I first met Jimmy in the summer of 1986. I had just finished my A Levels and newly arrived Lagos from London. Somebody told me he was the best DJ in Nigeria and I decided to seek him out. There was a queue of guys in the shop; four guys, when I got to his shop at 17 Odo Street, Obalende. They were all recording music on to tapes. If Jimmy Jatt did it you paid premium. After I introduced myself, Jimmy Jatt and I started talking about music and our conversation lasted for all of three hours. There was an immediate connection and that connection has lasted for almost 30 years during which I have seen Jimmy Jatt grow into the biggest DJ in Africa, a superstar in Nigeria and a man who changed the perception of the disc jockeying business. Now, back in the day, no one had any respect for DJs. Jimmy has made it a lifelong mission to earn respect for the profession and those who earn their keep as professional DJs.
What makes Jimmy Jatt remarkable as a DJ? Jimmy Jatt is a party starter. He understood then and he understands now, the hot part of a mix on a technical level. A lot of DJs have got tricks. They can do a lot of stuff blindfolded on the turntable, but you know, when you ask for a DJ, you want a guy who understands how to move a crowd. You also want a guy who can play for many different audiences, who is well-travelled and has been across the country. Jimmy can deejay to a stadium of a hundred thousand and keep them motivated and he can deejay to a party of a hundred people and have the same effect. His career, so far, has been ground breaking. If there was supposed to be any ceiling, he broke them all. There was no roadmap for what Jimmy Jatt has done. He had nobody to follow. I think all the Nigerian and West African DJs follow Jimmy Jatt.
Jimmy Jatt is a legend and he is also a branding expert. I think people have to respect a man that transitioned through the technology, through the ages, through the sounds, and still stayed hot, still stayed on top and relevant. It didn’t happen by accident. It came from passion, hard work, dedication and consistency. Artists come and go. Jimmy Jatt is still here. You’ve got to give that up.
– Obi Asika, Founder, Storm Records.
Authors: Peju Akande and Toni Kan