DJ JIMMY JATTS
In those days when no one saw anything fantastic in Hip-hop music, Jimi Amu, widely known as DJ Jimmy Jatts, was out there in the streets of Lagos, organising road shows and carnivals for musically ambitious youths.
Having denied himself the opportunity of performing on stage, Jatts would rather let the now famous Daddy Showkey, Daddy Fresh, Aladdin, Plantashun Boiz and others display the talents they have for the world.
The journey today has yielded success. Amu is not only a mentor to many other popular Nigerian DJs, but a very mobile one across Nigeria and beyond. It was a Herculean task tracking Jatts down for an interview as he always hops from one place to the other.
In 1989 and 1990, he was pronounced Africa's number one DJ. Today, he is one of the most sought-after by corporate organisations and music promoters.
Interestingly, jovial Jimmy Jatts claimed he had never had problem with his ears after decades of marrying them to the blasting speakers. And if you want a chuckle from Jatts, ask him about the 'life-saving mix'. He will certainly tell you about a crazy fan who pointed a gun at him to request the music of Shaggy and Caroline.
My name is Jimi Amu, stage name Jimmy Jatts. I hail from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. I'm a DJ and I have been doing that for about 20 years. I'm from a family of three brothers and one sister. I'm married with two kids.
Journey so far
I love my job and I try to devote all my energy into it. But people must accept what you do because they are the ones that would actually make you what you are. If people don't accept you, you won't get anywhere.
I started out like an aspiring artiste, thinking that someday, I'd release an album. Of course, I'm still in that line but I have since transformed from an aspiring artiste to a DJ. When I was younger, I loved music and I started fiddling with instruments, which belonged to my father. My parents and brothers were really into music. What we had then was more than any DJ could boast of. My father was into importation of electronics and musical instruments were not strange to me. All these actually influenced my going into music in the first place.
Looking back now, I think I have no regrets being a DJ, because if I had dumped DJ, I couldn't have gone far in music. I'm glad I'm a DJ today.
I cannot remember. I started with friends and relations. I moved from there to organise my own shows because the rap thing didn't leave me. I put up shows but I don't get to perform because so many up-coming artistes were ready to do that. I used to put up a roadblock in front of my studio at Obalende. I also did mix tapes for people and a lot of people had to record from me. It was going round. When people were out for parties, they played those tapes and other people started asking for the artiste behind it. So, the name started spreading like that.
Most impressive show
I have been part of many big shows. Many of these shows were not rated on the basis of money but the kind of people who attended them. All roadblock shows and the raves I made in the institutions of higher learning have equipped me and got me fulfilled. At Water Parks, I used to organise shows for artistes who are now famous.
I started as a mobile DJ. Then, I wanted to find out if I could do clubbing and I did it. It's a different thing playing for clubs and playing gigs for different sets of people all over the country. I did clubbing and I discovered that I could be more of a mobile DJ, which I am still doing.
I have also been a Radio DJ. I did a bit of that in OGBC and Ray Power in their early days. I still do the radio bit at the background but I don't want to disclose where. Unfortunately, I am very busy as a mobile DJ, so I can't be regular on radio.
But radio performance does not really sharpen an artiste. The challenge comes from moving around to places like Sokoto, Calabar among others. This makes the job more interesting and not boring. Clubbing too could be monotonous and boring.
DJ and piracy
I have no time to produce a mixed CD for years. Even if I mix CDs, it's for promotional and personal use. For example, I can use it whenever my son is having a get-together and use it to entertain guests. Those mixes you hear about are those produced for the Alaba traders by some hungry DJs. I've never been part of that and I'll never be.
There are always bad eggs in any business and this is why some artistes pirate their own music. You would be amazed that some artistes do leak works by their colleagues to pirates.
The way most people perceive the job in Nigeria is not the way it is. Some people want you as DJ and when you tell them the fee, which is even considered cheap, they ask you 'Ah, just to come and play music?.' They do not know the amount money that goes into acquiring equipment. If I set up my equipment fully, it's two or three times worth more than the whole equipment of a live band.