The haze of D’banj’s blinding superstardom the last decade is slowly fading into a dull but relatively potent glow and we haven’t forgotten the things he brought with him on the rise to fame. A powerful vocal presence, some quintessential charisma, and an intimidating confidence are only three of the many features that allowed D’banj get away with things the media would have torn other people apart for.
A noteworthy example is the title song from his third studio album, The Entertainer.
Many things have defined D’banj over the years; an accessible discography, a jagged common man style, and a third-mainland appeal but none of this explains how much confidence it would take for a grown man to have Don Jazzy on production, Wande Coal on backup vocals but chooses to render an entire verse in gibberish for the title song of the album released after Why Me off Funk You Up wrecked our charts in 2006.
We have questions too because it doesn’t add up. Nothing here adds up.
One thing to take away from this is that career branding can never fail if done right. Though we can’t authoritatively confirm D’banj actually made plans to tend his career towards a certain image, or if his successes are just side-effects of the singer D-banjing his way through the industry by simply being himself, what we can confirm is that D’banj created a consistent pattern of behaviours that made everything he did a part of his identity as an artiste.
Whether he was performing on stage in a towel or kissing Genevieve Nnaji in his music video, D’banj created a different lane for his music by being honest about himself and sharing that with the public. He towered above PR nightmares, made music that even the critics loved (because the lyrics making no logical sense, doesn’t make the song any less of a jam) and did very little to hide his flaws as an everyday human (because fame is earned from hard work and there is nothing wrong with that.)
We may not have noticed it all these years but D’banj may just be the realest artiste to ever break into the mainstream. Besides, we don’t think anyone can get realer than rapping in gibberish to test the limits of their own godhood instead of feigning humility. The real question is, are you not entertained?