Following our earlier feature on Mo’Hits’ rise to the top, Don Jazzy speaks further on Mo’ Hits rise to the top, how D’banj met Kanye West, why he doesn’t like signing good rappers to his label and many more.
The text of the interview below via Hip Hop World:
So the collaboration between D’Banj and Snoop Dogg, how do you feel being part of this landmark achievement because it is the first of its kind
Well, it’s not really first of its kind, we follow other people’s footsteps; it’s not like we just decided that we are going to do it. We have collaborations with other African artistes but they have not been released, they are supposed to be coming out. So maybe because of some reasons, we have not released them. God just placed us in a position where we met someone that could actually hook us with Snoop Dogg to have a collaboration and we did it. But it’s not like we are the first to do it; Sound sultan had done it with Wyclef, Tuface had done it with Beenie Man, R Kelly/ Mary J Blige, The Pulse with Busta Rhymes. So it’s not like we are the first people that did it. We followed the line. Normally in Nigerian music industry, we usually used to wait for Tuface to do something, then we follow. It’s the truth, he is at the forefront, he is our leader,so once Tuface goes, we will go there.
Like the Tuface concert, did you plan your concert before then?
That one is a different ball game but obviously he now did a concert; Tuface and friends but I don’t know if it is an annual thing. But Koko Concert is just something that we just thought of doing, where we just showcase everybody in Mo’Hits Records.
Can you take us through the G.O.O.D Music deal from how you guys met Kanye West?
Okay the story is going to be too long and I am sure D’Banj would have told this story more the fifty times, so there is no need to be talking about it. I will just give you the short version; D’Banj travelled to Dubai, at Dubai airport he met Kanye West just like anybody can meet any superstar at the airport. He had the courage to go and meet him and introduce himself and that he wants to break into America and that he has done a song with Snoop Dogg and please listen to the song and tell me if it is good. And he understood and he listened to it and he liked it. And he asked us to drop by New York when we were going to LA for the video shoot with Snoop. So when we got to New York, we called them and his manager said we should meet up at Wyclef’s studio and the rest is history.
So what has family life been for you since you have been shuttling to and fro, your parents and so on?
I am still living my parents’ life as agbaya like me, I am not married. And when I say agbaya, I don’t mean I am 35, I will be 29 in November. My parents are in Dublin and London, they move around. I have three other siblings, two boys and a girl. D’Prince decided to follow me from when I left London so he has been here. My immediate younger brother, James, I opened up a club for him in London but he ran into some problems so we sold the place to somebody else. And I decided to bring him down here because I intend to open up some clubs.
So talking about family, on Twitter people ask a lot of questions about Enebeli Elebuwa being your father
I have said this thing one billion times; Enebeli Elebuwa is not my father. He is my father’s friend, he was actually present at the wedding, I think he was MC, he and Sam Loco Efe RIP. He is not my father.
So P-Square recently made comments at the Afrobeats Festival in London that they don’t need Kanye West and Jay-Z, how do you feel about this?
They are lying because I watched the interview and P-Square did not open their mouth to mention Kanye West and Jay-Z. It was DJ Abrante that made that statement but it doesn’t really matter. Truly, they might not need Kanye West and Jay-Z to break into America; I need them to break into America. It’s not easy, even with Kanye West being on the songs, how are you sure that you are going to break into America. Everything is still trial and error, if we try and they accept us; fine, if they don’t, we carry our load and come back here and be king, it doesn’t matter. So that one is not a problem, they were expressing themselves, it’s fine. I think they are extra talented, they can sing, they can dance, they can match up to Usher so maybe truly they do not need Kanye West or Jay-Z to break into America. But they didn’t say that.
As the owner of your own record label, would you say you have been subjective when it comes to the D’Prince seeing as he is your younger brother, would you sometimes play favourites with him?
Yes and no. The way we do albums in Mo’Hits Records is quite organised and not organised in a way. If we say that we are working on D’Banj’s album, everybody goes into the studio and we vibe and whatever tracks that come out at that period of time is for D’Banj. Immediately we finish that one and I say that next is Wande Coal, we now start creating beats for Wande Coal’s album or what beats are left out from the ones we did when we were doing D’Banj’s album, we put that together. Everyone comes in and throws in their thoughts and when we finish Wande Coal’s album, next is Dr Sid. So when it comes to D’Prince, I think what happened, is that people say that especially with “Give It To Me” that I added extra ginger. It’s a lie. My work grows, I am not stagnant. I am training and learning everyday as it goes, that s why if you listen to D’Banj’s Entertainer album and you listen to Wande Coal’s M2M album, there are new things that I have learnt, maybe in the studio. And if you listen to Dr Sid’s album, there are some classics on that album and it also depends on the vibe in the room or whoever I am working with, it depends on how creative you are. I listen to what I know that you can deliver on when you sing itt, it sounds like you. Like the “Give It To Me” beat I don’t see Asa singing to it. So the beat just looks like him so I gave it to him and because he is in session anyway, it’s his time that we are working. So there is no yes. But the problem is that he doesn’t really have to bother as in the artiste side of Prince is not a serious thing.
But as a producer, you have done beats for other people outside Mo’Hits, I remember “Stroke Me”
Yeah, “Stroke Me” by Dare.
How many others like that have you done?
I have done for Saucekid; “Under G”, “Ijoya” by Weird MC, Kween’s “Jebele”, Ikechukwu’s “Wind Am Well” because he was in Storm Records at that time
A lot of people have spoken about first lady of Mo’Hits family. Is that coming soon?
I am actually doing a couple of test runs on the internet at the moment. I’m gonna do my talent search but I want to do it very different from the ones that everyone has been doing, so I am doing one competition at the moment, the “Oliver Twist” competition. It’s all a test run for how I intend to do my search for Mo’Hits Records’ first lady. Because I want everybody to be involved, I want the list of people that come in to audition to be from Nigerians in the Diaspora and those here. So everybody will have the opportunity to participate first from the internet. I am creating a website where people would go there with any talent that has to do with entertainment. You will have just one minute, if you sing, you sing; if you rap, you rap; if you play the drums, you play the drums; if you play the guitar, you do that, if you know how to choreograph, you get a bunch of dancers and teach them how to dance and make a video, sha one minute and start from there. Its gonna run full length for like six months and but on the internet, it is gonna run for three months first before they now go into Koko Mansion. We will pick from the internet, the one that are going to go into Koko Mansion and the ones that are not in Nigeria, we fly them in from wherever they are into the Mansion until it gets won. Because I cant pick my first lady by myself, everybody has to do it for us because we have wasted time already
It has been rumoured that one established artiste would be the first lady
It would be very dumb for me to do that actually. The backlash would be very bad, people would rubbish the person with mouth so let me just allow them to pick for us.
So does Don Jazzy have anything against classic rappers in the sense of it because every artiste on Mo’Hits can flirt with any star, like Dr Sid used to d0 somewhat mainstream rap and D’Prince is also somewhat a rapper but he tends to play with it. Is it that you don’t like to sign rappers in that mould?
Let me help you use the word that you are trying to use but you are just beating around the bush. You wanted to say wack but you didn’t want to say wack but it’s okay. Now, you can think of Mo’Hits Records as a charity organisation, I like to sign less privileged artistes that are not too good in their rap, in their singing. The people that can rap well, with metaphors and everything, I think they stand a better chance of getting a record deal with any other record label. If you look at the record label sef, it is only Dr Sid that is not really family but now we are all family, whether you like it or not. D’Prince na my brother, K-Switch na D”Banj brother, Wande Coal, we go the same school; his mother was my teacher, so we are pretty much one little family like that. So those really good rappers, if they go to Storm, they will accept them; if they go to Questionmark, they will accept them. So let me just be taking all these ones that can’t really rap, it’s okay. As long as we sell records and feed our family, we are fine. Nobody is complaining.
Check out Hip Hop World’s video interview with Don Jazzy below. Let us know what you think! You can also read our previous posts on: