Music Business

1 Reason Why Don Jazzy WINS Like Russell Simmons, With or Without D’Banj

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I read with amusement an article titled “No Mo’Hits, 10 Reasons It’s Don Jazzy who will Lose the Most” by Chi Ibe a YNaija writer. The article, I felt, spent more time outlining the end of Don Jazzy without D’Banj. It was sort of like Don Jazzy’s natural music capabilities, accomplishments and success had been amputated all because of his fall out with D’Banj.I found it amusing but I also felt it underscores why I started this blog; and why I am determined to stay true to my voice, as always, and to call out the the mental slavery that I believe Africans and especially Nigerian people have, especially where it comes to business. We gotta beat that nonsense out of our psychic and system, beat it out like a “drummer boy.”

One simple yet resounding reason why Don Jazzy will WIN, excel, have his jersey retired like Michael Jordan in Nigeria and Africa’s music hall of fame is so obvious it is like “duh?” Folks, it is very simple. Don Jazzy is an entrepreneur. (Full stop. Period.) Don Jazzy is not just an entrepreneur but a successful entrepreneur with a solid track record to show it.

It is crazy how we forget things. As an entrepreneur, Don Jazzy founded Mo’Hits. As an entrepreneur, Don Jazzy identified the talent D’Banj, among others, that he signed to Mo’Hits. As an entrepreneur, Don Jazzy harnessed the talents under his label Mo’Hits. As an entrepreneur, Don Jazzy created a sound, image etc. that not only had cross over appeal across the continent but catapulted his artists, his personal brand and his corporate brand to a global level. As an entrepreneur, Don Jazzy effectively branded his personal brand “It’s Don Jazzy Again”  (IDJA), a very unique and pioneering way in the music industry both in the USA and across the globe. Most record labels have their artists shout out their corporate brands. Not Don Jazzy. For a long time to come, no one, so long as Mo’Hits music is played, will ever forget Don Jazzy. Almost every song was IDJA branded. Okay, so Mo’Hits dissolves but the  personal branding “IDJA” is etched in the minds of all. Now what? It doesn’t get more brilliant than that.

The entrepreneur, the creator, the visionary can and will always reinvent himself or herself. Across all spectrum in science, law, technology, music, fashion, film etc. it is the same thing over and over and over again: Russell Simmons, Steve Jobs (RIP) the list goes on of so many success stories.

Folks, entrepreneurs do not lose their gifts/talents and vision because they lose artists or business partners or even have greedy shareholders (think Steve Jobs) who kick them out of their companies. They did not go into business just to turn a profit. They went/go into business because they are compelled to do so. They identified a need i.e. problem in the marketplace and they came up with a solution or solutions to address the need for thousands and millions. Don Jazzy has done that under the label Mo’Hits. He created Mo’Hits and found the talents to make the name global. To limit our thinking to be so small minded, just because he terminates a relationship with his artist turned co-owner, is to truly exhibit that mental slavery that I began this post with.

Indeed, while today the buzz word in Nigeria is “entrepreneur this” and “entrepreneur that,” the truth of the matter is that many truly believe that if you are not working for someone, you have not made it. If Don Jazzy does not work with D’Banj who supposedly has a more lucrative deal with Kanye West’s GOOD Music than Don Jazzy, then he hasn’t quite made it or will not without D’Banj. *Sigh.* People can we quit with the ridiculousness? Also, please visit my site fashionentlaw.com, enter D’Banj in the search box and see my analysis on the G.O.O.D Music deal. It is not all that it is cracked up to be, best believe that.

Bottom line, the 1 reason why Don Jazzy wins and will continue to win like Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Record label and many more like Simmons, is simple. He is an entrepreneur, a successful one at that. He has done it before, he will do it again, with or without D’Banj.

-Uduak

Watch Steve Jobs to Get An Idea How True Serial Entrepreneurs Think Even When They Take a Hit

  “No Mo’Hits, 10 Reasons It’s Don Jazzy who will Lose the Most”

     -Chi Ibe

Okay, first let me say I am firmly #TeamDonJazzy. Well, not really. I am #TeamMoHits. But if (perhaps, when?) D’banj and Don Jazzy do finally – officially – break up, I am unquestionably #TeamDonJazzy. So, understandably, now that he is being played as the underdog in the unfolding drama over a rumoured split, I find myself taking his side.

But that’s just emotions. When it comes down to the cold, hard numbers – who stands to lose the most if the two partners split? I say Don Jazzy, and I have my reasons below.

1.        Dbanj has Kanye (at least as far as the eyes can see)

Going by the release of today’s Oliver Twist, we are at least certain that D’banj is still in cahoots with the almighty, Kanye West. Do you really think he can lose with the mystique and power of Kanye behind him – will Kanye allow his latest African experiment fail? I doubt it seriously.

2.      D’banj is the performer

People always forget that the love that fans have for performers is strong even if the performers screw up – reference everyone from Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston. Check this out – 9ice allegedly cheated on his wife, betrayed the friend that discovered him and abandoned his producer, but do his fans love him less? Hell no. The day after the disastrous Sahara Reporters interview, did D’banj have a sold out concert in New York no matter what anyone, including YNaija  said? Hell yeah! Morale? As long as he continues to give the public the ‘Koko’, it is fine – and D’banj has it.

3.      Don Jazzy’s losing it

Don Jazzy’s biggest power is his mystique. Over the past three months it has steadily gone. There is that weird interview with Genevieve magazine, there’s the even weirder interview with Hip Hop World Magazine,where he appeared to diss rappers and then ran to his website to give a watery apology. Then there was his limpy Jonathan repudiation and his When-I-speak-they-read-it-in-Aso-Rock nonsense. Then there’s the fact that he is attending too many events, and worse off: that forgettable live performance with Tiwa Savage. Don Jazzy, backing up Tiwa?! Without D’banj by his side in any of these – the superstar power from which he feeds off – Don Jazzy has only been diminished.

4. Dbanj is also an astute businessman

The big mistake we’ve made is to stereotype D’banj. We’ve always assumed he is the entertainer and Don Jazzy is the entrepreneur, but is that truly the case? No. Insiders will tell you that just the same way Don Jazzy has multitasked as Producer-and-Businessman, D’banj has also multitasked as Performer-and-Businessman. It’s a mistake people also make with Chocolate City and EME where they think MI and Banky don’t know the business. Not true. Those guys get the business – and D’banj is no pushover.

5.      Was Don Jazzy really the boss?

So yes, in the public eye, every time D’banj wanted to say something, he had to first have Don Jazzy whisper into his ears, so he just had to be Don Jazzy’s boy, right? Oh please. Do you really think Don Jazzy was telling him anything they hadn’t already discussed and rehearsed at home? It’s show-business! It’s an act! D’banj wasn’t Don Jazzy’s boy – they were business partners. Just because he held the microphone to his crotch every chance he gets doesn’t make him dumb.

6.      Get off the stage!

I know I have mentioned this before – but still, why is Don Jazzy diluting his brand by performing? And why was he backing up Tiwa Savage? No one began to admire him because of his performance; we admired him exactly because he did not perform. He doesn’t dress well, doesn’t speak well, has a croaky voice and frankly isn’t easy on the eye. He needs to go back to the background fast. Seriously. . .”

YNaija has the full story.

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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5 Comments

  1. Bunmi says:

    Wrong Analysis I must say.

    You seem to have a soft spot for Don Jazzy (*like most Nigerians do).

    Don Jazzy founded ‘IDJA’? Nope! It was D’banj that scream that on all those tracks so I’ll say D’banj blessed him with the name then.

    Don Jazzy was in the UK and learnt beatmaking from JJC (Mr Skillz) and Kas (fimile baby). D’banj was discovering himself then. they hooked up and the chemistry came naturally. They should both be equally credited for creating the Mo’Hits brand.

    Mega props should be given to Sunday Are who fought tooth and nail at backstages to put these boys on when they got back to Nigeria and were basically nobodies…

    So what if Don Jazzy did those banging beats? Who sang them? Wande Coal wrote most of D’banj’s songs after his debut album ‘No Long thing’. It was a collective move.

    As for who is with Kanye West, we can’t speak to soon as we do not really know who is/was signed. Some say it was only Don Jazzy for a production deal and that D’banj has paid N400m hence his features in NY Times et al.

    The problem with Don Jazzy that i fear is that he has de-mystified himself when he started granting interviews and all. however, if he sticks with the right team then ok.

    1. @Bunmi- LoL! You made my evening. Lol! I have had emails saying I absolutely “hate” Don Jazzy and here you are saying I seem to have a “soft spot.” Lol!. Truthfully, I don’t even think a discussion on who loses out the most is necessary. The writer wrote his/her point, it was creating such huge buzz and I approached strictly from an angle that to me is relevant. Substitute Don Jazzy for any other successful entrepreneur within or outside Nigeria and my reasoning would most likely be the same.

      Thanks for the comment.

      -Uduak

  2. Thank you…pple seem to be shortsighted these days, they forget Don Jazzy had a journey on which he learned so much, from being an understudy of JJC to background instrumentalist of Muma Gee..to It’s Don Jazz Again…long before this Kanye signing, I said it would not be long before these American artists/producers would start sampling Don Jazzy, 2 years after that, he has production credit on Watch The Throne. If I were to pick sides which I wouldn’t because I want both parties to succeed, my money would be on Don Jazzy…He knows the people…very well.

    1. @IamEbixx – My “personal person” (AML person that is), good to see you back! Long time no see, no debate, no talk on AML. BIG SMILE. I enjoy the dissenting opinions. You will have to give me a bit more of that. Lol! It appears we are on the same page on this.

      Thanks for the comment. Have a great day.

      Cheers,
      Uduak

  3. I read everything You write on Dbanj and I can say You dont like Him… Lets wait and see Who will win but I believe both of them have much to lose. Donjazzy is not God.

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