Opinion: DJs and Evolving Beyond the Jimmy Jatt Formula in Music

We have so many DJs in Nigeria right now. They are breaking bounds and mounting higher status. However, it is noteworthy to say that Nigerian DJs are not doing enough to move the music culture.


While we must take out time of course to give props to a lot of them especially the likes of DJ Jimmy Jatt who changed the face of DJing in Nigeria. There was a part of time in the 90s when contemporary music was a thing of opprobrium. And artistes have to sacrifice a lot to keep the art they believe in alive.

It was even worse for DJs who are not as popular and do not make as much money as the artiste. They are just folks interested in collecting crates and vines to mix and play with nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, a lot of DJs didn’t even make it to stardom. And so many others had to move out of the craft.

DJ Jimmy Jatt Throwback Picture
DJ Jimmy Jatt Throwback Picture


Growing to a stage where Nigerian DJs are now internationally recognized is an achievement. Pepsi now has DJs as ambassadors. DJ Spinall recently signed an international recording deal with Atlantic Records and has another Smirnoff ambassadorial deal in his pocket. Cuppy had a successful tour with ‘DJ Cuppy Takes Africa’ and was well received. Enimoney had a successful tour – TheWobeyDJTour2018. These are fantastic and noteworthy success stories.

DJ Cuppy Takes Africa Tour Lagos
DJ Cuppy Takes Africa Tour Lagos


However, they can do more. Nigerian DJs should not get stuck on this temporary success. Shoutout to DJ Jimmy Jatt who has been in the game for about 30 years. This is a man who scores A+ in DJing and understands himself as an artiste. His success both as a DJ and as a recording artiste has made every other DJ want to be just like Jimmy Jatt save for a few.

They are creating the persona of a recording artiste. Featuring other artiste, releasing songs and shooting music videos. That is the new cool with DJs.

Fine, when DJ Jimmy Jatt released his first album – The Definition in 2011 in which he enlisted over 50 artistes. He changed the standard for DJs, marking the beginning of a new era. However, what DJs need to understand at this time in the timeline of the music industry is that not everyone can tow the path that DJ Jimmy Jatt towed.

More importantly, even if you want to explore the world of sounds as a recording artiste, you still need to stay true to your call as a DJ and discharge the basic responsibility of your craft.


The act of building the identity of a recording artiste when you are practically a DJ is killing the responsibility of DJs as the gatekeepers of the music industry. You are to break songs and render awesome tunes with the dexterity of you being a DJ.

The responsibility of a DJ is to discover sounds and artiste but the typical Nigerian artiste wants to be discovered. DJs in Nigeria ain’t breaking songs and artistes anymore.

As a matter of fact, Fabolous is one of the best rappers America will ever have. DJ Clue discovered him and got him to freestyle on one of his mixtapes. That was the breaking point for Fabolous. In Nigeria, the last time a DJ broke an artiste was in 2008. That was Kennis FM DJ Boombastic when he was still with Star FM breaking Klever Jay with Koni Koni.

Forget about breaking artiste, when was even the last time a DJ even produced a worthy mix. DJ Xclusive produced the very best ever Mix of Jay Z’s songs. Why can’t we have more of that? A DJ Spinall is more comfortable featuring artistes like Kizz Daniel on a song like ‘Baba’ in which Kizz had to sing almost all the verses actually but would no longer produce a Super-hit Mix like he did in Best of Wizkid. There is a science and arithmetic to putting songs together and only DJs can make you have that feel.

DJ Spinall Playing a set at The Lab, New York
DJ Spinall Playing a set at The Lab, New York


But no! Look at DJ Kaywise who was undoubtedly the king of Alaba mixes. What is he doing now? He featured Iyanya on his first record, ‘Loyalist’, featured Patoranking, Ice Prince and Mugeez on the second ‘Feel Alryt’, featured Tiwa Savage on ‘Informate’ in 2017 and this year Olamide on ‘See Mary, See Jesus’.

DJ Shabsy started the video mix on Soundcity. Now, he had also placed Kizz Daniel and Sugarboy on ‘Raba’, Ice Prince, Reminisce and Olamide on ‘Standing Ovation’ and then Koker on ‘Gangan’.

DJ Neptune in May dropped his much awaited debut album – Greatness in which he featured 27 other artistes. All of them are interesting in taking the DJ Jimmy Jatt route. It actually goes beyond modelling after a pioneer in the field. That it worked for him doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you. And because it is working for you doesn’t translate to you doing what is right as a DJ. It is good to identify your lane and become a don therein.

DJ Kentalky of Naija FM is One of the Best Radio DJs in Nigeria
DJ Kentalky of Naija FM is One of the Best Radio DJs in Nigeria

Meanwhile, the Nigerian entertainment industry is even one is pretty much giving an edge to DJs than any other system in the world. Every audience out there wants to listen to varieties of sounds and as DJs who have access to plethora of sounds; they just can deliver as much. Build your niche, you’re a Radio DJ, Party DJ, Club DJ, stick to it and be the best therein. 


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Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt has done enough by being a trailblazer in this industry, grow beyond his formula.

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Post Author: The Sultan Grey

The Sultan Grey is a young and enthusiastic Nigerian youth with a great flair for creativity and the life mission of inspiring the next generation always with his voice and pen. The former got him on the journey of #OnBecomingRadioSultan as a Broadcast Journalist - OAP, VJ, Red Carpet Host and Public Speaker while the latter turned him into a Blogger with special interest in development 'webloggism'. Think The Sultan Grey; think Radio, TV, Music, Fashion and Movies.

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