Industry News: D’Banj to Launch his own Label DKM Records, Whatever Happened to D’Banj’s Island Def Jam Africa?

The latest news on D’Banj is that he has launched a new label called DKM Records.

“DKM stands for D’Koko Master Records and Kayswitch (his brother) is the only artiste signed to the record label for now. Heard a few more artistes will be unveiled in the coming months.

D’Koko Master Records will be officially launched in Lagos at a concert that will feature D’banj, Kayswitch and other DKM artists.” – Linda Ikeji

Frankly people, I really don’t know what to say than to ask, what ever happened to the so called Island Def Jam Africa D’Banj was to launch/ bring to Africa and head in Nigeria? I am not even sure congratulating him makes sense at this time . . .

Here are my thoughts:

First, D’Banj, with all due respect, is confused. He seriously needs a break from it all. So much has happened in the past six months (nasty split with his business partner Don Jazzy of over a decade), he needs the room to breathe. The music can wait. Oliver Twist while #9 in the UK, is yet to even show face here in the States. The only face D’Banj has shown is a funky look jumping around like a stereotypical crazy African in Kanye West’s ‘Mercy’ video. He jumped on Rick Ross’s track and it was a joke compared to what P-Square did or any artist for that matter of his caliber should do when collaborating with other artists, I don’t care how famous they are. You are not their side kick. You are D’Banj.

Also, DKM records website has just a banner placement saying DKM Records with a day of May 13th and an email. For a well established artist and business man, this is unacceptable.

Again, as I have said before, it makes no logical sense why D’Banj appears willing to loose his core fan base in Nigeria only to operate on a level that is rather embarrassing all in the name of making it big in America. Times have changed and I hold the strong view that African acts can compete with Americans, both on US and African soil, without loosing self or sacrificing all of their hard end monies and work.

Second, I mentioned this when I discussed the P-Square & Rick Ross collaboration. I do not understand the economics and ROI made by D’Banj in expending as much money as he has in paying other artist and funding most of his time in the USA, UK (accommodations, travels, so called deal makings etc). I keep asking where the real return on investment is? I’d like to hear for a change, news of people making him money, not the other way around. It seems he has not fully thought it through on the “how” of getting to his ultimate goal of becoming a household global Nigerian brand. Worse, he appears to be weakening his personal and corporate brand as he goes along. Again, he needs a timeout.

Finally, if there is one thing I detest in industry business, it has to be Nigerian artists and labels jumping on any new US/Western (includes African and Nigerians in the West)band wagon that perambulates that they are the next big thing since slice bread without doing the necessary research. Here, D’Banj was not letting us hear word with his Island Def Jam Africa. Now what? The truth is Def Jam Africa has not shown any initiative to let us know that D’Banj is trying to bring them to Africa, neither has D’Banj except for his claims.

Island Def Jam Africa has had a weak blogspot home at best. They also have a facebook page that say they are a community of artists running the label. Their twitter page says it is managed by “a group of African-Americans.”  This notice has been up for a long time now, way before the Don Jazzy and D’Banj split. It is confusing, at best. So, now that D’Banj launches DKM Records, I gotta ask, what happened to Island Def Jam Africa? Don’t answer D’Banj. Just ease off on the noise, take your break, clear your head, think things through, return and make things happen.


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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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