Kokolet Singer Dapo ‘D’banj’ Oyebanjo has revealed details of his music partnership with American rapper-producer Kanye West and his G.O.O.D Music record label.
In an interview with Ebro Darden on Apple Music’s Beats 1, D’banj said after running into Kanye by chance in Dubai, he emailed him for “two straight weeks” before they could meet up in New York.
He said Kanye was the “first person to ever take notice [of Afrobeat, AfroPop, African sound] and do something about it”.
Describing his meeting with Kanye in 2010, he said: “I had a concert in Dubai and on my way out of Dubai when we got to the airport I was with my entourage, I came out and the steward came running to me with a plaque saying Mr. Kanye West. So they thought I was Kanye.
After that incident, he told his crew to keep an eye out for Kanye. He continued: “So we’re checking into first class and then saw him with a hoodie. He’s there with his bodyguard. Then before I knew it one of my teammates, one of them ran to him and said “Yo, Mr. Kanye I have the biggest artist from Africa. African Michael Jackson. Let him play you the record.”
D’banj said Kanye listened to two records, and said: “This sound is the new sound”, after which he asked him to meet up in New York.
“I want to do the same thing I did with Estelle. Same thing I did with John Legend. I want to do with you,” the singer quoted Kanye as saying.
“So we flew straight to New York and we’re here in this wonderful city in 2011. We were here for two weeks. I was trying to reach Kanye for two weeks.
“For two weeks straight we waited to no avail and we sent an email that said, ‘I have to got to LA to shoot the Snoop Dogg’s video. On my way back if its possible I would like to see you’ and then we got an email that same night saying, ‘Mr. Kanye West will see you at the address below’. When I got there the whole family was there too you know. Everybody from G.O.O.D. Music. And Kanye said you have to listen to this guy and then he played all the records and we didn’t have Oliver Twist then.
After releasing ‘Oliver Twist,’ D’banj said he wrote another e-mail to Kanye West, saying, “there’s this song I recorded even though our deal is not done yet can I release it in the U.K. and Europe and when we’re done we’ll release it in America and Kanye was kind enough to say I’m in London come through and he heard the song.
“He said, ‘When are you shooting the video?’ I said, ‘I will shoot it now if you are going to be in the video. Just tell me you will be in the video. I will shoot it now’.
D’banj said when Kanye gave him his word that he would show up with the G.O.O.D Music crew for the video shoot, he “immediately broke the bank” to make the video.
The singer however said Oliver Twist was never released in the US.
“Kanye surprised me and they came and I became history and everything blew up, but the song never released in the states,” he added.