I remember the holiday I came back from boarding school (probably JSS3 or SS1) and I turned on the TV and Tongolo was playing. Lord, I was hooked! I was legit asking who the heck was this artist and I was always glued to the TV at any chance I get, hoping that the song gets played again and again.
Then after knowing D’banj, we were introduced to Wande Coal, Dr Sid, and D’Prince, and Don Jazzy’s first family was complete and we had Mo’Hits, the greatest record label since Kennis Music. Those were the days.
I also remember when I heard the news of D’banj’s split, Mo’Hits dissolution, the rise of Mavin Records, and Wande Coal also leaving the label. I was first lost, but I had the confidence that Don Jazzy will definitely bounce back because he is freaking Don Jazzy. If there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s making good music and musicians alike.
Tiwa Savage and Johnny Drille are on their own lane of greatness, so there really isn’t much to say about them. Reekado Banks, on the other hand, was that saving grace in a label that was choked with too many artists who seemed like they didn’t really care about making music but wanted to be attributed to the Mavin name (unless there are things going on behind the curtains that we don’t know about). The likes of Dija, Korede Bello, DNA Twins, and Ladipoe all feel like wasted investments now, Dr Sid and D’Prince are more or less too old to have any hope of rejuvenating their careers, Iyanya came and left, and Reekado, the only real musician in the label (save for Tiwa and Johnny) has now also gone his own way.
My heart bleeds for Don Jazzy actually, because the question of “where it all went wrong?” comes to mind. He admitted that the label right now is doing the Malwhede Idibala challenge, but can it really rise up again? And if or when it does, will it be with any of the artists in the “wasted investments or too old to continue” category? I genuinely wonder.
I do believe, however, that Mavin Records needs very hungry artists and a hungry CEO also to have any hope of competing with the likes of DMW, Choc City, and YBNL. This is what I think of Mavin Records, and I really hope they rise up again like the Phoenix because when Don Jazzy “actually makes music himself” the songs are always the literal definition of greatness.