BN Saturday Celebrity Interview: Dapper Nigerian DJ dishes on Music, Family & Pounded Yam! This Is DJ Xclusive, Anything Can Happen

Nigerian DJs are raising the bar, stepping up the game and among this crop of innovative DJs, DJ Xclusive stands tall. Rotimi Alakija, 29, has a degree in Financial Computing but prefers to be called DJ Xclusive. He began his career as a DJ in various celebrity clubs such as Vendome and Tribeca Nightclub in the UK. Over the last 7 years, he has fused the individual musical identities of Urban Funky house, Urban Chart, RnB, Hip-Hop, Pop and Soca into his own creative and now inimitable hybrid sound. DJ Xclusive is now an On Air Radio DJ for Cool FM Lagos and the official DJ of top music star, Wizkid. He is also signed on to EME Record Label as an artiste and to Channel O as a VJ/DJ on the show, Basement Africa. He has received several awards including the 2010 Nigerian Entertainment Awards as the “World Best DJ 2010” and in 2011, he was nominated for “Best DJ” BEFFTA Awards. He speaks with Bellanaija’s Adeola Adeyemo about his life, career and more in this exclusive interview. 

Gone are the days when Nigerian DJs were known just ‘behind the scenes’. DJ Xclusive has graced magazine pages, appeared in music videos, is a photographer’s delight on the red carpet and is one of Nigeria’s well known celebrities. Before we met, I was already very familiar with his dapper looks and it was easy to spot him out in the busy reception of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. Chatting with him left me in no doubt that he had an intelligent mind and was someone with great prospects.

Meeting the DJ
You were in “Baddest Boy” video and the recently released “Sun Mo Mi” video. It’s rare to see a DJ making appearances in music videos around here. Tell me about these appearances.
I don’t think it’s rare. I practically grew up in the UK and where I’m coming from it’s a normal thing. I think this is something we’ve been lacking in the Nigerian music industry and it is one of the reasons why I moved back here because I wanted to do certain things like this. EME is family and it only made sense that I had to be there.

I understand that you’re Wizkid’s Official DJ but I also see you working with other members of EME. Please explain your role on the record label.
I am Wizkid’s official DJ and I’m also signed on to EME as an artiste. When we are a group, for instance when we went to the Headies, because I am also under EME, it only makes sense that I DJ for the group. But if Banky W has a gig in America and Wizkid has a show in Saudi Arabia, I would be with Wizkid.

What was your experience like at the EME Tour in London and America which took place some months ago?
It was phenomenal. I kinda grew up in London, I was there for 10 years so going back with the EME crew was a wonderful experience. The love was deep. I got a bit emotional seeing how people were responding to me. The US tour was for three months but as Cool FM’s official DJ and with the demands of my job, I could only stay for two weeks.

Tell me about your educational background and other work experience apart from being a professional DJ?
I went to Kings College, Lagos. I left Nigeria in 2000 and I went to Manchester to do my A Levels. Therefter, I took a gap year and then went to Brunel University to study Financial Computing. Then I got a job at Bank HSBC and worked there for a about a year and a half.

So when did the “DJ” come in? When did you develop your passion for music and DJing?
I started DJing in 2003 at the Student Union just to earn extra change. It got to the point where I realized people were now taking me serious. I was working in the Bank and DJing but I realized my heart laid along the DJ lane. You could wake me up at 2am and say come and DJ and I’m ready. But if you woke me up at 2am to say come and wear a suit and tie, I won’t be ready.

Did you have any experiences or encounters that reaffirmed your talent and made you realize this was what you should do long term?
I met Akon at a night club in London and I remember him whispering into my ear saying he was really impressed. I also met Jermaine Jackson at the African Music Awards in London and he said the same thing. To me, these were inspiring moments and I said I want to take this up. So I quit my job around 2010 and I moved back to Nigeria in 2011.

The Big Move
What thoughts were running through your mind when you decided to come back home? What were you hoping to achieve?
I came back with the idea that I wanted to play a part in the Nigerian music industry. I think Nigerian music is booming right now and it has been for a while. Again, I feel a lot of DJs are not respected in Nigeria and I feel myself and a couple of DJs can change that and get DJs to that level where they should be respected. In Nigeria everybody worships the artiste, in London and America, they respect the DJ and I’m hoping to change that.

Upon your return, how soon did you get a job?
I moved back in June 2011 and I started working with Cool FM on June 25th 2011.

That was pretty fast…
Cool FM had always been family. Before I moved back, I DJ for one of the Cool FM parties so I had already built a relationship. I liked the platform and I believe it is the best radio station in Nigeria. It suited the kind of music I wanted to play. So in June 2011, I signed my contract and I’ve never looked back.

When do you get to DJ on the radio?
I’m on radio at 3pm from Monday to Thursday on the Road Show and 8pm to 9pm on the Night Café. On Friday and Saturday, I’m on the Party Club Mix from 8pm to 1am. It’s challenging but I love it.

OK, let’s talk about the EME deal now. When did you get that?
I first got signed with Wizkid as his official DJ in August 2011. I had a vision in terms of where I want to take my career to. At the same time, Banky was signing on other people. Obviously they were impressed by my skills with Wizkid and my background as well in terms of what I’ve achieved so we had a meeting. I met with the directors, we shared our visions and we put pen to paper around April this year before we went on tour.

Years back, DJs were not usually seen, mostly heard. We didn’t even know what they looked like but now, your face is just as popular as those of other celebrities. What is causing this change?
Like I said before, DJs have not been respected before. People just think of them as machines, play and stop, nobody cares what you look like. But now there are new faces like DJ Sose, DJ Neptune, DJ Caise. We have all branded ourselves and given ourselves a certain image. These are people that went to school by the way and have achieved stuff so they are respected. This is the message I want to push out to people. As a DJ, it’s good to have an education. Education is always key and that would take you places.

You use this phrase a lot, ‘This Is Football Anything Can Happen”. What does it mean?
This is Football has been with me for a while. It all started as a joke and now we took it serious. It’s like I say This is Lagos, Anything can Happen. You’d see an okada man carrying 6 passengers on his bike, anything can happen. It’s something that stuck with me. Also, I am a football fanatic, I love football.

With regards to Nigerian music, there are some songs that are being released these days that are greeted with a lot of criticisms. I wouldn’t want to mention any names now. But, would you still play those kind of songs at a party?
I play good music; if your song is a hit and it’s good, I would play it. If it’s not a hit and not good music, unfortunately I can’t. It has to be good music because people want to dance to good music. It would give you a headache in the club and believe me the crowd can even stone the DJ. I’ve been in a club where the owner told the DJ to leave because he was driving his customers away. Imagine if I play a song that is crap, that could happen.

To be a successful DJ, what  qualities and skills does one need to possess?
First things first, education. Education is a big key, some people might not think it is but it helps you with the business side of the game. And of course, prayer, you need God. I pray a lot before most of my events. You need the passion as well, you need to really love what you’re doing. Things could really get tough but the passion would keep you going.  And you need to surround yourself a lot with a lot of positive energy. Luck also helps a lot. You need to be hardworking and dedicated. Practice a lot, you need to always remember that there are other people coming up who are hungry for success. And then humility, you need to stay grounded.

How lucrative is your job as a DJ? Is it juicy?
It’s fun for me because I enjoy it. But it’s hard, I’m not gonna lie. Don’t be fooled by what you see, don’t think it’s all rosy. Just keeps your head straight. Patience is a virtue you need in this industry to get there.

Tell me about the most embarrassing moment you’ve had whilst spinning?
Once, a rat ran across my feet in a club in London. Another one was while I was DJing in Manchester, a white man smacked my ass and said “Hmm, nice”.

Growing Up, Family, Inspiration & More
Hmm, funny. Let’s get to know you a bit more personally. Tell me about your family.
I’ve got two brothers. One of them is Jide Alakija. You might know him, he is a famous photographer. I am not going to give out the name of my second brother, he likes to be in the background but he is doing fantastic work in a very good organization. I’m the only one based in Lagos; my brothers are in London and America.

Tell me about your growing up. What kind of kid were you?
I used to be a geek while I was little. I was into my books and computers and cartoons. I never really started talking to girls until I was in SS2. I used to wear big glasses like Steve in Family Matters.

A geek? That’s interesting. Were you fortunate enough to have a memorable first kiss?
That is something I can’t let out of the bag. Let’s just say it was a tough moment and God, I don’t want it to repeat itself again. There was an air conditioner on and I was sweating like a pig!

Funny, but that was long ago. How about now? Who is the special lady in your heart?
I’m focusing on my career right now. I’d be honest with you, it’s really hard to have a relationship in this industry, you have to really focus and with me right now, I’m really focused on my career.

But maybe you have a fantasy. Who is your celebrity crush?
Nigerian?

Yes, Nigerian.
I don’t have any, I’d be very honest with you. If we’re talking American it would be Kim Kardashian.

What are your hobbies?
I play basket ball, I love watching football, I love eating, I love sleeping, I love cooking, I write poems and I read novels as well. I like table tennis and swimming.

I never knew eating could be a hobby. But cooking is interesting. What do you cook?
I can do Pounded Yam, Egusi, Eba, Okro, Rice, Barbeque Chicken, Mashed Potatoes.

Really? Where did you learn how to cook all these?
London makes you very independent. I lived alone in London for a long time and it’s not everyday that I was going to be doing takeouts. I had to also cook to save money and I think it’s romantic when a guy cooks for a girl.

Do you still cook here in Nigeria?
Yes, my favourite food is Pounded Yam and Egusi. I enjoy cooking. It’s also a time to relax and chill.

And you go to market to buy all the food stuff?
No, I send someone to the market

The pounded yam part, do you pound it?
No, is it easy? I get the powdered one and turn it on the fire.

No lumps?
Nope. My hands are strong.

That’s cool, but sad that there is no special girl to enjoy all that cooking. Before you leave, tell me, who do you look up to?
I look up to Banky W and Wizkid, the whole EME family. They are hardworking people. I look up to D’Banj and 2Face, they have raised the bar in Nigerian entertainment. If we’re talking international artistes, I look up to PDiddy, he is someone I’d want to be like and Jay Z is someone who is a big brand out there but doesn’t have a lot of scandals. Don Jazzy is someone who impresses me a lot.

Day in day out, what keeps you excited?
The thrill in this business; What more can I do? What more can I achieve? The opportunities in the industry. Nigeria is a special country, you see a guy driving on my own lane the opposite way coming towards me and he’s still abusing me. For me it’s a thrill. Being on radio, on EME, my job as a whole keeps me excited.

It was great chatting with DJ Xclusive and from Bellanaija.com, we wish him the very best!

DJ Xclusive – Live Performances

EME – Baddest Boy

69 Comments on BN Saturday Celebrity Interview: Dapper Nigerian DJ dishes on Music, Family & Pounded Yam! This Is DJ Xclusive, Anything Can Happen
  • Funto November 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Haha! BN this is a really catchy title. Dishes on Pounded Yam *me likey*. I would love to have this handsome guy dish me some pounded yam and much more….

  • Chioms November 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    hey mr. DEEJAY!! hot hot hot!

  • Dolly November 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Kim Kardashian his crush???
    None in the whole 150mills population in nigeria, say what??????
    Okay girls can we all like respect Kim Ho’darshian, that woman stay winning, if kanye let go she’s deffo movin on to the next besotted, no morals, no value, no dignity man. Girls be wondering why they still single thinkin we still in the “70′s -loose girls dont get a man” Ladies i say double Ho’ up now n u will find that dream man!

    • Mz Socially Awkward.... November 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Ahahahahaha!! Tell them how you really feel… :-)

      • Dolly November 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        You have no idea lol these brothers be gettin on my damn nerves with their freakin white washed brain.

  • DJ Exclusives wife. November 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    back off people!!! thats my man!!!

  • name dropping November 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    All I hear,is him talking about london,london…!blah,blah blah.My favorite DJ still remain the ever humble *JAJ the Macedon*…his voice always send me sleep….I luv to hear him speak

    • Observer November 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Yeah same here, I reconked he was making a good effort to stress the fact that he’s lived in the UK. Good thing someone else noticed it.
      Heck! he wasn’t born there? he merely did Uni like most other ppl in Naija. He should tone it down a notch, LOL! :-) it sounds like name dropping

      • ejiro November 18, 2012 at 2:41 am

        Honestly, only bitter people get bothered at the fact that others grew up in London. What’s the big deal? So he should hide his identity??? He just moved over a year ago after spending 10 yrs there. But if he came from Ekpoma now and he’s not ‘repping’ you animals will say he’s not being real. Abeg evaporate from this side!

      • Poshla November 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

        @ Ejiro : Abeg go and nyash down!! if he lived or grew up in Ekpoma or even stayed there for a night, he will NEVER have stressed it with much repetition and emphasis as he did with saying he’s lived in London. And hey! it was only for 10 years? LOL! I actually thought it was for a longer time than that! hehehehehe!!!

      • Idak November 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

        @ejiro, all these insults for this small matter?
        You need a relaxant.

      • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        He was actually born in the UK.

    • Idak November 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Hahaha. Do you see the irony in your comment?
      JAJ that has retained his seemingly forced accent after over 2 decades in naija radio. As smooth as that voice of his is, he needs to go easy on that accent else he will choke one day on air. I doubt he is any different from the “UK raised” DJ we are seeing here.

  • Hi November 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    When he wants kim k.^^§

  • sweetie November 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    he’s way too cute …. i kinda like em rugged ;) … kim k though…wow !!!! it ssems being a ho is more important to guys these days than being decent ,it is well … heavenly father help us all ,. …But that your shoe in the second picture no try sha

    • Jo November 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Yes! Heaux continue to win! This is why I always tell Nigerian girls to not trust a lot of these Nigerian men. Nigerian girls, if you want to be a good girl, a heaux, etc make sure do it for yourself and not because you want to please a man. Pretty much, make whatever decision in your life because you feel it is best for you and not for anyone else. These Nigerian men don’t really know what they want. They are also bipolar. There are some worthy men out there. However, I want Nigerian women to make themselves their main priority. Put yourself first before any man. These confused men will tell you they want a Kim Kardashian today and then say that they want a Michelle tomorrow. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

      • Dante November 19, 2012 at 7:31 am

        This is the issue with some of you… Y’all generalize a lot. I keep saying this here all the time. Please who is DJ Exclusive in the scheme of things? Because DJ Exclusive said he has a crush on Kim K.. it now means all Nigerian men are bipolar blah blah blah and we are no good and we prefer hoes to good women. REALLY??????? Damn!!!! Y’all need to take a step back a lil bit and chill the – out!. DJ Exclusive spoke for himself, his choice, his opinion and he is fucking entitled to it!!. How does that reflect on the rest of the MEN in Nigeria????? These comments just show ignorant some women are in here.
        Read the story, keep the comments logical and keep it moving! And it is a huge insult on the rest of the men in Nigeria if you judge us by DJ Exclusive’s standard!. Thank you!

      • Idak November 19, 2012 at 11:19 am

        Your statistical extrapolation is worrying. So random DJ Xclusive is now the sole representative of taste for the average Nigerian man when it comes to women? Some of you, women need to stop exposing your bitter views in the form of these sorts of illogical arguments.

      • Observer November 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

        Well said!

      • Jo November 20, 2012 at 5:53 am

        Calm your tits down. Too damn sensitive for my liking. All these multiple question marks and you still didn’t say sh*t. How would I make generalizations because of this guy? Where do I know him from? lol. I’m speaking about the crazy Nigerian men I meet and hear about. Anyway, I think that Kim K wouldn’t be everyone and their father’s crush if she was a Nigerian, living in Nigeria.
        Obviously, you didn’t read my entire comment because I said there are some worthy men out there. Have a seat boy!

  • Bibi November 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Awwww no special lady in his life *raised eyebrow*

  • Bibi November 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Awww no special lady in his life *raised eyebrow *. That’s not what I heard oooo.

    http://thebattleofftheweight.blogspot.com/

    • yoyo November 18, 2012 at 2:29 am

      me tooo ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    • haters anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      hm! me three oh!!!

    • haters anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      hm! me three oh!!!
      sorry for the babe sha, e de deny am

  • Dj exclusive's Realwife November 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Oh no. You back off. He’s mine. lol

    • DJ Exclusives wife. November 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      loool! ok i will let u be his second wife. ^_^

  • Heeba November 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    He said Celebrity crush is Kim kahoshian he did not say his wifey should be like Kim or his steady gfriend should be like Kim.
    Mans lingo his celebrity lust is Kim k.
    Ride on Bro cos no descent Nigerian girl wants to be like ur celebrity crush dats y u can’t find on in naija sorry oh

  • Jo November 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Nice interview but his shoes in the second photo.mba! He’s good looking but too cute. He reminds me of a younger version of Desmond E. His lips are too small and thin. Lol. Some women like his look but I don’t.

    Can you interview Dj Sexy Sose please? He’s too light skinned but that’s the one I’m interested in. Ha ha.

  • lily November 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    At least Rotimi was honest to admit his crush was Kim K unlike many guys who lust for her secretely and many gals who i can tell u wish they had her body and guts.

  • iceking November 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I like this interview,so on point and true,…………..liking DJ exclusive more,wish U all the best bro

  • Daniel November 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Wow.. He is Jide Alakija’s brother. I doff my hat to their parents. You send your kids to school to study good courses and one ends up being a photographer and the other a DJ. My father would never have allowed it. These Alakijas have great parentss.

    • Jessica November 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

      I was going to say the same thing. I know Jide very well, he took pictures for two of my very close friends wedding. He takes fantastic pictures. I might get him for my own wedding.

    • Sope November 19, 2012 at 6:01 am

      Lmfao couldn’t help but laugh at your comment.

  • Blossom November 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Marry me

  • anonynous November 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Please marry me!! I like them prety

  • No Long Thing November 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Kim Kardashian? Oya jor oh, joor oh, leave her….

  • lol November 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    “Nigeria is a special country, you see a guy driving on my own lane the opposite way coming towards me and he’s still abusing me” This cracked me up real bad, walahi that country can be mad like that! I absolutely love driving but driving in Lagos… na waya!

  • habba! November 18, 2012 at 2:11 am

    listen up LADIES!! have you seen he said NON IN NIGERIA! but KIM KARDASHIAN is his main crush. this is why i hate it when black women pour out love and support black men! at the end of the day they would leave you FOR A WHITE WOMEN that they have nothing in common with. SHINE YOUR EYES BABES! i personally dont support or show love to any nigerian man because i know they dont have my back

    • Idak November 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

      You must have had very bad experiences in the past.
      My condolences.

  • yoyo November 18, 2012 at 2:27 am

    he has a girlfriend. why lie? why do all these artists lie about their babes? when a guy is in love he will want to tell the whole world about it. even if he doesnt want to he says he doesnt want to share his personal life..not LIE!!! i know his girlfriend and its sad some chicks will agree to be the ‘hidden’ babe.

    anyway he is a MAD dj. no one can take that away from him. ride on sir!

    • Purpleicious Babe November 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      lool..

    • Jo November 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Expose the guy! Lol. Maybe she doesn’t mind and wants to be anonymous. Tiwa doesn’t mention that she’s in a relationship but we know.lol. I don’t know why celebrities do it because I don’t think it would affect their appeal. Beyonce has been with Jay for a long time but men still want her. Even our Nigerian men are still worshiping Auntie Kim K who is with Kanye. Justin Beiber, Jay Z, Usher etc are in relationships but so many women want to be with them. Frank Ocean may be gay but a lot of women chasing after him. I don’t see the sense in denying your relationship but if it works for them then whatever.

    • Abike November 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I don’t think Rotimi has a girlfriend.. And i see no reason why he should lie.. Maybe he’s just hooking up with the babe you know and there’s no title to it…

      • haters anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm

        True!!! shes probs just claiming the guy and chatting -

    • huh November 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Did you really say he has a gf? Maybe he is lying to the girl and just playing with her head. He told me personally that he doesnt have a gf. What should I do? You see guys smh

      • yoyo November 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        He has a girlfriend. All this one you people are yarning is long. his babe is in London and NO she is NOT claiming..they’ve been together for about 4 years. if he told you personally he doesnt have a babe then he has lied to you. What a shame! BN you better post my comment oh!

  • jay November 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Nice interview, keep up d good work DJ Exclusive, u’v gat mad skillz!

  • vanessa November 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

    the guy mixes well and damn he is handsome jeez my gush and sofly guess its the eme thing.

  • Que November 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Dj Exclusive ond man menu- I’ll take two of that, and an extra side to go with it… Handsome face, to make me forget those horrendous shoes…
    #I doubt Kim K fantasizes of men with shoes like dat…

  • K November 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    My only problem with Nigerian DJs is that if you ask them to scratch now, they no fit. Being a DJ is more than just push and play and basic mash ups.

  • Purpleicious Babe November 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    He looks goodieeee in Suit…

    well done.. xxx

    or btw he looked random in the wizzy video..lol. am sorry but yh.

    http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.co.uk/

  • mdoom's opinion November 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    why the emphasis on growing up in the UK? considering you have spent more time in Nigeria than you have in the UK?

    • Jessica November 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I hope you know he was born in the UK. He only went to high school in Nigeria. Stop hating because you’ve not moved pass your garage.

  • Bibi November 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm
  • artful dodger November 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    dont you guys know that from birth to the end of high school is not growing ? lmao. From Uni onwards is what growing up is. lmao. “i grew up in the UK…” pffft! lmao.

  • Dewale November 19, 2012 at 2:37 am

    abeg d guy that looks like he cant even handle kimmy cakes when it comes down to d real thing, all na fantasy my pple, no vex! lol

    but damn he z FINE!

  • pynk November 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

    abeg abeg give us his contact details so we can stalk him appropriately. Fine boy no pimples, UK educated things.

  • ANNIE November 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Am sure the UK tingy didnt come out well as intended. The best thing about this guy if you know him personally is his HU

  • ANNIE November 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Am sure the UK tingy didnt come out well as intended.The best thing about this guy if you know him personally is his HUMILITY.

  • KingsQueen November 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Let the guy breathe nah! If he says he doesn’t have a girlfriend then he doesn’t! That one person claiming “4yrs london babe” should chill abeg…

  • TALover November 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Umm. DJ Xclusive.. you were getting a “big ups” until you mentioned kim Khardasian. Naah boo!

  • sharon November 13, 2013 at 3:58 am

    I am not going to ask if he is single cos i DONT CARE,
    looking at his conceited swag i can tell he will spend more time in
    the mirror than me anyway

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