Fire Starter: [artist id="2113051"]D'Banj[/artist]
[artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]'s ears know no boundaries, and the Louis Vuitton Don proved it when he signed Nigerian rapper D'Banj to his G.O.O.D. Music label.
On Wednesday, D'Banj sat down with Sway on "RapFix Live" and recalled the first time he met 'Ye during a trip to Dubai. While at the airport, an excited fan asked D'Banj for his autograph, confusing him for West. Another artist may have been insulted, but not Banj; he took the cue and prepared himself for the possibility of meeting with the American rap giant.
"I was like, 'Oh, no, I'm not Kanye.' And then I turned to my road manager and said, 'Kanye is coming here. All eyes open. We must get him,' " D'Banj recalled to Sway.
Just as expected, West arrived, and D'Banj got the chance to play music for him. "The first five minutes of Kanye listening to the songs, he was like, 'Who produced this? Where are you from?' " the Nigerian vocalist recalled. "Then he said, 'You need to come to New York.' I thought he was a liar."
'Ye kept his word — though actually getting back in touch with him proved difficult for the international talent. During a four-day visit to NYC in 2010, D'Banj tried to reach West but was unsuccessful for the first three days, mostly because the G.O.O.D. Music honcho doesn't carry a cell.
"If anybody tells you they got Kanye's number, they're a liar. Kanye West don't use no phone," D'Banj laughed, echoing what MTV News had already heard from Justin Bieber. "The fourth day, when I was about to leave, I got a mail: 'Kanye will see you today, 4 p.m.,' and I got the address."
D'Banj, who won an MTV Europe Music Award in 2007 and several MTV Africa Music Awards, eventually signed to Kanye's label and tweeted about it on June 8, announcing: "Just like yesterday myself and my brother did Tongolo. 7yrs later Mo' Hits signs with Good Music. Best birthday gift ever. God thank u."
Now, with his deal in place, D'Banj feels that not only can he and 'Ye make good music together, but also help strengthen relations between Africans in his homeland and African-Americans here in the United States.
"Kanye is the first person to take a talent from Africa that has never been here. I believe that that bridge has been broken for a long time," he said. Now it's time to bridge the gap.
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