I wanted to die day Faze gave me 500 naira at a show ― D’banj

When it comes to achievements and impact on the Nigerian music scene and beyond, not many can rival the portfolio of iconic musician, D’banj who is less popular as Oladapo Oyebanjo.

From breaking away from Don Jazzy’s Mohits to floating a solo career, the Kokomaster as many him has had his fair share of the good and bad sides of fame.

When the singer lost his son, who got drowned in a pool two years ago, many feared his career was over as he would later reveal that it was a dark moment for not just his family, but career.

Having shrugged off the toga of bereavement, D’banj and his wife welcomed another child last year and it seemed the singer’s career returned to the fore front where it had always been.

The award-winning musician and entertainer who celebrates 40 years in age has had a glittering career with plaques home and abroad, mega endorsement deals and a cult following to mention, but a few to show for it.

Kokomaster, who is regarded by fans and music lovers alike as one of the pioneers of modern hip-hop, has no less than four studio albums to his credit and in an interview with Joey Akan monitored by Tribuneonline spoke on his journey to stardom and the challenge of sustaining the limelight.

On the defining moment of his career, the Fall in love crooner, whose peak period is put by critics to be between mid-2000s and early 2010s, gave credit to a former member of the defunct group, Plantashun Boiz, for keeping him going when it was tough.

“There was a show at Maryland. And the biggest artists that came to perform were Olu Maintain and Plantashun Boiz, and I played ‘Redemption Song’ with my mouth organ.

“Faze saw me and just held me. And he said ‘hey, you’re the one that played that harmonica right? That’s a spiritual instrument. Hold it, it’s very good. Let me give you something.’ I think he gave me like 500 naira. I wanted to die. See ehn, now that day was pivotal for me. That day, I got the hope I needed in my life, and so I just went on about it.”

Many regard ‘The Entertainer’ album as one which cemented D’banj’s legacy as a musical great and further elevated the growing stature of African music and the artiste agrees that it is one of the biggest all-round albums that the trend for Africa.

“The ‘Entertainer’ album is probably one of the biggest albums that set the trend for Africa generally to have a body of work. Having it is like having Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album.

“And the way everything was arranged, we had the one that would attend to love: ‘Fall in Love.’ We had the one that’d attend to the church ‘Olorun Maje.’ We had the one that attended to the Igbo people, Igwe.’ And then you had ‘Mo Gbono Feli Feli’ that attended to the youths,” D’banj added.

The artiste also revealed that he had a collaboration with Femi Kuti in the offing and fans should expect an Afrobeat classic as he looks forward to another decade.


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