Video review: D’Banj’s ‘Emergency’ is a fair Fela tribute but a horrible commercial

D’banj made a major comeback attempt early this year with the premiere of his single Emergency on the stage of the Glo-CAF awards. The latest from the new-age afrobeats king was a refreshing change from his recent misfires, it didn’t need too much promotion to gain airplay. To improve the aesthetic of the song, D’banj has released adjoining visuals.

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Directed by Unlimited L.A, D’banj’s Emergency video opens with an unrelated delivery from Slot systems, before D’banj is seen coming up on the stage of a posh bar set in a 60s atmosphere. An introduction from a hype man introduces D’banj with a myriad of  pseudonyms until the Kokomaster is seen making his way to the centre-stage. He is surrounded by backup dancers who donned on attires reminiscent of Fela’s infamous backup vocalists (who also took on the double duties of dancers and wives in addition.)

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As D’banj gives his own rendition of some Fela-styled dance steps, he sings his heart out on stage. The plot of the video unfurls via a dance drama that depicts two guys in a furious battle for a girl’s attention. Their dance moves are precise and the dancers quick-step through the afrobeat number with dedication. After brief frames of cameos which include Eldee, Samklef and Olu Maintain, the story ends with D’banj carting away the girl to the collective shock of the duo that propositioned her earlier with a dance off.

Artistically, Emergency holds all the elements of a good video without much effort. Even though the video  was almost marred by  its ridiculously disconnected opening sequence where a mobile phone delivery plot was depicted but not justified.

Redemption came with the costumes used in the video. The costumier did an excellent job with the era styling and the traditional attires of all the dancers. Location choice also helped build a matured calming ambience evident of D’banj’s almost-veteran status in Nigerian music.

Emergency would have been a near-perfect video from start to finish if we could get past how Slot had no other way to slip their advert placement into the first few seconds of the biggest hit by D’banj in recent times. Cinematographers and artists alike just need to find creative ways of making advert placements without being so shameless about it.

It’s 2016 for God sake.

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