Davido has never been afraid to use his music to say exactly what’s on his mind, it’s one of his many charms. On a new record “Orekelewa”, it appears that the singer has struck again, this time taking a break from taunting Dele Momodu to take a swipe at the Kokomaster D’banj.
The attack seemed to have come out of nowhere as well. The relationship between Davido and D’banj started off as mentor and mentee but now, it appears that there might be no love lost between the two men.
Where did it all go wrong and did the shots really come out of nowhere? This is the definitive timeline of Davido’s musical relationship with D’banj.
- May, 2012 – D’banj signs Davido to Def Jam Africa, not really
D’banj was buzzing off of signing a record deal with Kanye West’s GOOD Music and having a successful record in “Oliver Twist”. Davido was yet to release his debut album Omo Baba Olowo but had racked up hits of his own. Being that Mo’ Hits had already crashed and D’banj was starting a new contract with GOOD Music, it made sense that D’banj would want to assemble a new crew and get a label deal from GOOD Music’s parent company, Island Def Jam/Universal. This picture of the 2 artists at Davido’s home in Atlanta appeared on the internet along with the news that D’banj had signed Davido to to his new label, Def Jam Africa.
Def Jam Africa was being talked about as the African arm of Island Def Jam and D’Banj was to lead the label. However, despite the reported signing, Davido would still go on release his debut album under his own imprint only a couple of months later, raising doubts about whether the label and record deal ever existed in the first place.
2. September, 2012 – Davido hails D’Banj on “All of You”
One thing is clear, Davido once revered D’banj. When the album did come out, on the record “All of You”, Davido shouts the veteran singer out and places him in the same bracket as his comrades 2Baba and P Square.
Kokomaster, e be Baba now
The love and respect would keep growing.
3. October, 2012 – Davido defends D’banj against Dr Sid
Mo’ Hits disintegrated earlier in 2012 and all the signees had taken sides – Dr. Sid, Wande Coal and D’Prince went with Don Jazzy, while Kay Switch and Special Ed went with D’Banj. Explosive emails between D’banj and Don Jazzy leaked in April and gave the public an insight into why the team broke up but it wasn’t until later in the year that Dr. Sid emerged as the main villain in the group’s demise. A leaked conversation revealed Sid feelings towards his former label mate, the rapper turned singer felt that D’banj was “overshadowing” the rest of the crew, to which Davido responded.
Guy, D’banj helped everybody. If Lil Wayne calls me, I go go meet Lil Wayne, now. I dey lie? If not for D’banj, nobody would have looked at Wande like that. I dey lie?
4. January, 2014 – D’Banj and Davido Record a Song Together
Even though they had already performed together and done business, Davido and his idol had never actually recorded a song together. That would change in 2014, the 2 men got into the studio – Davido couldn’t hide his excitement.
In the studio With the King!! 2014 year of all!!!!! @iambangalee
However, it’s been 3 years and the record still hasn’t seen the light of day.
5. May, 2016 – Davido’s hype man takes shots
Cracks started to appear in the relationship through Davido’s hype man at the time, Special Ed. Special Ed was the hype man for the Mo Hit’s crew too, circa 2008. He was an important part of their performances on stage and was even featured on D’banj’s Entertainer album. He energized the record “Gbelo Gbebo”.
But when the crew split in 2012, Special Ed took sides with D’Banj and became his favored backup performer. Ed would become Davido’s hype ma afterwards but apparently his split from D’banj would leave a bad taste of the mouth of the Rick Ross lookalike. Ed accused D’banj of stealing the catchphrase ‘coming through’ from him, which he claimed D’banj had used on his single “Emergency”, without giving proper credit. When Kokomaster released another single, “Breaking News”, Ed went on social media to say the song was wack simply because D’banj didn’t have any catchphrase to steal this time around.
However, Davido wasn’t on the same page as Special Ed at the time. In an interview with ThisDay in October, OBO reiterated his respect for the Kokomaster.
I looked up to the likes of Usher Raymond, D’banj and Chris Brown. Their music is beyond amazing and they have impeccable talent that intrigues me to want to be like them as an artist.
6. November, 2016 – D’banj shoots in the air on “Focus”
In 2016, Davido finally got his deal with a big label, nearly 5 years after his arrangement with Def Jam (via D’Banj) failed to materialize. Davido joined Ayo Jay on Sony Music, those 2 would eventually be joined by Wizkid, Ycee and Tekno. D’banj is no longer with GOOD Music but no one would argue that it was D’banj who opened the eyes of the big labels to see the potential in the new wave of Nigeria music. The Kokomaster released a record called “Focus” to serve as a reminder about the doors he opened for the new artists to pass through.
Everybody know my name in L.A
When I move na only me in my lane
Dem see me when I been dey rock New York
Na we be people wey been start New York
“Focus” didn’t mention any artist by name but it’s easy for D’Banj’s aggressive tone to to be interpreted as negative energy. It’s also easy for his demand for recognition to be taken as a fight for acknowledgement, not a lot would be happening for Davido and co without D’banj paving the way.
7. December, 2016 – Davido aims for the chest on “Orekelewa”
“Focus” wasn’t directed at Davido or anyone else for that matter but it appears that the record, or at least some other action by the Kokomaster late last year, rubbed Davido the wrong way. As his past feuds have shown, Davido doesn’t do subliminal messages very well. DJ Jimmy Jatt is preparing for his next project and his newest single featured Davido saying some very unpleasant things about a man he once looked up to.
Who dem dey ask say what is the Koko oh
And I tell them Owo ni koko
E still think say na him be the koko
Him forget say we don carry am go
Even though the warning signs were there, Davido’s shots still took everyone by surprise. It’s unclear at what point he and D’banj fell out but it is sad to see one of the most impressive big bro, lil bro relationships in Nigerian music turn out this way.