Arsene Wenger was the legendary coach that served Arsenal Football Club for many years. He lost more trophies than he won but that is not the case here. The thing that made him last in the club was that despite his losses as a coach, he was gifted with the art of good management which saw him rake in millions for his club through the buying, developing and subsequent selling of talents. In other words, Arsene Wenger is a genius in talent discovery and the records are there to build him a monument for that enduring culture.
In juxtaposition to music, Nigerian music, Don Jazzy comes closest to Wenger’s managerial acumen. He’s the window through whom we’ve beheld numerous talents that held their forte and continue to do so.
On Don Jazzy’s roll call are big names, heavy weights that, at some points, were the rallying points of Afro Pop in Africa. From D’banj to Wande Coal, to Dr. Sid, De Prince and K-Switch, who was unfortunate to find his career in the intersection of Mo’ Hits progress and their eventual collapse. In fact K-Switch was the sacrificial lamb of the fight that happened in Mo’ Hits because De Prince went on to drop an album under Mavin Records while K-Switch who followed his brother to DB Records was missing in the actionable move to keep D’banj afloat.
Since the collapse of Mo’ Hits, Don Baba J has been able to bring even more acts to the consciousness of Nigeria. And so we have the delectable Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello and Dija who brought a breath of fresh air into Nigerian music industry. Jazzy escorted them all to fame, awards and a change of lifestyle; a no mean fit for someone who was thought to have fallen at the exit of Wande.
Johnny Drille, Poe (Ladipo) and DNA have also swelled the ranks of Jazzy’s discoveries, though we are yet to feel the manifestation of Jazzy’s midas touch on Poe and DNA but Johnny Drille have proven to all that his brand of music can sell in Africa, get award recognitions, sell shows and win endorsements. I for one feel that there’s a Don Jazzy effect to it, beyond Drille’s musical mastery and uniqueness. Many of his ilk are finding it difficult to promote a track but we are witnesses to the pool of works generated by his brand.
As recent as last year when Reekado and Tiwa left, Jazzy was to usher in two hot kids into the mainstream; the likeable Rema and the calculative Crayon. These boys, like we would say in the streets, “are not smiling.” Rema, for example, sounds as if he has been here for ages, with a massive corpus that beats that of most older guys in the game and each track is amassing as many love, views, awards and airplays as possible with Barack Obama naming “Iron Man” as one of his best songs of 2019.
There’s something about Don Jazzy that I’d like us to celebrate and perhaps even get him to share his ideas with us, and that is the gift of discovering great talents and making them rich and famous within a short period of time. This is nothing short of remarkable.
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike