In 2016 and 2017, we have seen Davido borrow or buy records and elements off people to create music.
Early in August 2016, I found myself in a room with Kiddominant, the man who produced Davido’s smash hit record, ‘Fall’. It was an evening in Lekki, Lagos, and I was having a conversation with him about the making of the record.
‘Fall’ had become a hit record. It had broken through the African market just like its predecessor ‘If’, and generated a pop culture slang in his music. Browse through social media, or have conversations with young people, and you find them wishing something to ‘Fall on you’.
Anything. Whether good, bad, or horrible, it must ‘Fall on you’.
Davido’s music has ‘fall on us’ in 2017. With a little help from the ‘Pon pon’ sound, Davido has enjoyed a great year in his career due to his two singles ‘If’ and ‘Fall’. The songs have ensured that he has flown high this year, adding to his repertoire of huge records. But he hasn’t done it alone. He has utilised elements in his music which was created by others for himself. ‘If’ had a vibe that was accelerated to popularity by Mr Eazi, and as for ‘Fall’, it borrowed a lot from numerous artists.
“I feel like David has a unique talent,” Kiddominant says. “People are talented in different ways. His talent is knowing what to say, he is just a complete artist.”
Of course, Davido is talented. Since 2011 to today, the 24-year old had risen from obscurity to the zenith of African pop music. He has filled out stadiums, toured sold-out venues, earned the biggest bucks, and showed up on the covers of the glossiest magazines. He also scored a recording deal with Sony Music, a feat that offered him more.
In 2014, popular opinions had it that his hit song ‘Aye’ was written and initially recorded by Runtown. But he struck a deal with Davido to get a collaboration for ‘Gallardo’, his breakout single. Runtown refuted the story, explaining to Punch that he was not a part of such a deal.
“I don’t sell songs; I just write for myself,” Runtown said. “I don’t know about the claim by some people that I sold the song, Aye, to Davido. It’s absolutely not true. Even Davido would tell you that he did not buy the song from me. Besides, if he bought Aye from me, what about his other songs; did I sell those ones to him too?”
But irrespective of the denial, the story persists.
In 2016 and 2017, we have seen Davido borrow or buy records and elements off people to create music. Sometimes, his efforts at relying on others to create for him pay off, other times they don’t. But he has scored enough to make him successful. ‘Gbagbe oshi’, the lead single off his 2016 “Son Of Mercy” EP was written and recorded by General Pype. Davido got it off him for a nice price.
‘If’ was recorded using ‘inspiration from South-South legend, Duncan Mighty. According to Davido, the entire recorded was inspired by the veteran. “‘IF’ was inspired by Duncan mighty … don’t mind a remix later on with him …” Davido tweeted.
‘Fall’ also has Duncan Mighty in its lyrics. Davido still employs the simplistic measured delivery and taps into Duncan Mighty for inspiration. There are parts of the song which come straight from the South-South legend’s ‘Obianuju’. Check out the chorus on ‘Obianuju’ vs ‘Fall’ (“Money fall on you (Because everything, na you), Banana fall on you (everything I do, na you)…”)
Another artist that Davido draws from on ‘Fall’ is Kojo Funds. The East London artist has the chorus of his 2016 hit record, ‘Dun Talking’, utilised by Davido, for the first verse of ‘Fall.’ (Are you done talking, tell me baby are you done talking?”).
But that was not all. Davido has been accused of ‘stealing’ the production for his record, ‘Pere’ featuring Young Thug and Rae Sremmund. The Sony Music singer has been called out by another producer named HOD, of jacking his production without credit and using it without compensation.
Pere’ was released under Sony Music Entertainment International Limited. Its production is credited to DJ Mustard, a popular American record producer, songwriter and DJ from Los Angeles. But HOD claims the production is his. According to him, he made the beat for singer Dammy Krane, a Davido Music Worldwide affiliate, who he claims recorded the song ‘Pere’ in 2015.
“Only for me to press play on Davido’s new song last night and I hear the same fucking song Dammy Krane recorded with me in 2015! Why??” HOD wrote in a series of tweets, which he has since deleted. “How long will upcoming producers be stepped upon? So because I am not known, you gave the song to Davido and my beat to DJ Mustard?
“I have well-documented proof by the way. Shame on Sony for not being professional about this too. I’m sure they felt this was just another unknown African producer,” HOD wrote.
HOD who is also a recording artist, has produced records for other Nigerian stars including Olamide, Reekado Banks, Ayo Jay and BOJ, claims he has proof and has uploaded his unfinished recording with Dammy Krane to Soundcloud.
On the shared cut which lasts just under a minute, Dammy Krane can be heard singing the rough version of the hook for ‘Pere’. The image on the record is a photo of the file properties, which puts the date of the creation as March 8, 2015.
Dammy Krane, who was announced as part of Davido’s record label in 2016, was credited by Davido for co-writing the hook ‘Pere’. “Shoutout @dammy_krane !! Co wrote the hook on 'PERE' with me !!” Davido tweeted on July 28, 2017.
A source close to Davido who spoke to Pulse but under anonymity said ‘Pere’ beat was created by DJ Mustard, who used his earlier production from '2 On’, a 2014 hit record by Tinashe, featuring Schoolboy Q. The song spent 24 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 24. Both ‘Pere’ and ‘2 On’ appear to share the same beat bounce.
"DJ Mustard produced that beat from '2 On', a song that was released in 2014," our source said. The video for ‘Pere’ was released in July 2017, and currently has over 2.9 million views on Youtube.
Davido isn’t exactly the first artist to do this. Art inspires art, and one of the ways in which our music has stayed consistent and refreshing is for artists to draw inspiration from others to make music. Davido does this well, and it has been a very strong part of his career.
Perhaps his next single will come from a church hymnbook? Or he will find inspiration from Ycee’s next unreleased single?
You never know.