Listen to article

Dapo Oyebanjo, popularly known as D'banj, is no doubt, one of the most sought after music star in Nigeria at the moment. In this interview, the award-winning act spoke on his career, music and sundry issues

Q:Some people believe your music is vulgar, how true is this?
A: My music is not vulgar. Run down, basically, in our own language, is a way of saying that you will get down with this song. We always start from gbedu yi o ma fuck e up, meaning, if you are in a club and you are just sitting down without moving, this song will fuck you up by standing up to dance. And when you retire from that dance club, you will not move. That is why I said baba e ma rundown, I am not literally abusing anybody's parent, what I am saying is that everybody knows that the father is the head of the family and if the father is already going down with the music, it will become a morning prayer for the mother and children.

Q: Don't you think that it is a vulgar language and a kind of song that should not be played in the house?
A: That is why we first said that gbedu yi ma fuck e up and when it fucks you up, baba e ma run down. The censored version says gba be, o ma run down. If I am performing at a show that is being recorded on the TV, I don't say baba e ma run down, I say, gba be, o ma run down.

Q: What influenced this song?
A: I will say obviously, it is God. And like any of my songs, it is from my day-to-day activities. I will also say that it's not me that originated these slangs. They have been there, it is just the way we use it and the love that our kokolets already have for us. File is a popular Yoruba word and don't touch it is an English sentence already, just as no long thing is an English stuff too. It can be said to be no long promises or no long story. For me, personally, No long thing was the title of the song that I came out with, which literally means that are you down with me? If you are down with me...

Q: There are a lot of people who say you are a sex symbol
A: I have heard that too, but I am not sure I have been seeing it on TV or reading it in the papers.

Q: Have you then accepted that you are a sex symbol?
A: Well, I don't. I heard that I am a sex symbol and it is not a bad title, it is good, but I don't believe I have accepted it personally because I am still working hard. Some people say I am a sex symbol and others say I am lepa. LL Cool J, who I saw just last week, is also a sex symbol, because he has got everything, which I still have to work on.

Q: How do you get the energy to perform on stage?
A: I think I was born into a family that is in the military. My father used to be in the Army, so I went to the military school, while I stayed in the barracks. That is why some people that know me call me omo barracks (barracks child). For me, I believe the energy is right there and luckily for me also, while in the barracks, I was always in the officers' quarters with father, who was an army officer.

Q: We learnt that most of you guys take drugs to enhance your performance on stage. Are you one of them?
A: No, I stay off drugs. Actually, if I am to take drugs, I will prefer the one that will calm me down because I am naturally hot tempered. I think the only time you can really express yourself and let the people understand you is when you are doing something you love. And apart from that, I show love for what I love, so I don't need drugs.

Q: There is always this belief that artistes take drugs to enhance their performance on stage?
A: People do different things. I have seen bankers take drugs so that they can think well. If that is what works for other musicians, fine, but as for me, I am not only gifted but also talented. No long thing.

Q: Between the time you came to Nigeria and now, did you ever envisage that your meteoric rise to stardom will happen the way it did?
A: No. I prayed and hoped for that, but I never thought it will be like this because I did a lot of research before we came to Nigeria and over a period of two years, when you release an album, the biggest you can be like is maybe Tu Face. But for us, under one year, God has really promoted us and I did not think it would be this big. That is the reason why I will not allow myself to run down. I must not disappoint the people that trusted me so early because very few of us are being trusted and loved like that.

Q: How has the fame affected you?
A: Fame...To whom much is given, much is required, so I know that when I had one naira, it is different from now that I have one naira. I have to continue and I never wanted to lack one naira, I don't want to be broke, I don't want to miss being loved by the people. So, it puts me more on my toes. I will agree with P. Diddy that says the more money you make, the more problems you come across. The problems are not difficulties but the more you have to think. Before I became D'banj, I used to wake up 12 noon, but now, I need to wake up by 10 a.m. and at times, don't sleep at all.

Q: How did you come about the name D'banj?
A: The letters are acronyms from my names. I am Dapo Oyebanjo.

Q: Many people don't know you by your real names?
A: Yes, a lot of people don't. Some people will just call me and say, Dapo, oo ranti mi ni, ki lo n se e? (Dapo, don't you remember me, what's wrong with you?). I am like, I don't know. I don't really answer anybody that calls me Dapo; the people that did not know me when I was Dapo.