The story of D’banj’s ‘Emergency’ single is one of twists and turns. A good song which is steering the revival of D’banj’s ailing music career has been released, with a classy video to match, but how did this come to be?
Prior to January 2016, the past 5 years have been trying for D’banj professionally. His world came crashing down when Mo’Hits Records, which reigned over African music as the best music house was divided. Don Jazzy packed up ship and left, with only Kayswitch sticking to him because of blood ties.
“So when he (Don Jazzy) came back home, he had a meeting and that was in July, and he said he doesn’t want us to do Mo’Hits again. That he doesn’t want us to do Mo’Hits again. And I said to him, ‘Please give me 6 months’.
“So I told him to give me 6 months, that he should please just…for me I was even trying to sell my shares, to convince him again, to sell my shares to someone else, take the money, go abroad and try.” D’banj revealed emotionally in January 2015.
Oliver Twist, his last true hit song was released around that period, and gained him traction, but steadily, D’banj’s musical powers had appeared to wane. Gone was the panache that marked his time at the top. In was a string of mishits. The lowest point of his failure at pop music came calling last year, as the EP to mark his 10th Anniversary flopped with singles such as ‘Ko ye won’, ‘Salute’, and ‘The King is here’ receiving dismal reviews,
Off the mic and studio, D’banj made his brand stronger with power moves and endorsements. What he lacked in the studio, he made up for it in the press. A cache of endorsements which include top brands including Cîroc and Slot kept him profitable, while his milk of human kindness flowed forth through his championing of ONE.org. social empowerment campaigns.
All of that good press and branding made D’banj a celebrity without essence. He was a star of the industry, a champion of the elite, but his foundation product was not lacking in substance. Without music, D’banj was without essence.
But all of that was to change.
The Saviour: P-Loops
An unknown young man had in 2005 made the trip from Jos to Lagos. A native of Imo State, his name was Praise Igwe. Dropping out of 300L Architecture in from the University of Jos, he made the journey to Lagos to pursue his dream. Skilled with the piano, and having a good ear for sound, Praise adopted the name P-Loops. This was not what his parents planned for him, but he took the bold step.
In Lagos, P-Loops searched for someone to upgrade his skills, finally getting in bed with Young D who trained him in the music production and all the attendant skills for a year. Armed with the skillset, he branched out to set up his studio in 2009, working hard at making beats and instrumentation. The company P-Loops Music was born.
“It was my first time in Lagos, and I had the intention to come to Lagos and learn music production. I wanted to hook up with the right person who would take me to the studio and introduce me to a producer who would teach me music production.”
“I got signed for the first time with a record label in 2010. It was named B.Coast Entertainment” P Loops tell me in a phone interview. “I worked with them for about two years, and then I met Rayce.”
The relationship with Rayce spawned singles ‘Wetin dey’, and the recent ‘Renovate’, which featured Nigeria’s rap king, Olamide.
‘Wetin dey’ brought P-Loops to the point of his first breakthrough, and business began to pick up. Calls came in from artistes and A&R executives who wanted to work with the new talent. Last year, one of those calls came from veteran singer, Olu Maintain of ‘Yahooze’ fame. Then they began to record music.
One random morning in 2015, P-Loops woke up with inspiration. He knew it was Afrobeat mixed with elements of pop. The more the day progressed, the sounds became louder. That was how the instrumentation for Emergency was born.
“I just wanted to make something that was Afro, full-time Afro Pop. I wanted to sound like the old school Fela kind of thing. It was coming in my head, and it kept on ringing, and I knew it was what I wanted to do.” P-Loops said.
Olu Maintain listened to the beat, and took it to D’banj. The beat originally was for Olu Maintain, but while on the Koko Tour stop in Owerri, Imo State (which is coincidentally the home town of the producer), he played it to D’banj who loved it and voiced a new song on it.
For P-Loops that was the end of the beat until January 2016 when he heard the song like any other person. He instantly recognized his beat. No credit was given to the producer, even his vocal signature on the instrumental had been erased.
“I was in shock when I heard the next morning that the song was out. I didn’t record with D’banj, I think Olu sent the beat to him, and he recorded. There was no credit at all, no credit on the promo copy, there was no credit online, no credit whatsoever.
“I did try to talk to them, I talked to Olu Maintain in my office. My trademark was removed. The original beat had my trademark. I talked to them about it, and we were going to have a brief meeting about it, but till now, there has been no credit…It was KC Graphics, his graphic designer who gave me his contact.”
‘Emergency’ has become D’banj’s saving song since Oliver Twist, he performed it to popular acclaim at the 2016 African Player of the Year awards in Lagos, to popular acclaim. A video for the song has also been released, with spectacular dancing. D’banj finally reached out to P-Loops, and met him for the first time yesterday in Lagos. A meeting was fixed, but the pop star was in an earlier scheduled meeting which took his time.
P-Loops feels he has been treated unfairly. Explaining that to me.
“I finally met D’banj for the first time yesterday. But he was in a meeting, so I had to wait.
“We didn’t have time to talk about compensation. We simply talked about wanting to work more. I will love to make more songs with D’banj, but on the other hand, I will love to be compensated and be encouraged.
“I have to say it hasn’t been fair, because I was supposed to be given the credit online as the producer of the song. People were giving credit to DeeVee (D’banj’s in-house producer) and other people, so I just had to contact them.”
Another meeting was fixed with D’banj for today (February 23), and at the time of this report the story.