“Uhn uhn… It’s Don Jazzy again!”
Those are words plenty of people would pay D’banj to hear him say on a song again. And it seems music lovers might have the same plea in years to come.
When Iyanya Mbuk won the maiden edition of the MTN Project Fame in 2008, his ability to sing was never in doubt and many backed him for huge success in the industry.
Hot on the heels of his Project Fame victory, Iyanya went on to release his debut album, My Story in 2009.
“My Story” showed Iyanya‘s potential as a future R&B force, but was a commercial failure. Many fans don’t even know till date that the album existed, reminiscent of Dagrin‘s 1st album too, which also went unnoticed. Propelled by the disappointment of My Story, Iyanya took time off the spotlight to rebrand and repackage, and plan his sophomore project.
Fast forward to December 2011, where Iyanya teamed up with a relatively new producer – Adesanya Doyinsola aka D’Tunes, to produce Kukere (listen here), a song which went on to become the song of the year for 2012. Kukere‘s success was astronomical, spawning the Etighi dance phase in dance clubs round the country.
I remember an interview I had with D’Tunes last year (read interview here) where he told me about when he was in the Northern part of the country and saw Fulanis dancing to Kukere. He described the moment as “magical“.
By the end of the 1st quarter of 2012, Iyanya was well on his way to stardom. D’Tunes, in his own right, had also joined the conversation of the best producers in the game.
You don’t fix something that is not broken, and Iyanya stuck with D’Tunes for the second single of the album, releasing Ur Waist (listen here) in July that year. By the time Flavour (listen here) was released in November, the duo had become one of the prolific partnerships in the industry, and fans knew it was dancing time whenever a song started with “It’s D’Tunes again oh… It’s Iyanya.”
D’Tunes went on to produce 12 of the 19 songs of Iyanya‘s 2nd album – Iyanya vs Desire, including the next massive single the Wizkid-assisted Sexy Mama (listen here), and all was good in Made Men Music Group land. Or so we thought.
In March of 2013, news emerged out that D’Tunes had parted ways (read story here) with Iyanya & MMMG to set up his own label – Difference Entertainment and signing artiste Sean Tizzle as his first act. The reason for the split was not made public, though money was rumored as the cause.
Both parties moved on cleanly, Iyanya signing endorsement deals all over and D’Tunes producing songs with Sean Tizzle. Sho Lee (listen here) became a hit, though not as huge as Kukere.
When Iyanya finally returned to music, his music wasn’t exactly as Iyanya-ish as before even with all the female bodily parts adoration. His first post-D’Tunes single, Head Swell (listen here) was produced by 2Kriss, but failed to gather the typical Iyanya airplay and attention.
Iyanya saw that, and switched producers for his next song, hiring GospelOnDeBeatz to produce She Can Get It (listen here). Yet again, good song, but just not it. His latest Le Kwa Ukwu (listen here), produced by jointly by Coublan and Rundatrax, is doing better than the other two singles, but still is not the chart-topping hit as Kukere.
Slowly, it is beginning to seem like the Iyanya/D’Tunes split shouldn’t have happened – just like D’banj/Don Jazzy; 9ice/ID Cabasa; Will Smith/DJ Jazzy Jeff – artist & producers parting ways after the chemical bond shared made those massive hits & albums.
When you’ve established a terrific chemistry with someone, it’s incredibly hard to find it with someone else. You will still make good music with other people, but it just won’t be like what you had with that person.
It’s very obvious that D’Tunes was Iyanya‘s music “soulmate”, and the chances that the Calabar-born singer will find that sort of bond with any other producer look slim.
All in favour of Iyanya getting back with D’Tunes, say aye!