The best part about M.I Abaga’s new record is that you don’t know what to take from it. The rapper’s new single is a rap buffet, filled with beef, a side of knowledge, anger, and culture lessons. Don’t forget to add the arrogance that is littered all through the record too.
The rapper has been in the news recently for the famous (or is it infamous?) Loose Talk podcast episode where he was put on the spot and aired his mind about the media and the evaluation of his art and his career. His attention is shifted this time to his colleagues, who haven’t been repping the culture right.
A veteran of the culture, M.I Abaga is one of Nigeria’s most iconic and respected legends of the art. In 2008, he democratized Hip-hop, with his album “Talk about it,” and took the genre to mainstream in Nigeria. He has kept it up through the years, and has always been vocal about the dire state of the culture. Hip hop in Nigeria is at its weakest, with the voices from South Africa repping the continent as the biggest base of rap in Africa.
For someone who took the game to such heights, its painful to see successors spitting in the face of achievement and chasing pop records, instead of evolving stylistically to meet the demands of the audience.. And that’s why ‘You rappers should fix up your lives’ is important to him.
“I should be close to retirement, couple more years we retiring. But none of you rappers inspiring, none of you pass the requirement, I can’t retire yet then,” he complains with his opener.
This is vintage M.I. This is the guy that wowed everyone from music nerds, to Hip hop heads, and the guy on the street who just wants to hear good music. M.I’s lyricism is unparalleled in Africa, and he applies some of that to his anger. No one is spared as it rains from his wrath. Everyone in Hip hop gets wet when M.I takes a piss. And right now, this record contains a hot stream of his pent up explosion.
There’s a case to be made against M.I Abaga and hypocrisy. His “Chairman” album contains records created to appeal to the pop crowd. But that isn’t the point here. For now he is the guy who worked hard to make it ‘cool’ to rap mainstream, and he has the wisdom, context, emotion, authority and credibility to push out this content.
This will be received in many ways. There would be the hailers, who would applaud him for speaking out. The wailers will tell him he has no right to make such a record, seeing that his fingers aren’t clean from the oil of pop music. And then there would be a set of people who just enjoy hearing M.I rap again about stuff that matters, regardless of the moral implications.
What is your reaction?