By Shakira Atitebi
Kanye West protégé and rising Nigerian star D’banj made his debut at New York City’s Irving Plaza on Sunday (February 19) in front of a sold out crowd. The G.O.O.D Music artist tweeted, “New York – SOLD OUT!! I told u I was going to eat from the Big Apple… THANK YOU FANS!” In an extraordinary case of a contemporary African star being presented with a chance to work with an American record label, Kanye West signed D’banj (born, Dapo Oyebanj) to his G.O.O.D Music record label last year. D’banj told RapFix that he’s happy to be signed with Kanye and believes that his style will soon be accepted globally.
“I grew up in the UK and I would hear reggae songs from Beanie Man and Sean Paul. Reggae music broke to international markets and I believe my music will do just that,” he said.
Before the show started, a projector screen was lowered with Whitney Houston’s image. D’banj pulled out a harmonica and with the support of a live band played Houston’s “My Love is Your Love.” D’banj told RapFix that he wanted to let the late legendary singer know that she is loved all over the world. “The whole world is mourning the loss of Whitney. When I would hear her sing, it was like I was hearing the voice of an angel. I deiced to dedicate a song to her tonight to let her know that we love her in Africa and I believe she is watching from heaven.”
The energetic entertainer proceeded with the show with his afrobeats style, which is a combination of hip-hop, R&B mixed with African flavor. Wearing a gold sequenced jacket and his signature stunners, the African Pop Star gave a big shout out to West and got the crowd going playing Ni**as in Paris. D’banj took a moment to also recognize New York Giants Super Bowl champ and fellow Nigerian Osi Umenyiora who was present in the audience.
The culturally diverse crowd was highly entertained by the performer who calls himself the African Michael Jackson. D’banj, who won several MTV Africa Awards and an MTV Europe Award, undoubtedly had a way with the ladies who were begging to get on stage just to be close to the artist.
Live Nation Promoter Ogugua Iwelu told MTV News they brought D’banj to New York because they felt the need to explore the sounds of the African streets post Fela.
D’banj was the major attraction but was joined by talented artist from his home label Mo’ Hits which included G.O.O.D Music prouder Don Jazzy, Wande Coal, Dr. Sid, D’Prince, Ikechukwu, and K-Switch.