Analyzing other people’s matter may not always be cool but when it is music and artistes related, I talk about it because it’s part of my job description. That is what I am paid to do.
Like many music analysts and aficionados, I’ve consciously followed Nigeria’s music and its evolution since the 90s till date. Drawing the gap closer, I saw the entrance of Don Jazzy and D’Banj in 2005. I remember watching their interview on LTV (or AIT, not sure) with Ayo Shonaiya who was probably their manager at the time. Fast forward to this moment – You all know the story of the ‘Rise and Fall’ of Mo’Hits, we shouldn’t go over it again.
This Tuesday, November 5, 2013, Wande Coal released a new song entitled, “Baby Face”. The song got a lot of positive comments on Twitter. One interesting thing is that the song was released a day after the release of “Eminado” video by Tiwa Savage ft. Don Jazzy.
“Baby Face” was already sharing attention with “Eminado” on social media before Don Jazzy posted a subliminal tweet saying “How long will I continue to sweat and some people will choose to steal from me. I am nice and easy going doesn’t mean you should disrespect me”. Nobody or let’s say most followers did not understand what the tweet meant until he posted the next one, mentioning Wande Coal – “@WandeCoal PLS do the right thing bro. God bless”.
Wande’s first response to Don Jazzy’s tweet reads – “It is with SAD heart that I make this response. Steal from you? I served (you) for 10 years, why are you not happy with my progress?”
I shouldn’t bore you with the rest because I expect that by now, you know. If you don’t, please check their respective timelines.
So the bone of contention is the song, “Baby Face”, but I don’t know what the actual problem is.
Don Jazzy demanded credit but for what? Was the song written by Don Jazzy? Did he produce the song or was it originally performed by him? On one of the rant tweets Jazzy says “@wandecoal if I want to stop you, why would I allow you release “Rotate” without my company’s credit. Why would I allow you perform around the world without collecting a dime from you?”
Wande Coal is an exceptional and very gifted singer, dancer and entertainer. With time, I also learnt he is a good song writer with no credit for a lot of songs on Mo Hits, including D’banj’s last hit song, “Oliver Twist”.
Before and after Mo’Hits’ split, fans were literally asking for another Wande Coal album, especially after his successful debut with ‘MUSHIN 2 MO’HITS’. One of the problems the self-acclaimed ‘Black Diamond’ faced in the past was the naked photos released online but it he got over it and fans embraced his comeback songs – “Go Low” and “Private Trips”. He has since been working to regain his spot as one of the country’s indigenous Pop stars. Moving on.
Don Jazzy has been more vocal, outgoing and accessible since his breakup with D’Banj. Presently, he is the only producer (and artiste) who has enjoyed multiple endorsements in recent time and all of this did not just come to him; he clearly positioned himself for it. He used to be at the background but that’s in the past. I’m just saying.
Now, I don’t think Don Jazzy should have called Wande Coal out on Twitter. Matter of fact, attention seeking has never been so obvious since Miley Cyrus stripped and twerked on stage. The thing is – if Wande ‘stole’ the said song, Jazzy should have addressed it in a more appropriate way and I don’t mean filing a lawsuit. I don’t want to believe that Jazzy does not have a publicist or a PR team. The least he could have done is get his publicist to issue a statement stating facts about the said song and how Wande Coal ‘stole’ his intellectual property and released it without due credit or consent.
I listened to Don Jazzy’s version of the song. The lyrics, composition and rendition was similar to Wande Coal’s and that is the confusing part of the matter at hand. The same reason I asked if Don Jazzy originally wrote, performed or produced the song. See how Sound Sultan and Sean Tizzle settled their case.
The truth is, if the song, “Baby Face” belongs to Don Jazzy, Wande Coal shouldn’t have touched it after parting ways with him. There’s a possibility that Wande composed and performed the song with Don Jazzy under Mavin’s imprint, which still makes it Mavin’s property. The excuse of loyalty does not exonerate an accused.
Rounding up; if Don Jazzy truly supported Wande Coal on the introduction of his imprint, Black Diamond, by doing the song “Kick” with him, and letting Wande perform “Rotate” without credit to Mavin, then I don’t see why “Baby Face” should pose a problem. I mean, if Jazzy had warned him earlier, maybe Wande would have taken caution but bringing the discussion to twitter is just messy.
Looking at it from a brighter side, the argument has helped the song trend and skyrocketed the number of downloads.