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Uproar over Headies’ nominations: DJ Jimmy Jatt explains Tiwa Savage, Kcee’s inclusion in Best New Artiste category

Nigeria’s most respected DJ, Jimi Amu, famously known as Cool DJ Jimmy Jatt has explained the reasons behind nomination of Tiwa Savage and KCee in the Best New Artiste category in the 2014 edition of the prestigious, The Headies.

jimmy-jatt-pic-1-e1407068670216Jimmy Jatt, who has been the head of the jury since inception, attributed lack of proper understanding of the definition of the category that has Tiwa Savage and KCee, who are both leading Nigerian musicians, alongside fast rising acts like Sean Tizzle and Burna Boy in the Hip Hop World Revelation.

He said, while speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, “Many people don’t know the definition of these categories before making criticism. For instance, some people have questioned Tiwa Savage and KCee’s nomination in the Best New Artiste category which is also the Hip Hop World Revelation. However, because they have been in the industry for years doesn’t mean they are not qualified for this category.

“You could have been in the industry for years, but the year you released your first album is what is important. For Tiwa and KCee, they released their first albums during the period under review, hence qualified to be nominated for that category.”

Speaking further, the famous DJ said – “Beyonce was in Destiny Child for many years before she went solo. She later released an album which got her nominated in the Best New Artiste category. The same also applied to KCee who has been with a group for years before he went solo to release a debut album. It doesn’t matter if he has been there for 10 years, what counts is the year he dropped an album. Another instance, the year 2Face left Plantashun Boiz to release a solo album, he became a new artiste. Forget about the years he has been in the defunct group. That is a worldwide standard.”

Explaining the difference between the Best New Artiste category and Next Rated, Jimmy said; “Obviously, Next Rated is different from Best New Artiste of the Year, which also means Revelation of the Year. It’s for the artiste that released his/her debut album that year. However, for Next Rated, it is not compulsory you have an album. You can’t even have an album. If you have an album, you can’t qualify in that category. Nobody in that category has ever had an album during the period of their nomination.

“Some of them might have released their albums thereafter, but not that time. So, for Next Rated, we see you as the next big thing, based on the singles you have churned out during the period.”

Jimmy, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary on the turntable, described The Headies, formerly known as the Hip Hop Awards, as one of the most credible awards in Nigeria.

The Headies

The Headies

According to him, “The Headies is a credible award, if not the most credible in the country. It is a fair, strict and sincere award. The jury, which I am the Head, work with so much integrity. We do our job professionally. Nobody has an idea of who and who comprises of the jury. For obvious reason, we didn’t have a face until two years ago when I decided to show my face to correct some wrong impression about the award. We don’t want people (artistes) to exert unnecessary pressure or lobby for a particular category. We have been doing for years without any form of distraction. People don’t know who to talk to, and we don’t have interest in any artiste. We are not a PR company to the artistes.

“Although, I am a friend to all artistes, that has not affected my decision, and it will never affect it. I am just a neutral person. You can’t even come to me for such request. I work with music 365 days in a year.

“So, I know a lot of music released during the period under review.”

Clearing the air on why some popular songs weren’t nominated, Jimmy Jatt said, “Check when the songs were released. They were released either before the date or after the date of submission of entries.

“Despite being hit songs, they can’t be nominated once released before or after period under review. For instance, any song released before July 2013 and after June 2014 cannot be nominated.

“In the beginning, we sent out forms to artistes to submit their entries, after which we collated them for examining based on the quality of production, sound and lyrical contents. We took our time to listen, analyse and seek external opinion to make double sure nothing was left out. Headies is the most credible awards that is not influenced by anybody, even though I have heard some people saying it’s tribal; and the organisers collect bribe from artistes to be nominated or win awards. This has never happened since we started nine years ago. However, there might be controversies, and that is normal. In fact, it happens at the biggest international awards.”

-RASHEED ABUBAKAR

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