Babatunde Jezreel Okungbowa, who was popularly known as OJB Jezreel, was a civil engineer turned producer/musician who started writing since he was 7. He was once a member of a London band.
Born in July 1966 as the last child in a family of six. Originally from Agbor, Delta State, he grew up in Lagos and Kaduna. He was a civil engineer turned producer/musician who started writing since he was 7.
He began as a DJ and as he himself put it: “because back then it was a lot easier to survive as a DJ, but I always loved beats and sounds, but some of the production houses we had back then didn’t make quality beats and most people and even record labels felt it couldn’t get better.” In order to prove his point, he entered into music production.
When he decided to go into the entertainment industry, his family was initially against it. But he stuck to his guns and later got their support.
He received his inspiration from music made by legendary producers like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Dallas Austin, LA Reid & Babyface, Teddy Riley and later R.Kelly.
He got united with his friends, Micheal Richman and the three Dairo brothers –Henry, Banji and Paul Play – to form a production crew called Playground, House n Effects (PHE) and started making Hip Hop/R&B beats for popular Nigerian artistes at the time.
He infused Rhythm and Blues with Reggae in his productions which became a huge success. He finally had his big break in 2004 with 2face Idibia‘s African Queen which he produced.
OJB was one of the founding fathers of contemporary Nigerian music and pop culture and many of Nigeria’s foremost musicians, including 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Dbanj, Banky W, Ruggedman, Jazzman and more to.
OJB had hits of his own with ‘Searching’ which topped chats in the mid to late 2000s and ‘Pretete’ a club banger which became a household song.
He was further credited for work on Baba Dee‘s hit single ‘Governor’s Daughter’ and Daddy Showkey‘s sophomore album.
He recently set up his own recording label called ‘J Recording‘ under which he was planning to release his comeback album.
He is survived by 3 wives – June, Korede, Mabel – and 8 children, and his best friend musician Jazzman Olofin. His first son is a graduate of Unilag, the second one is in her second year, and the 3rd is in OAU studying Mass Communication, while the others are all still in school.