Today, Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt aka Oluwaforijimi Adewale Amu celebrates 25 years as Africa’s Number 1 deejay with a three in one gig – an anniversary party, a musical CD launch and a book launchof his biography written in collaboration with Peju Akande and Toni Kan.
Sabinews has exclusive access to the book and here we provide excerpts from celebrities and A list music artistes who gave glowing testimonials about Jimmy Jatt from 2face to Sound Sultan, Obi Asika to Olisa Adibua, Ali Baba TO Julius Agwu and JAJ; the verdict is simple – Jimmy Jatt is the man!
My name is Atuyota Alleluya Akporobomeriere. My stage name is Ali Baba. I am a comedian.
I met the rascal in 1990. He came to play for some…no, I saw him play first time in 1989 at UNILAG and then the next time I saw him again was at YABATECH. There was another guy called DJ Shina who they said was another good DJ. I got to relate with DJ Shina and so, I asked DJ Shina, “Do you know this DJ Jimmy Jatt guy?”
He said, “He’s good, very good.”
Subsequently I started seeing him frequently because I was going to Radio Nigeria a lot, and Radio Nigeria was not far from Odo Street where his studio was—in fact, I thought he was even living behind that place because every time you came around, he was either walking in or coming out. So, I thought he was even sleeping in the studio.
A friend of mine said you could get original Chrome tapes from him. You see, at that they were selling fake Chrome tapes. You record songs, after four, five plays the thing cuts, or tangles or something like that. Or the sound drops.
So, whenever I needed a Chrome tape, he was the person I got it from.
My impression of Jimmy is he’s a strong family oriented person. Every time we go for events his concern is we have to make this money as much as we can, now that we are strong. Because we need to provide everything that is necessary to make the children stand a chance to make it.
Another thing is he remembers things that you think he’s forgotten. There was one time I came to perform in Lagos and there was a song: “Absolutely not! Absolutely not!” and he played that song as I was coming on stage and I danced. Every time I’m coming on stage, Jimmy plays that song. Recently it is “Out of Naija, Out of Naija” by 9ice.
Meanwhile, Jimmy still owes me an ipod I gave him to put songs on.
Jimmy is easy to work with. He is not stubborn. There are DJs you go to and say, “The client says you shouldn’t play this one, you should play something else.” And they would go, “But someone just told me to play this one.” He will play it.
His impact on the industry is great, besides setting standards and creating platforms. Because the way you drive an industry determines how many succeed in that industry.
The thing is even if you are not a pioneer—because they were DJs before Jimmy—but what he did was that when he came on, he changed everything. He made it his core business. He wasn’t working in any radio station; he was doing just his stuff.
The Freshwaves and all of them learnt from him too. Freshwaves had another guy, Bayo, that died. When we used to play together for GTB, NIB, Citizen’s Bank, Devcom, and all of those banks that we did events with, I saw that he was very professional.
When he got to the venue, he would check this and check that. And back then they used to use a lot of step-downs… and he always had a spare! That tells you of a man that is organized. That one gets burnt, he brings another one, put it there and they continue playing. Until they get the exact voltage they want.
What I think is that the 25 years have proven that he’s a good DJ. The next 25 years is for him to say that I am still the best.
My Name is Innocent Idibia. But they call me 2face Idibia or Tubaba, anyone you choose.
Let me just say I am a business man, I’m a musical artist.
I met Jimmy Jatt a long time ago. I was in Unijos then, back in the day. 1993. I was still a very, very tiny boy then. That’s when I first met him; he was also very young then. He came to play a show, some of his friends invited him from Lagos. He came to Unijos and ABU Zaria then. He came to DJ for the show.
It was mad, men. Jimmy Jatt. Ha, it was crazy! He was young and full of energy. I mean he’s still full of energy, but you know what I mean. That was the first time I met him and he was so cool. He’s this down to earth person.
I was performing. I was in a group then called Bad Manners. People that were in Jos back then, they would know.
After all that, you know me and Blackface formed Plantashun Boiz. When we formed Plantashun Boiz, we left IMT Enugu; we came to Lagos to permanently stay and work on our music. So I just said, oh Jimmy’s Studio. I have always wanted to meet him after the Jos experience, so we now located his studio, at Odo Street, Obalende. So we went there and he remembered me: “Hey, how are you?”
From the first time I met him to the time we met again, was like, omo, like five, six years.
My first impression was he was cool, humble, down to earth. I mean he has always been cool. He has always been the way he is.
There was no air of ‘’yeah, I’m Jimmy Jatt.” Nothing like that about him. I mean he doesn’t feel like that even till today. He is very unassuming. To me he’s amazing. He just does his job, focuses on his job and that’s it.
There’s no air of arrogance. That’s something I love about him. Met him: hey what’s up? “Hey you! I remember you from Jos,” and all that you know. Basically, we went to him because we wanted to get some instrumentals. Because then we no fit pay money for studio. So he go just cut some instrumental for us; sometimes we blend it together according to how we want it.
I call himMiji Taj! Na me and Julius dey call am that name. We remix the name. Jimmy Jatt, Miji Taj.
Yes, I have worked with him.His first mix tape, you know, I did one of the songs on his first mix tape. But before then, Jimmy started doing this show at Water Parks, started doing this concert. And Jimmy was the first person that ever paid Plantashun Boiz money…first person, way back, this is ‘98.
It was a wonderful experience; it was peaceful, you know. Working with Jimmy has always been very, very peaceful and productive. He’s a trouble-less person, according to ‘as e be, na so e go be.’ You can count on Jimmy’s word.
We did a song together; the song Stylee.Jimmy wanted to do a mix tape and after a couple of phone calls – I was in Kenny Ogungbe’s house in Ajao Estate with Ruff, Rugged and Raw – Jimmy drove down there and got me and we went to the studio and it just happened like that.
So, we just did the song there and then. It took us a couple of hours and the song was done, you know.
I think Jimmy Jatt has really given the DJ industry a lot of prestige. Jimmy Jatt brought prestige to the DJ business. He brought respect to deejaying. He has also had a hand in encouraging and supporting a whole lot of artistes over the years. So I think Jimmy is an iconic figure in Nigerian entertainment, especially music and deejaying. Most of the DJs these days, it is Jimmy Jatt’s blueprint they use to operate. He is the pioneer, he’s a legend, he’s a godfather, he is all that.
Like I said he has had a hand in so many artistes’ development. He has been a very, very strong figure in many artistes’ career in Nigeria. If he says, ‘this guy, this guy,’ people will listen to him. And he’s featured a whole lot of people, created platforms for so many people to show themselves.
What don’t I like about Jimmy? The fact that he is too gentle. I dey jealous that thing. He’s just a lovable person. I dey jealous am.
I like the same thing about him. I love Jimmy. Jimmy is somebody that no matter how angry you are once you see Jimmy, your mind will calm down. He’s a good human being.
My shout out to Jimmy is this: I want to say Jimmy, kudos, kudos, big ups, maximum respect. Just continue being who you are. You are a wonderful human being. I have the highest respect for Jimmy Jatt. And I’ll always love and cherish Jimmy Jatt.
My full name is Julius Chinwepe Agwu. My stage name is Julius ‘the Genius’ Agwu.
I am an entertainment practitioner, which means I practice entertainment in its entirety. I package events, I do comedy, I act, I do musi-comedy. I created musi-comedy. That’s pretty much what I do; everything that has to do with entertainment.
I met Jimmy Jatt while Iwas still a student at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). Back then, I used to come for holidays to Lagos state. And then I used to go to Obalende where Jimmy’s studio was to get mix tapes, you know selections.
Then it was standard, if you had a tape from Jimmy, you could toast a girl with it.
My first impression of Jimmy was that he is a very unassuming guy. His simplicity was what wowed me. You know then he had a larger than life reputation…‘Jimmy Jatt!’ or rather I had a larger than life view of him.
When I eventually met him, I realized that this guy is very unassuming. I mean, he’s that guy you could just call, ‘Jimmy, I need your support’ and he’ll just do it. I remember when I did my first show, I mean when I started Crack Ya Ribs he was always there for me. In fact before my album, when I started Okombo you know Musi-comedy, I would always say, ‘Jimmy, I did this. Help me promote this. I mean you’re my brother, who else will I turn to.’ He would always laugh.
And then when I started Crack Ya Ribs in 2001 at MUSON Centre, if you check all my pictures then, he appeared in virtually everything. He was always part of it. You know, I remember one of the shows I did, I said let me try another DJ, Jimmy said, ‘Did I offend you, Julius? Wetin happen, wetin I do you?’
He took it so personal that I had to beg and explain that the show was in Abuja and I did not want to stress him. Most times he does them pro bono and he would never say “Julius, see how much you’ll pay.” That’s not how we were. I’ll use my head to know what I ought to give.
My experience working with Jimmy is that he’s a professional and his impact on the industry is great. He made people understand that DJs should be treated right. He created a brand and other DJs saw him as someone they could look up to. He got other musicians to do collabos with deejays. You know, he set a standard. You know from deejaying, this guy now has a beautiful family.
If there’s anybody who has brought pride to disc jockeying, Jimmy has done that. His first daughter schools in America all from being a DJ.
There’s one thing I don’t like about Jimmy, though. He’s very emotional. Like me, he’s very, very emotional; as in little things touch him. He’s sensitive.
He’s a family man. If you see him playing with his kids, he takes his daughter out and people think that she is his girlfriend. I envy him for that. Sometimes I look at Jimmy and just say, “why I no start early? if I had known this thing would be like this, I would have beaten 2face to it.”
One more thing I admire Jimmy for is his level of respectfulness. He’s very respectful. You cannot see Jimmy get into a fight. Or find him in an open quarrel. Or catch him in an uncompromising position.
My message to him as he celebrates 25 years on stage is; this is just the beginning. God has kept all of us going. What I wish for him is that he should just keep reinventing his brand. Let him just set records and break them by himself, either on the one and twos or on the wheel of steel, because God will keep oiling his wheel of creativity.
My name is Jacob Akinyemi Johnson. My stage name is JAJ. I’m a media practitioner, radio broadcast journalist. I do many other things, mainly of the elements of the media and broadcasting generally.
I met Jimmy Jatt many years ago. I can’t remember the exact year. But it must have been in the 80s. I think I met his elder brother first, Tunde. I met Tunde through another friend of mine. At the time Tunde had opened up a shop on Odo Street at Obalende.
At the time it was one of the…I wouldn’t say many…it was one of the few shops where you could go in and have a cassette recorded for you. The shop had a deejay set and deejays. He had his two younger brothers; not just Jimmy, but Jimmy’s immediate elder brother Tayo. They were both deejays. I think Jimmy was still in school. Some polytechnic I can’t remember right now. It was at about that time.
His career has been excellent if you ask me. He pioneered deejaying in Nigeria. When I mean pioneered, I don’t mean he was even one of the first ten or twenty DJs in Nigeria. No, but as far as I am concerned, he has remained focused.
Now you have to bear in mind that at that time in the 80s, deejaying was seen by many in a very stereotypical manner. It was seen as not serious and possibly for dropouts but he was not a dropout. He went to school.
It was the same kind of problem journalists had many years ago. We were just seen as no good. All these things have changed, now it’s very, not just lucrative, but very prestigious. I am going to use the word prestigious job being a DJ.
One of the reasons for his success must be the fact that he was always reinventing himself. If the complexion of the game changes, he changes with it. I said I am using the word pioneering because I am talking of this day, the DJs of this generation; he put DJs on a very high pedestal. And right now with his success, he can rub shoulders with the crème de la crème in society, which he does.
I can’t really think about anything that I do not like about him.
He is a very cool person. That’s a great attribute. For someone so successful, he’s cool and humble. You don’t get to see that in many people who are very successful, especially in our industry.
My message to him as he celebrates 25 years as a DJ is keep it up, brother.
I am Obi Asika, founder Storm, founder Dragon Africa and Chairman, Social Media Week.
I am an entrepreneur and I work across various industries. One of my core focuses is the creative industries. So, that involves everything from media to music to movies, to distribution, to digital live events, live entertainment and sports. We call it show business. So when the show is done, we focus on the business.
I first met Jimmy in the summer of ’86. I had just finished my A Levels and I came from London to Lagos.
Now the thing is, forget the way society’s changed in Nigeria, they had no respect for the DJ at that time. Jimmy has been on a lifelong mission about respect for the DJ. That’s why I told you I’m a DJ. Not everybody can be Jimmy Jatt.
My first impression of Jimmy Jatt is that he’s just the party starter. He understood then, he understands now the hot part of a mix on a technical level. A lot of other guys, they’ve got tricks. They can do a lot of stuff blindfolded on the turntable, but you know, you want a guy who understands how to move a crowd. You also want a guy who can play for many different audiences. A guy who’s well-travelled, a guy who’s been across the country, a guy whose crew shut it down in Zaria, shut it down in Port Harcourt. Not many have shut it down in Jo’burg, shut it down in New York. Not many have, but he’s done it. I’ve seen it. I’ve evidenced it. Jimmy can deejay to a stadium of a hundred thousand and keep ‘em motivated and he can deejay to a party of a hundred people.
Jimmy’s impact on the industry, I think, is an entirely positive impact. I think you’ll go a long way before you find anybody who would say anything negative about Jimmy. I mean, you know, because Jimmy works hard. He does it with a smile. You never see his stress, but there is stress because we are all human beings. And I really respect that because I got to be the same way a bit. You don’t try to say you are stressed to the third party, you just don’t hand that over.
The one thing I don’t like about him is he still looks like he’s 25!
I like histalent and humility.
Here’s my message to Jimmy Jatt as he marks 25 years on stage. Jimmy this is from your brother, Obi. You know how we do this. We go back from day 1. Just to say respect, salute. 25 years? I think it’s more like 30 years. But you know, me and Jimmy are like the Flying Eagles; we’re doing official age now.
I’ve always been proud to associate with Jimmy Jatt since I was a teenager. And I’ve known him almost 30 years now. I mean, I’ve actually known this guy for 28 years. But it doesn’t feel that way. And that’s good. I think it’s just really good that he is who he is, and there’s just so much opportunity going forward for him. I wish him all the best.
Another 25 years in the game, at the top, not just…I mean he’s gonna live forever. The guy looks 17 anyway. He’s already immortal in the Nigerian context. If you talk about the entertainment industry in Nigeria and you don’t talk about Jimmy Jatt you’re not being real.
My real word is when is the Nigerian government going to give Jimmy Jatt a National honour?
My name is Olanrewaju Fasasi. I am an entertainer, musician, songwriter, producer and actor.
I met DJ Jimmy Jatt sometime in 1998 or 99. Sorry. Fallacy. I met him in 1994 or 95; at one of the shows. It was a show; Lekki Sunsplash. 1995. That was my first time. I was on stage with my crew and he was the DJ.
The name is Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt. I feel Cool DJ is what he is. The name speaks for itself. He wasn’t putting up an act. He is a man of great value. Whenever I see him, I see what everybody should be: helpful yet humble, very influential, relevant and still grounded. It is these kinds of people I see who make me act the way I do; being humble, accessible and helpful. That’s the kind of person he is
I call him Baba Jimmy!
His career is something that I hope my career would be. That’s what my careers wants to be when it grows up. I am celebrating 15 years on stage. He is celebrating 25 years. That is before Davido came, before dem born Davido. He may as well have played at Davido’s naming ceremony.
Jimmy Jatt for me is a blessing. Go and look at his kids they are aje butter. He is the Ali Baba of Dejaying. He empowered a lot of people. He took some people under his canopy and helped them grow. A lot of Jimmy Jatt protégés are big boys, today. Some of them are outside the country doing well. That’s what speaks for you. The number of people you help. The number of lives you’ve touched is what will still breathe back. It’s like a circle: When you give out you get, you give out you get. It keeps you going. People will question your consistency but they won’t know it is really down to how much you helped people.
I worked with him on his recent album. Me, Tuface, Burna boy and my girl, Young GreyC are on a track called Glasses Up. Because I think it is worth making a toast to Jimmy Jatt. We hope to have him for 25 more years on stage working. It’s possible. He’ll be the first 75 year old deejay.
He doesn’t feel good making people feel bad. So he never makes you feel bad. When I was marking my 15 years on stage, he was there. He was present during the rehearsals.
I can’t say one thing I like about Jimmy because I like plenty things about him. The first thing he did for me affected my career.
Back then, I used to work with a live band even when I had no money to take them about. So, I started rehearsing with my band and we recorded it on tape. I went for a show with my tape hoping that I would use that rehearsal, playback the rehearsal and mime it to perform at the show. But that was the time CDs were coming into reckoning, so they didn’t have any tape player, only CD player so we couldn’t perform. And he really loved one of my songs because we met on the tour of Benson & Hedges.
‘So will you play that song, “Crase World?” he asked.
‘I can’t perform today.’
‘I don’t have a CD.’
He said mix tape selections were going out of fashion. ‘Come to my studio in Obalende. I will dub this your tape into CD for you.’
‘They can do that?’ I asked and he said he had the machine so he was transferring all his mix tapes into CD.
Immediately, I ‘carried my two left legs’ to Obalende and right there and then Jimmy Jatt just turned my tape into CD. That’s how I could tour with Society for Family Health with that same CD, play a lot of shows, THEMA awards with that same CD. In fact, I can say Jimmy Jatt jumpstarted my career.
I can’t find that CD anymore but I used to keep it on my wall. That’s why I am always giving kudos to him every now and then. It is a bit different than what you think.
25 years on stage. Can I make a request? Shebi you scratch with two hands? When you are now 50 years on stage, how will you be holding the walking stick and scratching at the same time? That time you’ll need three hands; until then, happy anniversary. We love you, keep doing what you are doing. God is with you. And anytime you need our help we are here.
My name is Olisa Adibua. I work in the electronic media and currently Programmes Director and Morning Show host on the Beat 99.9 FM. I’m a co-founder of Storm 360 as well.
I met Jimmy way back in the 80s. Jimmy used to have a shop on number 17, Odo Street in Obalende. Basically, Jimmy used to be the one that had all the hot new LPs. In those days there were no CDs. We only had cassettes and records.
He used to get all the 12 inch from America and Europe. And so if you wanted to get all the hottest songs and put them on tape, you had to go to Jimmy’s shop to make a tape, or Jimmy had to make you a tape. And of course Jimmy played all the big, big parties then. And so we became friends, and there was this Road Block thing he used to do each year.
It was basically a concert; he’d block the road and get all the young kids around the area who thought they could sing or rap. We used to host it together with a guy called Jacob Akinyemi Johnson (JAJ). Basically it was a street jam and it was fun.
I just call him Jimmy. When I want to hail him, I say ‘Jimmy Jatt, DJ Jimmy Jatt, superstar!’ Or I say ‘Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt!’
I have known Jimmy since the 80s; it was probably 1987. 1988 onwards was when we started interacting. And of course, there was no party complete without Jimmy Jatt being there. There were two real deejays: it was either Jimmy Jatt or Freshwaves that played at all the big parties, all the good parties.
I thought he was a very chilled guy. There’s nobody I’ve ever met who has a bad word to say about Jimmy Jatt. Nobody.
And also Jimmy had an open-door policy, all the kids, all the young kids that lived around the area in Obalende, all the ajebutter kids that lived in Ikoyi used to come there and learn how to deejay, used to come and make mix tapes.
I mean the number of people Jimmy has trained and you know given a career to, you can’t count them. There are so many of them, so many young kids out there. They are all over the world and many will tell you, ‘I learned from Jimmy Jatt, I learned from Jimmy Jatt.’ And it is great. There’s no better legacy a man can leave than to help others and he has. Even if he doesn’t help anybody anymore, he’s done enough.
His career has been spectacular. Longevity is what we all strive for so a man who has managed to maintain a career more than 25 years in the same profession without having to compromise himself, without having to lose his integrity or in any way sell out, you have to admire him.
And he is a man who has built so much goodwill over the years; you have to give him props for that. I think basically his humility and his quality and skill, we can’t forget that he is actually a very very good DJ so if he wasn’t good he wouldn’t have lasted that long.
I mean from corporate gigs to big concerts to private parties, he knows how to handle each one and he’s done it all the way. He was the first DJ to turn deejaying it into a proper professional business; who understood the whole idea of creating the image, and creating the brand.
So that brand is Jimmy Jatt; it is a strong brand, a strong name. You know I’ve been with Jimmy when, you know, I’ll be like to someone ‘this is Jimmy Jatt.
And they are like ‘aaah, so this is Jimmy Jatt. Guy! Aaah, I’ve been hearing about this name for 20 years, 25 years.’ So, the name is out there and that is part of his quality.
Have I ever worked with him? Are you joking? Jimmy and I must have done, in the last 25 years, at least 500 shows together. Definitely more than 200 shows over the years. I mean we’ve done so many shows, so many gigs, so many parties, so many events all over the world. I mean I’ve been to events, all over the world, with him. I’ve lost count from weddings, to private parties, to concerts, to corporate gigs, we’ve done it all.
And the experience? It is always a pleasure because I know that I don’t have to….there are some DJs…I won’t mention any names, where I have to tell them say, ‘Oh boy, na this kind of music you suppose play.’
That’s the mark of a quality DJ, he knows how to read the crowd, read the mood, read the vibe of that particular event and go with it.
And Jimmy always has one thing that I like about him which is the same philosophy that I use on radio and this is it; you gotta be bold when it comes to music that people don’t know ‘cause that’s what you are. You are supposed to be the tastemaker.
My message to him is for him to keep doing it. Don’t ever retire – you don’t have to retire.
Now he has the comfort of being selective. He doesn’t have to play every gig because he doesn’t need to. And there’s nothing better in this world than to do something that you enjoy and get paid for it. Makes you get up in the morning, gives you long life and happiness.