Our Man Crush Monday is a very popular person and his revered to for his music exploits. He is a pioneer of African music wonder on the global mainstream. He is a game changer and dares for more. He is a musician, singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and television personality. It wasn’t an easy ride for him, having to fight for what he wanted for himself over his parents wish.
He was actually nurtured by a father who was a military officer and wanted that he pursued a military career. Born in Zaria – Kaduna, Nigeria in 1980 and was enrolled at the age of 11 to Nigeria Military School. He was a member of the elite drum corps of the Nigerian Army. From the Nigerian Military School, he proceeded to another military owned institution Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta where he was a church worker. There he completed his secondary school education.
A turning point in his life was when he lost his elder brother to an air crash. From his brother luggage, he took the harmonica amongst his belonging. The harmonica became a unique selling point during the start of his music career. In pursuing his education, he got admission into the Lagos State University to study Mechanical Engineering but had to drop out because of the incessant strikes and several irregularities. He later moved to the UK in 2001 where he met Don Jazzy. While D’banj was attending studio, he had a side hustle where he worked as a security guard to make ends meet.
The two became one of African music duo and started with ‘Tongolo’, the music video was financed by D’banj mother. That was the start of Mo’Hits and her dominance of Nigeria and Africa music. The two-man crew starting as a duo and later had the likes of D’Prince, Wande Coal, Dr Sid and Kay-Switch, it was powerhouse music team. D’banj style of music is a fusion of Afrobeat and Afropop and mostly convey in English, Yoruba and Nigerian pidgin-English.
In 2005, he made his first album, ‘No Long Thing’ which popularised his Kokomaster persona and was successful. He released another successful album, ‘Rundown Funk U Up’ the following year. It was followed by Curriculum Vitae and The Entertainer in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The curriculum vitae was somewhat a resume of the Mo’Hit Records where all of the artistes had their songs and musical input therein. After much achievements, in 2010, he parted ways with Don Jazzy.
In June 2011, it was confirmed that D’banj had signed to Kanye West’s GOOD MUSIC which lasted for five years. The same year, he parted ways with Don Jazzy which led to the breakup of Mo’ Hits. In 2012, he signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment Africa, it was a big step in his career and courtesy to his ‘Oliver Twist’ recording breaking hit.
The kokomaster did a lot of great things outside music, he seems to take after his mother’s business dexterity. He is an entrepreneur, social activist and skilled businessman. With D’banj’s first album came his first endorsement from an energy drink called Power Fist. In May and November 2013, D’banj was named the Bank of Industry (BOI) ambassador and re-signed a multi-million Naira deal with Globacom. In June 2014 D’Banj Secures Deal With Heritage Bank.
In October 2014, D’banj was named the official African ambassador for Beats by Dre. In February 2015, D’banj was named the official African ambassador for Ciroc Nigeria. In an exclusive story on Tush Magazine Issue 11, Banky W and Dbanj shed more lights on how they became Ciroc Ambassadors. In September 2015, D’banj was made the brand ambassador of SLOT, a popular mobile phone, and electronic gadget retail outfit. This is 2018 and Dbanj is still now among the richest Hip-Hop artists in Nigeria.
D’banj is the founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is also Nigeria’s first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. Dbanj is a ONE campaign ambassador; he released the song “Cocoa Na Chocolate” in support of agriculture investments. ‘Cocoa Na Chocolate’ featured 18 other African artists and won Best African Collaboration at the All Africa Music Awards in 2014.
In 2015, he was applauded by World Bank Chief, Jim Yong Kim for using his music power and high celebrity status to bringing attention to serious and critical issues in Africa with a special focus on agriculture and poverty alleviation. Jim Yong Kim was quoted saying that “I had the pleasure of meeting D’banj last month and seeing him perform. I’m thrilled he is the first artists to take part in our new Music4Dev series encouraging global artist to raise awareness about poverty and related issues.”
In 2015 D’banj released the video to “Extraordinary” to raise awareness on gender equality and women’s empowerment. World bank endorsed song as a song for women awareness. D’Banj is vastly immersed in the information technology, particularly in the areas of value-added services and Content digital distribution. He owns MCOMM Ltd (Median Mobile Communications Limited, A Value Added Service Content Provider) and D’ Kings Men Media Limited (a 360 Media Company), which are responsible for his major digital moves in recent times.
In August 2016, D’banj’s D’Kings Men Media partnered with MTN Nigeria and the Bank of Industry to launch THE CREAM PLATFORM, a creative talent platform that was set up to help discover young creative minds across Nigeria by just dialling a USSD code on a mobile phone. It is reported that the platform, as at December 2016, had over 2 million paying subscribers and has discovered hundreds of talents from the music category alone, with tens of music videos and millions of Naira given out to winners.
In August 2017, He released the album titled King Don Come. It features from the likes of Gucci Mane, Wande Coal, Harry Songs etc. The album includes singles ‘It’s Not A Lie’, ‘El Chapo as well as his 2012 mega-hit ‘Oliver Twist’.
Cheers to a Pacesetter, D’banj also referred to as Eja Nla, is Our Man Crush Monday, today.