Born Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, on June 9, 1980 in Zaria, Nigeria, D’Banj grew up in a family culture and environment that was unhelpful for his music aspirations. His father was a military general and his mother was a businesswoman. It must have been fated for D’Banj to become a musician given the rather strict household he grew up in. This household, as one can probably guess given the professions of his parents, did not encourage music as a career path. Constantly pushing him to pursue a more practical career, his parents enrolled him in Military school a couple of times before he actually finished high school.[1]

D’Banj’s first musical inspiration came from “his late older brother Femi, who died in a plane crash at age 17.”[1] The first instrument D’Banj learned to play was his brother’s harmonica which he kept after his brother died. D’Banj ended up in London after withdrawing from Lagos State University. It was in London where he met DJ Don Jazzy who was the first to see D’Banj’s potential. This was in 2001. Ten years and three albums later D’Banj’s Afrobeat/Afropop music would garner the support and attention of the American music star, Kanye West who signed D’Banj and Don Jazzy to his music label, known as G.O.O.D Music.[2] Some of D’Banj’s most notable songs include All Da Way and Oliver Twist. He was also very involved in the famous G.O.O.D Music, collaborative album entitled, Cruel Summer.

Unfortunately, in 2016, Don Jazzy and D’Banj’s group MO’Hits would break up and be released from G.O.O.D Music.

D’Banj with Kanye West

D’Banj’s musical career and accomplishment afforded him the ability to start the Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development in Nigeria as well as the C.R.E.A.M PLatform. The C.R.E.A.M Platform is a platform set up to make it easier for young artists in Nigeria to be discovered. As of 2016, there are 2 million paying subscribers to the site.[3] D’Banj’s struggles concerning his parents and getting discovered musically has given him a passion for helping younger artists in Nigeria. He has been very vocal in his passion for the betterment of his people in the country of Nigeria and was even invited to speak on America’s ABC News.

Although his music career in America is on the downswing, he continues to be a major artist, producer, and influencer in the Nigerian music industry while continuing to be involved in humanitarian work.

Works Cited

  1. BellaNaija.com, and About BellaNaija.comLiving & Celebrating the African Dream! Catch All the Scoop on Www.bellanaija.comFollow UsTwitter: @bellanaijaFacebook: @bellanaijaInstagram: @bellanaijaonline. “Winners Emerge from the CREAM Lottery Platform & Get Rewarded by D’banj.” BellaNaija. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
  2. Chandler, D.L. “Kanye West Signs Nigerian Acts D’Banj And Don Jazzy.” MTV News. N.p., 10 June 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
  3. “D’Banj.” DBanj Records Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

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