With the disappointing demise of Mo’Hits Records, the music ensemble which produced hit singles like Booty Call and Pere, the entire music industry was thrown into a period of mourning. Some of us (read: me) are still holding out hope for a reunion project. However, as much as the Nigerian audience has felt the loss of the intoxicating goodness of having D’Banj and Wande Coal on a record produced by Don Jazzy with Dr. SID delivering the occasional but impressive verse, and D’Prince and KaySwitch ad-libbing in the background, we may not be the real losers in this break up.
While signed to Mo’Hits Records, KaySwitch and D’Prince, both brothers of D’Banj and Don Jazzy respectively, were known almost solely for their features on the records of other artists, with D’Prince occasionally taking the role of lead artist on songs like Jonzing World, Ooze and Take Banana. As a result, it can be said that these artists had no music career of their own and it was therefore no surprise that the end of Mo’Hits spelt the end for them as well. Pledging allegiance to family, KaySwitch joined the D’Banj camp while D’Prince went along with his brother, Don Jazzy, to Mavin Records.
As D’Banj tried, and failed, to figure out his place on the global music scene, KaySwitch was left to his devices, only releasing his first single, featuring his brother’s harmonica, a full year after the group split up. The song, Obimo, was decent for a wee period but failed to stand out from the swarm of music we consume every year. This, unarguably, is KaySwitch’s most successful record. D’Prince on the other hand, resumed his role of supporting act in the newly formed Mavin Records, with a few pleasantly surprising solo singles like Amarachi and Goody Bag, both of which were released in 2012. In recent years, very little has been heard from both artists. If they are making music, the Nigerian audience isn’t listening.
Five years since the catastrophic break, I find myself contemplating the careers of KaySwitch and D’Prince and how they came to be dismissed from the minds of Nigerian listeners. First, we can probably all agree that these artists were never very good to begin with and unfortunately, their proximity to music industry royalty did little to remedy this ill. As mentioned above, KaySwitch only released his first single in 2013. One can only wonder if much of the attention garnered by Obimo should be attributed to D’Banj and his harmonica. In the span of D’Prince’s career, he can at best boast a handful of records that are up there. And of course, there are hits and then, there are hits. Some may also argue that his better efforts only did as well because of features with more talented acts and the proximity to those with platforms. During their time as members of Mo’Hits Records, these artists benefited from the fame and success of their colleagues, hardly needing to do the bare minimum to earn a cheque. In a way, KaySwitch got the shorter end of an already tiny stick as D’Prince was able to continue to perpetuate his dependent behavior over at Mavin Records.
Beyond their mediocrity, it is interesting to see how being siblings of the label owners did little to change their luck. It is not uncommon for record labels to focus more on their headline artists, neglecting the growth of smaller acts. However, it is certainly worthy of note that D’Banj and Don Jazzy placed business success ahead of nepotism (besides actually signing them, of course). With direct access to the Kokomaster and Don Jazzy, an opportunity many may very well kill for, it is astonishing that neither of these artists was able to leverage on their position to achieve some level of personal success.
Consequently, it is clear KaySwitch and D’Prince were the real losers following the dissolution of Mo’Hits Records. The model of having their careers predicated on the talent and success of others was unsustainable. For this reason, I extend my condolences to both artists and caution others who may be in a similar position against the perils of being a mediocre lil’ bro.