Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo (born 9 June 1980), better known by his stage name D’banj, is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter, rapper, entrepreneur and television personality. He has won several music awards, including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009, Best International Act: Africa at the 2011 BET Awards, and Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, Evolution award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music awards
He adopted the stage name D’banj, a combination of his first name, Dapo, and his surname, Oyebanjo. D’banj is currently best known internationally for his 2012 summer hit “Oliver Twist“, an uptempo dance fusion of Afrobeats and electronic dance music that topped the African charts in 2011 and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching No. 2 on the UK R&B chart. As of 2016, D’banj is ranked to be the richest solo musician in Nigeria according to T.I.N Magazine.
D’banj, also known as the Kokomaster or Bangalee, was born in 9 June 1980 in Zaria, the northern part of Nigeria to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a devout church dignitary businesswoman who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father’s profession he moved several times within Nigeria and later moved to England. D’banj was expected to follow his father’s military career and was enrolled to the Nigerian Military School at age eleven. However, D’banj resisted the system and disenrolled from the school after three years. While at the Military school he was a member of the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. From the Nigerian Military School he proceeded to another military owned institution Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta where he was a church worker. There he completed his secondary school education.
As a tribute to his mentor Fela, D’banj uses a fusion of Afrobeat and Afropop to bring his music to life and into the 21st century with breathless enthusiasm as well as a good dose of humour. His songs are based on his life, often hilarious but with a deeper meaning which documents the struggle of a young Nigerian trying to achieve his dreams. He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English.
2005: No Long Thing
D’banj’s debut album, No Long Thing, was released in 2005. It yielded several singles with Tongolo as the lead single. This proved to be his breakthrough single and a hit. It also provided his Koko Master persona, with the term, koko, taking on a variety of meanings. D’banj’s debut success led to collaborations with other artists, including Dare Art Alade and Ikechukwu. D’Banj’s single koko was used by the PDP (ruling political party in Nigeria) as its campaign theme for the 2007 general elections.
2006: Rundown Funk U Up
D’banj’s second album Rundown Funk U Up, which was released in 2006, yielded several singles including the club single, Tongolo (Remix), and the lead single Why Me?. This proved to be another hit.
2007–2008: Curriculum Vitae & The Entertaine.
D’banj, as an artist of Mo’ Hits Records, is also a member of its collective group, Mo’ Hits Allstars (includes artists Dr SID, Wande Coal, KaySwitch, and D’Prince). He has once been spottedwith one of Nigeria’s most talented singers, “Smile Lasisi”. The collective’s debut album, Curriculum Vitae, was released in December 2007. It included hit singles, “Be Close To You”, “Booty Call” and “Move Your Body”, which was the lead single. D’banj was featured in Ikechukwu’s 2008 hit, “Wind Am Well”.
July 2008 saw the release of D’banj’s third album, The Entertainer, with the singles “Gbono Feli Feli”, “Kimon”, “Olorun Maje” and “Entertainer”
The forthcoming single “Bother You”, inspired by the film Half of a Yellow Sun, was released on 7 April 2013, by Mi7 Records and D’banj’s label DKM Media. In June 2014 D’banj introduced artists under his record label, which includes him, younger brother Kay Switch, brothers MossKriss and Ralph Kriss and Tonto Dikeh Ebeneztizzy
He released the album titled King Don Come, with guest features from the likes of Gucci Mane, Wande Coal, Harry Songs, Bucie, Busiswa etc. in August. The album includes singles ‘It’s Not A Lie’, ‘El Chapo as well as his 2012 mega hit ‘Oliver Twist’.
Agency: DB Records