The famous Oliver Twist remix featuring legendary Kanye West wouldn’t have been possible or brought into existence if it hadn’t been as a result of a mistaken identity. Do we say it’s a coincidence, pure luck or destiny?
On the eighth episode of Showmax’s Journey of the Beats, iconic artist D’banj shared the story behind how the famous Oliver Twist remix that featured Kanye West came to be and other infamous international collaborations.
According to the Oliver Twist crooner, an air hostess had mistaken him for Kanye West on a private flight from Dubai to the U.S.
Upon hearing the Grammy award-winning artist was going to be at the airport in a few minutes, the ever-intelligent D’banj seized the opportunity, pulled up to Kanye, and played him the Oliver Twist record. While he was impressed with his style and persistence, hearing the infamous line, “I like Beyonce”, hooked him and the rest, they say, is history.
Kanye West’s feature in Oliver Twist was not the start of collaborations between Nigerian artists and international acts. It is historically correct to say that the conquering power of Afrobeats didn’t start today, nor did the international awards nominations root from this present-day generation.
In the late 70s, a wave of superstars commanded the attention of the world’s biggest record labels such as EMI, Premier Records, PolyGram, and others. They also had the most significant collaborations across the board.
The great Fela collaborated with Ginger Baker, British rock drummer and co-founder of the band, Cream, in 1971 and worked on an album titled Live. King Sunny Ade and the African beats in 1984 had a song titled Ase, which featured Stevie Wonder, another superstar of his time.
Only a handful of people might know that famous Beatles member, Paul McCartney, recorded his multiple award-winning albums, Band On The Run, at the EMI studio in Lagos.
Long Island Records was the powerhouse behind King Sunny Ade’s 1982 Suny Ti De Ariya album, spreading the Juju genre across the ocean.
While there was a lull in the recognition and collaborations between Nigerian artists and international acts, the cycle came back in full force in the early to mid-2000s.
The early set of 2000s Afrobeats artists like 2face, D’banj and P-Square took over the scene and became top torch bearers fanning the genre’s fire.
2face’s African Queen first broke the spell, became an international hit, and was used in the iconic movie Phatz Girls. D’banj also caused ripples across the music ocean felt by all and sundry, including the hip hop legend Snoop Dogg featured in Mr Endowed remix. The late Sound Sultan featured Wyclef in his song, People Bad.
Nowadays, a plethora of collabos between top Afrobeats artists such as Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Omah Lay, Tems, and Fireboy, amongst others, there have been almost endless international collabs with stars such as Madonna, Beyonce, Drake, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and the likes.
It’s interesting how Journey of the Beats on Showmax spotlights the struggles and contributions of Afrobeats legends and the actions of today’s icons are taking it into the future.
The story continues in the next episode of Journey of The Beats dropping on Thursday, 18 August 2022. Visit www.showmax.com or dial *447*2*2# from an MTN line to subscribe from as low as ₦1,200. You can also follow the conversation with the hashtag #JOTBShowmax on social media.