Nigerian producer Babatunde Okungbowa, popularly known as OJB Jezreel, is dead.
He is said to have died from complications related to kidney failure in the morning of Tuesday 14 June. He was 49 and a month away from his 50th birthday. His death comes three months after his friend, the late musician Nomoreloss passed on.
Members of the Nigerian music industry have taken to social media to share their grief at the news. Afropolitan Vibes co-organiser Abby Ogunsanya wrote: “I guess Nomoreloss called for his friend.”
Producer K-Solo tweeted: “Learned OJB passed on. Just left this sinful world,” adding that he was “trying to get to the family”.
In 2013, news of the producer having renal failure made the round and was confirmed by his colleagues in the music industry. A special account was created for individuals wishing to contribute to saving the producer’s life. His friend, Nomoreloss, was one of the artist who alerted the public. He later said that “people have been responding to the call for donations and we are grateful for those that have even found time to at least visit despite their busy schedules.”
Yemi Alade, DJ Jimmy Jatt and Vector were some of the persons who visited the ailing producer. MI Abaga alluded to this in a song: "Somebody help me tell Mr. Nomoreloss/ When OJB was sick, it was hurting all of us..."
OJB gave an interview, saying, “God willing, I have like eight to ten weeks more to get the transplant done. It’s strange, I still walk around a little. I can’t eat much though. I trust God and Nigerians for their financial support.”
He would get that financial support and recover fully. However, in 2015, rumour had it that he had relapsed and had to be hospitalised. OJB addressed the rumours in a message broadcasted by Nigerian media. “Hi my name is Babatunde Okungbowa aka OJB Jezreel,” he wrote. “I’d like to set the record straight, am at home and healthy with my family going about my normal business. Obviously bloggers don’t research before they post. If they did, they would know that a transplant patient will always do routine checkups cus of infections etc. Enough said. I am sure Hiptv, Orisun TV, Encomium, EL TV and Black Jerzie [some Nigerian media] seeing and speaking with me in the past 2 weeks. Wasn’t on a hospital bed or in one! Research proper if it’s gossip worthy or not.”
OJB was widely known and well respected producer. He worked on the first 2face (now 2Baba) album, Face 2 Face (2004) for which his place in Nigerian pop culture is assured. He produced the hit song ‘African Queen’ and wrote a number of songs on the album as well. He found some singing success when he released the song ‘Searching’ and 'Pretete'. The albums Jah is My Lite and Jigga's World were released in 2005 nand 2008. In 2011, he released the 13-track album, The Format, containing the single 'Fire'. Two years later, the single 'Locho' was released. 'Searching' (remix) with Ice Prince was released in 2014 and in May this year he released ‘O Da Be’, a song addressing social issues.
He is survived by three wives and eight children.