DJ Jimmy Jatt (Master Disc Jockey)
The 1970s and 80s was the period when disc jockeying ran side-by-side mainstream music. The following decade saw a steady decline of that arm of musical entertainment, as attention focused more on solo musicians that were emerging to replace groups. That was before Oluwaforjimi Adewale Amu appeared on the entertainment scene to force back attention on disc jockeying.
Known by the stage name of DJ Jimmy Jatt, the 51-yeard old entertainer is credited with pioneering hip hop disc jockeying and actually revolutionizing that line of music in Nigeria, taking it to the level it had hitherto not been known in this part of the world. Call him the godfather of disc jockeying, and you won’t be wrong.
A native of Ijebu Ode, in Ogun State, he grew up on Lagos Island, where he had his primary and secondary education. An early exposure to, and contact with musical equipment, of which his father was a dealer, possibly ignited his interest in music, such that he grew up listening to different genres, such as pop, highlife, juju, apala, jazz, afrobeat, soul, rhythm and blues, as well as hip hop.
Jimmy started off as a rapper under the stage name, Master J, but was forced to abandon that line of music when he could not secure a record label, despite releasing several songs and demos that label owners curiously found unimpressive. But he wasn’t daunted. If one door closed, another was bound to open.
He launched himself into the world of disc jockeying by hosting a popular street carnival called Road Block, which brought together young and upcoming artistes in search of a platform on which to create identities in the music world. They included Junior and Pretty, Daddy Fresh, Daddy Showkey, El Cream, Aladin, Ruff and DJ Abdullah.
Buoyed by the success of Road Block, Jimmy opened a musical studio that he named JATT Studio, using his initial and those of his two brothers, Tunde and Tayos, as well as their surname, Amu, and adopted the official stage name of DJ Jimmy Jatt.
Jimmy took the gospel of disc jockeying to the nation’s university campuses in 1993, in collaboration with DJ Raves, and succeeded in igniting the interest of youths in that brand of musical entertainment.
In 2007, he released a mixtape of songs that featured popular Nigerian singers such as Sound Sultan, Tuface, Mode 9, Ruggedman, 9ice, Naeto C. and M.I, among others, which he titled The Definition. The effort attained a level of success he probably did not envisage, as a song in the mixtape, Stylee, which featured vocals by Tuface, Mode 9 and ElaJoe got nominated in two categories at the 2007 edition of Channel O Music Video Awards. Apart from enjoying enormous airplay across radio stations in the country, the song remained on the MTV Africa Countdown for many weeks.
Jimmy Jatt is remembered for two high profile annual musical events that he organized over a decade ago, namely, The Tupac and Biggie (Notorious B.I.G.) shows, in remembrance of the two American hip hop stars that both died in violent circumstances. The event featured the country’s raves of the moment, including Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, Dr. Fresh, Weird, Trybesmen, etc.
Rated number one disc jockey on the African continent, Jimmy Jatt has come a long way, from the rookie that earned one thousand naira for his first show over two decades ago to an accomplished entertainer that is sought after by advertising and public relations companies to promote major brands in the country. He has at one time or the other worked for Bates Cosse, Tequila, Marathon Events, Vigeo, STB McCann, Contact Marketing, Kent and Summerset, while the brands he has promoted include Coca Cola, Rothmans, St. Moritz, Benson and Hedges, Nigerian Breweries, MTN, Guinness and Globacom, at different musical shows.
The acclaim that Jimmy Jatt enjoys has seen him perform side by side international music stars such as Akon, 50 Cents, Wyclef, Sean Paul, Beanie Man, LL JCool and Usher, when they visited Nigeria at different times.
Jimmy Jatt has not just revived interest in disc jockeying, if the current standard is measured against what obtained in the 70s and 80s, the revolution, which he has singlehandedly spearheaded, has succeeded in erasing the hitherto held notion that it’s a vocation for school dropouts. Just as in other aspects of entertainment, disc jockeying has become a profession that appeals to highly educated youths who have been inspired by him.
In Nigeria today, many educated youths that have been inspired by him are trying to cut their teeth in the profession. One of them, with an amazingly increasing popularity, and with rich educational credentials to boot, is DJ Cuppy, the United Kingdom educated daughter of oil magnate and chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola.