…Analysts and panelists,
Asking, can they handle this…
The microphone vandalist,
The Son of the evangelist…
People wondering who?
Who made Chocolate City bank account blue…
Well, It’s one short black dude,
From the city called J…
His real name? Jude ‘MI’ Abaga. Producer, Poet, baDAss Lyricist, Rapper (maybe we should just say: Musician!) is originally from Taraba State, Nigeria but was born and raised in Plateau State. Music runs deep in his blood he says, “If you don’t believe me, check out my brother Jesse Jagz…” Sighs* we would have to agree with him on that one. Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice.
He goes further, saying ” I started when I was just a little kid, my dad is a minister (an evangelist); obviously I got around music so I’ve done everything musically. I played in the band,I’ve been a DJ, I sang in the choir,I’ve been a music manager, producer,an artiste, back up singer. I’ve done everything, but I started rap when I came back to Nigeria in 2003 and some of my friends like Jeremiah Gyang were into music and stuff like that” Nuff said’, WRT sat with this bundle of talent to find out what makes him tick…enjoy!
WRT: What does MI mean?
MI: It does not mean anything. I got it from way back in secondary school, but people now call me Mr. Incredible, the cartoon character.
WRT: You won an award at the hip hop world awards and since then everything started moving on?
MI: Hip-hop World Awards was mad (in an amazing way). I was really excited to have won the best rap single. Although I didn’t get to win the car and people kept telling me that I should have won the car, I was like do you know what it means to win an award for the best rap song in Nigeria.
WRT: Any performance you cherish up till date?
MI: Rhythm Unplugged 2005 was a pretty big show for me. There is another one I did in Tanzania that had a huge international audience, those are my standout performances.
WRT: Your new single ‘Safe’ with Djinee is scorching hot and enjoying massive airplay. What inspired the song?
MI: While in the studio I was just joking with these lines: “The way you dey do me, crowd just dey pull me…” And I was like wow! That sounds good, so I opened my notebook and started writing the lines; it took like five minutes. We recorded in freestyle mode and after a while Djinee came and did one long verse; so we cut and mix and made a song out of it and to tell you the truth: we only gave out one copy but it’s all over the place. As 9ice says:” Na turn by turn!”.
WRT: Why Djinee?
MI: Djinee and I are close friends, when I first came to Lagos, he gave me a place to stay and stuff like that. He’s my man.
WRT: People say you sound like Lil Wayne, is it just people talking or is there any influence?
MI: Yeah there is some truth to that, not because I copy Lil Wayne but because Lil Wayne is hot right now and everybody is sort of biting into his flow. First they said I sounded like Kanye West when I did the song “Crowd Mentality”.
Part of it is this: people see you in relation to what they already know. However, I’m asthmatic and not a very fast rapper instead of saying it fast, I slow it down so it sounds like what Lil Wayne is doing. It bothers me on one hand because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to copy Lil Wayne, on the other hand I know I’m confident in my ability , I’m confident in my talent ‘cos I know I can create songs.
WRT: What’s happening with MTV Base Africa Advance Warning?
MI: It’s just about artistes showcasing themselves to give them exposure. I wasn’t going to do it, not until I saw artistes like Terry G, Durella and the likes. Please vote for me!
WRT: And what’s your relationship with the British council?
MI: Big thanks to British Council, they appointed me as a brand ambassador, which is good, these kinds of stuff normally goes to Dbanj. I’ve done a lot of work for British Council Nigeria; they just honored me with the Brand Ambassador.
WRT: Talking about entertainment in Nigeria, Lagos is where it happens. Have you finally relocated to Lagos?
MI: Since June this year. I’ve been in Lagos 24hr a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month.
WRT: Any plans to go back to the United States?
MI: The U.S.? No. I might go for shows but to leave Lagos, the only other place I could live apart from Lagos is London, because London as a lot of Lagos vibes and a lot of Nigerians there.
WRT: We know you are a producer as much as you are an artiste, but which other producers and artistes are you working with?
MI: My brother (Jesse Jagz) produced everything on my forthcoming album (title: Talk About It) except one track. I’m working with the likes of Da Grin, Pipe, YQ , Banky W, Wande Cole, 9ice etc.
WRT: Name one artiste you would really love to work with?
MI: A really crazy D’banj and MI collabo will be mad.
WRT: We were at your album listening party and we would love to thank you for bringing the whole rap/music thing back to its senses. Now, let’s hear it from you, what kind of album should we be expecting?
MI: I’m going to use four words to describe it:
2. Hot Cake
3. Timeless and
4. It’s going to be straight from my heart.
It’s a piece of me. Its two albums: one for Nigeria and one for the international market. The one for Nigeria will be out December 1st and the one for international market January 1st and a mix tape between those two. So watch out.
WRT: Let’s define what MI does. What kind of rapper would you call yourself?
MI: The Nigeria album is definitely main stream. I just rap and keep working on a song until it sounds good, I’m kinda experimenting, you know, some dance tracks for clubs and DJ’s. It’s all about hard work and being creative.
WRT: When not writing songs and not in the studio, what do you do?
MI: I play football, watch movies, hang out with my friends, I like laughing and playing pranks on people.
WRT: What kind of person is MI?
MI: I’m just a fun loving person.
WRT: What is the big deal between MI and Kel? You two have been spotted around town lately…
MI: Laughs. Where do you hear the gists from? Kel and I are just close friends, I just spoke about her now, we have a show in Abeokuta tomorrow and I’m working with her on a track. We are just close friends.
WRT: Any last words for your fans?
MI: One: MI is good music, buy MI music support good music. Be proud be black be beautiful. Two: werunthings.com runs things. It’s very important to know this because you might be looking for where they run things… it is good to go to werunthings.com because they run things.
WRT: Thanks for the shout man!
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