But why does this feel like a memorial, rather than the declaration of influence and power that it was meant to be?
Watching D’banj’s newly released visual felt like sitting in on a memorial service for a lost relative. Only this time, the subject of the wake-keeping is the sole organizer and chief participant of his memorial.
D’banj is a showman who understands gimmicks. He knows how to sneak in a song on radio. He understands that the difference between a wack song and a good one is in the chorus and the personnel that you can employ to work on it.
He has done it before when he recruited Snoop Dog for ‘Blame it on the money’. He found a way to entice Idris Elba on ‘Confidential’, a song that carries nothing in terms of artistic satisfaction, but has the power of Elba to spark it to life. It is this same man that dragged Amber Rose to Nigeria to celebrate his decade-long involvement in music.
That’s why D’banj is an entertainer. He understands all of these genius-level moves to get himself in conversations.
Importer, exporter…trickster, and owner of koko water.
He has done it again on new video ‘It’s not a lie’. This is his first single off his planned album “King Don Come,” and he is being represented as a king on this one. There are no big-name international stars to drive the conversation in the way that he cannot manage alone. D’banj has almost expended his international collaborations credit. It’s Wizkid and Davido’s turn now.
But trust D’banj. He is the Koko Master. The White Lion. And he can find new ways around this thing. No big stars? No problem. There’s Wande Coal and Harrysong. This music has to be done. People have to talk.
The topic this time is narcisstic. Wande Coal and Harrysong have the amazing honor of literally joining D’banj in his self-love.
Check out the first verse:
“My name is Dapo, they know me as D'Banj. From JJC for One Night Squad to Mo' Hits. The love was crazy, even Genene (Genevieve Nnaji) can say. Story story like 2 Face nobody old. New chapter, DKM, still D'Banj. Actor, emi ni, industry dey hear me. So much love, fans mi, ejanla. Actor, emi ni kon, industry dey fear me. So much love, fans eh fiile...”
That’s the first verse. He reads out his entire CV, just in case you have not paid enough attention to his achievements, or missed out on some of the best music stories of the past 10 years. There you go. Enjoy your crash course.
Harrysong and Wande Coal, like choristers, join in the praise and worship of the great D’banj. Harrysong supplies a hook like no other, affirming D’banj’s superiority, and Wande Coal does that thing with his voice; that irresistible flow that is both syrupy and immersive. But this time, he is paying lip service to Dapo. Dapo Oyebanjo.
The rest fall into place. Pressmen obsessed with D’banj’s fame, women sneaking into his rooms, the finest of alcohol on display, great cars, and amazing scenery. You heard that people, ‘It’s really not a lie’.
But why does this feel like a memorial, rather than the declaration of influence and power that it was meant to be? Why does it appear desperate and pushing a needless narrative that is at best a memory?
It’s because the D’banj they sang about and celebrated is not the D’banj in the visual. The old D’banj is who they brought on display. The guy who made the world quake, and sent fans fainting at the sight of his charming smile. The D’banj who had a chokehold on the windpipe of pop music.
That’s not the D’banj we have now. Time has eroded his influence. Bad decisions have waned his talent. He is still a big artist by virtue of his brand and the emotional deposit he still owns in the heart of fans. But he isn’t exactly the D’banj Wande Coal and Harrysong sang about in that song.
Life happened to that D’banj, just as it does to the best of us. ‘It’s not a lie’ is simply a throwback to an era that is no more. That’s why it’s a memorial. And as the song flew to its end, I shook my head with emotion.
“I loved the old D’banj,” I said. “It’s not a lie.”