Around 2013, D’banj was a boss to everyone in the industry.
He was that elder in the music industry who had done it all. His deal with Mo’Hits had ended in 2012, but D’banj’s musical career was hot.
He had scored one of the biggest Nigerian records to cross over, “Oliver Twist,” signed a deal with Kanye West’s GOOD Music, and collaborated with Snoop Dogg and Big Sean. He was the Nigerian artistic dream, a superstar who was killing it at home and had a promising chance of breaking out.
At this point, D’banj was setting up his DB Records, and also putting together his D’Kings Men collective, who were working on the album “D’Kings Men.” He had his brother, Kayswitch, with him, but if he was going to create a platform that would be worth anything, he needed more artists.
His first stop was to the “First Of All” rapper in 2013.
This was 2013 and Olamide was regarded as one of Nigeria’s best rappers already. He had just dished out his second studio album, “YBNL.” The album had Kay Switch (no surprises there), Tiwa Savage, Dammy Krane, Davido, Kida Kudz, Reminisce, Base 1, Buckwyla, and Minus 2 as featured artists. He already had singles “Ilefo Illuminati,” “First of All” and “Stupid Love” going viral on the streets, in the clubs, and all over dance floors.
The Olamide you know now wasn’t the one you know then. He was a younger version of himself, who was winning at a high level but not at D’banj’s level.
Olamide and D’banj met up and struck up conversations about Olamide signing up to his record label. YBNL was in its infancy, and Olamide considered it.
D’banj and Olamide went into talks and began work together. A verbal agreement was reached, and Olamide worked on the DKM album. He contributed vocals and writing on three records off the project.
The affiliation was so strong that both stars were spotted all across the country, from Lagos to Atlanta, attending events together, and hanging out. The rumors began to make the rounds.
According to the stories that flooded the industry and filtered to the press, Olamide had signed a deal with DB Records. It felt like a match made in heaven. D’banj had nicknamed himself Bangalee, and in the spirit of bromance, gave Olamide his cute one too; Baddo Lee.
And then what appeared to be confirmation came through D’banj’s brother Kayswitch. On August 9, 2013, the singer tweeted “Welcome to the family! Baddo.”
But a deal was never reached. Industry sources say Olamide didn’t go through with it.
While everything was done, and the singer was offered a contract, he delayed in signing, and had a change of heart, which made him pull out of the deal.
The story of how Dbanj ‘almost’ signed one of Africa’s biggest artists is an untold gem of an Afrobeats story.
It was around 2017 that D’banj claimed to have signed Davido with a Rolex in 2014. Davido later said the story was true—except for the ‘signing’ part.
Speaking in an interview, he (D’banj) said:
I remember in 2014 when I went back to Nigeria, some young boy who used to work for me brought an artiste to me and said he wanted me to sign the artiste. I remember we gave the artiste a Rolex as a signing-on fee.
I signed the artiste and then I got a call later on and they said the parents of the artiste wanted to meet with me, so I went and they said ‘please I want my boy to go to school’.
He later declared that the young boy in the story is Davido:
And to look at today that the boy I’m talking about is one of the biggest artists out of this generation, which is Davido. Today, I’m sure he can give Rolexes to many people.
There you have it, D’banj really could’ve had the hottest label in the industry way back in 2014. But that didn’t quite happen.
So, what do you think?
Will Olamide & Davido Be As Big As They Are Today If They Had Signed To Dbanj’s Record Label In 2014?
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