YC Exclusive

Don Jazzy deserves a standing ovation from all of us

June 12, 2018

author:

Don Jazzy deserves a standing ovation from all of us

Don Jazzy remains one of the most prominent producers ever to emerge from Africa. We have enjoyed the impact one man has had on the music landscape for more than a decade. Don Jazzy whose full name is Micheal Collins Enebeli is a rare gem Nigeria needs to be proud of. His rod that shows power and class says everything.

DonJazzy’s Childhood and early career

DonJazzy grew up in a family that is musically oriented. His dad was a lover of good music and more so Don Jazzy had access to musical instruments especially from the church. Don Jazzy has always been his nickname since his secondary school days. After finishing his studies at Ambrose Ali University he went to the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures. In 2000, DonJazzy worked as a security guard at a particular restaurant — McDonalds– before getting the opportunity to play at Bars.

During his stint as a security guard, Don Jazzy remained contented, realistic and committed. Becuase he kept playing without asserting too much on making money, someone finally saw him and brought him to play for Solek crew band. He played keyboard and other instruments for the crew. The crew was disbanded and Don Jazzy was left without a crew to play for.

JJC AND 419 Squad

JJC

The popular Kas was a DJ for the then JJC crew and had met Don Jazzy playing before for the Solek crew. He introduced Don Jazzy to the JJC crew members, Don Jazzy showed what he was made about. All this happened in the United Kingdom. In a short while, they became the biggest crew of musicians at that time. They went for shows and sang their hit songs everywhere they could.


Suggested Read: The brawl between Don Jazzy, Dbanj and JJC


How Dbanj came to the picture

Don Jazzy and D Banj

Dbanj was a friend of the crew and used to do hype man for the crew before they perform. He was the “joker” who cracked everyone up with his jokes on their way to shows. Dbanj exhibited a lot of energy and this endeared the group to the young mastero. Eventually, the JJC crew fell apart and Dbanj and DonJazzy decided to come back to Nigeria. In the process of doing that Dbanj came with the proposition to partner with DonJazzy to start a new crew.

Mohits, the beginning

Don Jazzy considered Dbanj’s proposition but wondered what talent Dbanj had to partner with him. He could not sing nor rap but had the energy of an entertainer. He could also play the mouth organ very well. DonJazzy decided to take the leap and come back home with Dbanj. They finally started Mohits which became a raving sensation in 2004 with hit songs like Why me,  Rundown, No long thing, among others. No wonder the first album under the Mohits label was titled, Entertainer. Dbanj came with an energy and style that we had never seen in the music industry.

The lyrics were relatable and the beats produced by Don Jazzy were worth shaking your body and dancing to. The music landscape then was very competitive as hit singles were not enough to get you trending, you had to sell albums. So all the songs on your album had to be hit songs. Unlike now when artiste shies away from albums, albums were what set real artists from newcomers back then.

The addition of more crew members

Mohits Crew

The addition of new crew members was just a function of bringing family members on board. DonJazzy’s brother D’Prince joined Mohits and Kswitch who was Dbanj’s blood brother as well joined the crew. Back then the Mohits crew had a rival, Storm records which was managed by Obi Asika.

Eventually, due to the addition of new members and the expensive marketing strategy used by the Mohits crew, they ran out of cash eventually. They offered to sell the Mohits brand to Obi Asika for just a million naira. Unfortunately, the deal did not pull through. Just weeks after, the Mohits crew signed a deal of 20 million naira.

The biggest endorsement deal signed by anybody in the music industry at that time. Everyone was happy, the time had come to make things happen for them. Artistes from Storm records came calling, one to note was Ikechukwu. Wande Coal joined the crew and things started falling to place with hit songs been released back to back. In the midst of all this, Don Jazzy hardly said a word, he was always at the background cooking the beats.

The meetup with Kanye west in 2010

Dbanj and Kanye

Since 2004 when DonJazzy started Mohits crew with Dbanj, they only kept getting bigger and bigger with hit songs that got everyone dancing through the nights. They finally became the biggest sensation out of Nigeria and were called for shows everywhere. On one of such trips to Dubai, Dbanj caught up with KanyWest and showed him some of their finished works. One, in particular, was the Remix of Endowed with Snoop Dog. Kanye asked that they see him whenever they come around to the United States.

The vision changed

The visit with KanyeWest changed everything and clouded Dbanj’s mind. The incident was narrated to Don Jazzy back home and he got excited that their work of art could be appreciated by a “Kanye West”. Dbanj’s dream was to get African music especially Nigerian music all over the world. Don Jazzy and Dbanj packed their bags for the US soon after, in search for validation of the west. DonJazzy started producing beats for KanyeWest and Jay Z among others. During this period they neglected the rest of the crew in Nigeria.


Suggest Read: Dbanj’s music career got damaged by KanyeWest


Eventually Don Jazzy started to wonder if their mission to export Nigerian/African to the world was feasible especially with their lavish lifestyle. However, Dbanj felt otherwise and that all their action and inaction will pave way someone. To DonJazzy it felt like he was literally an employee to these foreign guys. Let’s forget that Don Jazzy remains a man who is content and easy going, he saw no need to get the validation of the west.

The west will finally come and see what we are cooking in Africa. Don Jazzy decided to pack his bag and come back to Nigeria after the six months he gave Dbanj had elapsed. This was the end of the Mohits crew and Don Jazzy transferred every track ever sang by Dbanj to him in honour of their friendship. Both parties parted ways due to different visions.

The birth of Mavin Dynasty (SMD)

Don Jazzy started Mavin Dynasty with a simple mission to showcase new talents and bring them forth to the center stage. Don Jazzy prides in the fact that he works with people we can regard as talentless people but brings out the best in them. Don Jazzy had to come out from his cocoon, he had to grant interviews, speak more on social media. He had to push a brand and quality music wasn’t enough to do that. Don Jazzy is a type of person who is always looking for new wave and feeling from time to time.

That answers the question of how he has been able to remain in the industry for more than a decade and never got old in the game. Don Jazzy is the only producer who remains relevant from his days, how he has managed to that remains a mystery. He doesn’t have any official song to his name yet.

He has continually invested in other people and given all his resources to bring the best out of others. How do you explain the case of Reekado Banks, Dija, Korede Bello, Dr Sid and the rest, who have hit songs to their names with inputs from Don Jazzy. Dbanj has so many lessons to teach generations yet to emerge Nigeria.

Don Jazzy definitely can’t be forgotten in the music industry forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Comments

I am pursuing my greatest passion at YC: thinking and writing about interesting stuff. I am curious about young Nigerians across the globe, entrepreneurship and youth culture.