Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo (popularly known as D’banj, born June 9, 1980) is a Nigerian singer-songwriter, harmonica player, and businessman. 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 and BET Awards of 2011 for Best International Act: Africa. 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 Afrobeat and electronic dance music that topped the African charts 2011 and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012 reaching #2 on the UK R&B chart.
D’banj was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a church dignitary mother 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 completed his secondary school education.
D’banj was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother, Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen. With D’banj’s love for music being greater than his parents’ military aspirations, he struggled for his parents’ approval; this can be best heard through an album track, All Da Way from his debut album.
In April, 2011, D’banj was interviewed by BET’s April Woodard. The interview titled ‘Welcome to America' was a platform for D’banj to introduce himself to the American Music Industry and audience which he stated he was going to get into. In the interview, D’banj spoke on a wide range of topics including his music, artists he’d like to work with, his parents, Mo’Hits Records, his love life, and his role models: Kanye West, Usher, Jay-Z, R. Kelly, and others. The interview lasted 125 minutes, and was the avenue used to formally declare his determination to lead African music into many quarters that its yet to reach.
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, yielding 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, this includes Dare Art-Alade’s album track, Escalade Part 2 and Ikechukwu’s album. 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 sophomore 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 Entertainer
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 spotted with 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”.
In June 2011, D’banj was signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music record label as artiste. On June 9, 2011, D’banj wrote on his Twitter account, @iamdbanj, “Just like yesterday, myself and my brother did Tongolo. 7 years later, Mo’Hits signs with GOOD Music. Best Birthday gift ever. God thank you.”
After several months of speculation and wild rumors, ace producer, Don Jazzy confirmed via his Twitter account the breakup of Mo’Hits. After the breakup, Don Jazzy, D’Prince, Dr SID, Wande Coal started Mavin Records  while D’banj founded DB Records and as expected, he signed his younger brother Kayswitch to the label alongside two producers, Jaysleek and Deevee.
D’banj is a regular performer for the annual ThisDay Africa Rising Music Festival. He has performed at Femi Kuti’s new Afrikan Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos as well as the Shrine Synchro System’s regular London Night at Cargo. He performed at the Black President Concert in memory of Fela’s art and legacy at the Barbican in London, and also alongside many international artists in Nigeria like Kelly Rowland at the 1st Edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2008 in Abuja, Nigeria.
He was involved in one of the most anticipated events of the season ‘Koko Concert‘. This concert consisted of D’Banj, Don Jazzy, Dr SID, Wande Coal, D’Prince, new Mo Hits recruit Ikechukwu plus a few guest appearances including May7ven and comedian Tunde Ednut. The stage was set for a thrilling night – the Koko effect is definitely LIVE in London as fans of D’Banj and Mo’ Hits filled the O2 arena to capacity. As expected, the hits just kept coming and the momentum was sustained with on-stage antics from all the artists. In December, 2010, the Mo’ Hits All Stars brought Koko Concert to Lagos and D’banj kept belting out energetic performances that kept the audience screaming. Colleagues like M.I, eLDee, Jesse Jagz, and Wizkid also joined up on stage. There was also a global premiere of the highly anticipated “Mr Endowed (Remix)” featuring Snoop Dogg and also a recent track “Blame It On the Money” featuring the Californian native and Big Sean.
On June 23, 2012, D’banj performed at the Hackney Weekend to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics, which was headlined by Jay-Z and Rihanna. He performed alongside his friend, and fellow Universal Music Group label mate, Rita Ora on 30 August 2012 at the SCALA London Live Music, Clubs and Arts Venue to celebrate the release of her debut album Ora. He also performed at the AFCON 2013 closing ceremony held in South Africa.
In November 2013, D’banj resigned a multi-million Naira deal with Globacom, the company he parted ways with in 2010.
D’banj is the founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is also Nigeria’s first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace.
|No Long Thing|
|RunDown Funk U Up|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
(featuring Tola HU)
|—||—||—||—||No Long Thing|
|2006||“Run Down (Funk U Up)”||—||—||—||—||RunDown Funk U Up|
|“Gbono Feli Feli”||—||—||—||—|
|“Fall in Love“||—||—||—||—|
|2010||“Mr Endowed (Remix)”
(featuring Snoop Dogg)
|2012||“Oliver Twist“||60||68||66||9||D’Kings Men|
|“Cashflow” (D’banj featuring Kay Switch)||—||—||—||—|
|“Sister Caro” (Kay Switch featuring D’banj)||—||—||—||—|
|2013||“Don’t Tell Me Nonsense“||—||—||—||—|
|“For Example” (featuring Kay Switch)||—||—||—||—|
|“Top of the World“||—||—||—||—|
|2012||“The Morning“||Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, Cyhi the Prynce, Kid Cudi||Cruel Summer|
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by D’banj
Most Promising Male Artist – KORA All African Awards 2005
Hip Hop World Revelation – HIP HOP WORLD AWARDS 2006 hosted by Hip Hop World Magazine
Artist of the Year – Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) 2006
Best Newcomer – Tongolo Fizz Awards 2006
Best African Act MTV Europe Music Awards 2007
Hottest Single of the year “Why me” Nigeria Entertainment Awards 2007
Best Special Effects – 2007 Channel O Music Video Awards(“Why Me”)
Artist of the Year – MTV Africa Music Awards 2008
Best Male MTV Africa Music Awards 2008
Listeners Choice – MTV Africa Music Awards 2008
Artist of the Year – MTV Africa Music Awards 2009
Best International Act – Africa BET Awards 2011
Best African Act – MOBO Awards 2012
Best Newcomer – Tongolo Channel O Music Video Awards 2006
Best West African – Tongolo (Channel O Music Video Awards 2006)
Best African Act – MOBO Awards 2007
Best African Act – MOBO Awards 2008
Best Live Performer – MTV Africa Music Awards 2009
Best Male – MTV Africa Music Awards 2009
Best Performer – MTV Africa Music Awards 2009