Before MI Abaga took the Nigerian music industry by storm when he released his debut album Talk About It in 2008, local rap was as at a commercial low.
Pop music was on the pedestal and no other genre of music even came close. MI’s Talk About It made Nigerians confront and reassess their perception of rap music made by Nigerians.
Fourteen years and a diverse discography later, the self-proclaimed Chairman has returned to remind everyone who owns the mic with his latest album The Guy.
The project, which is his fifth studio album, features several Hip-hop heavy weights such as Olamide, Phyno, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, and American rapper Nas. Others include Wande Coal, Duncan Mighty, BNXN, and The Cavemen.
This wealth of musical talent is spread across twelve lyrically dense and sonically rewarding songs.
The project kicks off with the title track The Guy where MI lets us know who’s king as he rolls out a list of his accomplishments. On the next track The Hate, he reflects on the perceived disrespect from his peers and shares the challenges of his journey with us over a more mellow and sparse beat compared to the opener.
As the album goes on, he seems determined to reiterate his claim of a place in the pantheon of greats. With every bar he drops, he further convinces us of his increasingly forgotten lyrical mastery.
With the help of rappers and singers alike, he exudes a flurry of emotions and opinions. His collaborations with Duncan Mighty and Wande Coal are more lighthearted and danceable. Genres deftly explored on the album include UK drill, highlife, afrobeats, and rap.
On the final song, we are treated to a nostalgia-inducing collaboration with MI’s brother Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince just like on MI’s first two albums.
For those who do not know, Jude Lemfani Abaga aka MI Abaga is a revered veteran of the industry. He rose to prominence in 2006 when his song Crowd Mentality became popular in Jos, Nigeria.
His debut studio album Talk About It was released in 2008. The LP was succeeded by MI 2: The Movie (in 2010). Four years later, he released The Chairman as his third studio album. Abaga released the playlist Rendezvous in February 2018. In August of that year, he released his fourth studio album A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl.
His ability to make rap music while carrying the pop crowd along has always been one of MI’s strengths. On The Guy, he does it with the level expertise we have come to expect from him.