Davido is one contemporary Nigerian artist that I see to be putting his money and fame where his mouth is. Like, literally, OBO is building a timeless legacy that, if continued, would stamp his name permanently on the sands of time.
Not since the time of Don Jazzy has any artist put a lot of guys on within a short while like Davido. Kennis Music, Storm Records, Chocolate City, EME, etc, have all had a huge record of artistes they brought to limelight through their labels, but Davido’s approach is quite different. He is bringing a lot of guys together at the same time, and creating a lot of space for each to shine despite the others. For someone who doesn’t understand how this works, it may seem easy, but when you take a look at the fact that what has always caused misunderstandings in labels is artists’ complain for lack of due attention. Let me take you back a little.
When Mo’ Hits started with just D’banj and Don Jazzy, it was all looking like a solo opera choreographed by D’banj until Wande Coal, Dr Sid, D’Prince, K-Switch, Special ED came in. After putting out Curriculum Vitae, we were presented with Wande Coal’s Mushin2Mo’ Hits album that sold millions of copies to critical acclaim, placing Wande Coal at the entrance of the New School Artists’ Building. But the Mo’ Hits’ structure then didn’t just expand to accommodate the promotion of more than one artist at a time, recall that Don Jazzy was also struggling to keep Sinzu, Ikechukwu, Godwon and Naeto C in check because it was almost as if they all wanted his production attention and rapport then. So Dr. Sid’s album was to come next, while D’Prince warmed up with singles upon singles. In all these, Jazzy made sure that D’banj appeared in at least, two tracks in each of the other guys’ albums. But in making the albums of the other guys, Don Jazzy forgot to drop a new body of work for Wande Coal, or, for want of better words, Jazzy was overwhelmed with work and as such, the doors he opened for Wande began to get cold as Wizkid, Davido, Skales, Tekno and Runtown registered on the consciousness of the audience as the emergent new schools. This was so because Nigeria’s music industry as at then requires you to follow up your debut album immediately with a sophomore in order to claim your space in the industry. Not until the new school guys taught us that you can use singles to sustain yourself for years without an album. It caused them a lot of issues, because even D’banj continuously needed to drop albums too which didn’t work out, D’Prince couldn’t drop an album then (he finally did it under Mavin), we never heard from K-Switch until the Mo’ Hits boat capsized.
Now, compare this to what Davido is doing today. His DMW is well structured and continuously expands to accommodating many artists at once without losing sight of the goal. Since Davido started DMW, it has been more artists and more artists and more artists. From Dremo to Mayorkun, to Peruzzi to Yonda to Idowest, to Lil Frosh, etc, and the good thing is that, despite him being a fellow musician, he is not in any way blocking the shine of the other label mates as most of them have great bodies of works in their names and still counting. This is remarkable because not many musician label executives are that generous with helping others. It is understandable when a businessman label executive like Don Jazzy or Keke Ogungbe or Ubi Franklin or Audu Maikori or any name you can mention, signs and promotes many artists, that is because he knows they are his business. But it is hard for a musician label owner to be that open, especially when he has his own songs to release. The only musician label executive who comes close to Davido’s rank in this regard is Olamide, judging from the amount of artists he too has helped to put on despite being an artist too.
2020 is almost here, and while we look out for Yonda and Lil Frosh and whatever they are going to serve us, we also hope OBO continues to put a lot of guys on. Our industry needs such magical elevations, I mean, not many people are aware that Zlatan is not even an official DMW artist.
Keep it up David. Our eyes are on you.
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike