon,he will emerg the richest musician in 9JA………….I love him passionately

  18. Yes, I am the offshore promoter that has scammed people in the past and provided client records to the FBI, IRS and Senate Finance Committee. My companies, of Rockford Global Solutions and Equity Development Group were put in place to soley to capture people trying to flee the U.S. tax system. I am sorry for what I have done and those I have hurt.

  19. adedoyin oyebanjo Says:

    ilove d banji

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