By Osagie Alonge
ALBUM: MI2 The Movie
RECORD LABEL: Chocolate City Records
DISTRIBUTED BY: AHBU Ventures
Jude Abaga appeared on the music scene a couple of years ago with a single called “Crowd Mentality” which was filled with conscious but witty lyrics. A few years passed by then he released his debut album, “Talk about It” which pretty much towed along with the style of his first single. The success of the album paved way for a new style of Nigerian rap; easy on the words heavy on the style and delivery, a formula which M.I quickly found out to woo his audience to a fixed state.
So, after a successful album, numerous cameos, multiple awards and even a BET feature and nomination, why not stick to a winning formula? At best one could even increase the dose or better yet alter it to produce a more potent force since the public ear will take anything from the rising champ. Hence, MI2 The Movie: A spin off of the popular Tom Cruise movie ‘Mission Impossible’ which perfectly fits into M.I’s musical context. And so, the album concept is that M.I plays a character of the protagonist and every artiste feature is a co-starring role. Let’s go in…..
From an intro which best befits the concept but is rather too long, M.I establishes his character which will go all the way throughout the album. Starting with a very energetic tune with new R&B kid Brymo “Action film” has got you swaying from side to side as M.I declares his accomplishments and grand return with lines like “back with a banger/for the hood for the streets for the zanga/the return of the microphone handler/came back to set a new standard”, his delivery stays intact as Brymo laces the hook with laudable vocals. M.I moves onto something more subtle with “Slow Down”, characterizing and beautifying a faceless female.
As the album goes on, M.I slows down the tempo with songs like “Number 1” where he brilliantly blends his hip-hop style with the highlife genre sung by Flavour. Also on “Anybody”, M.I calls on Timaya and Loose kaynon to air out their views on the ‘hate’ the ‘fame’ acquires. With lines like “some people love me, some people jealous me/some people wanna put poison in my Hennessey…./…I’m just spitting my flow, I’m just trying to grow/life is bi-sexual, anybody can blow”, coupled with excellent verse from Timaya and even Loose, it’s quite clear that the Short Black Boy isn’t entirely happy with the way he has been treated ever since his new found fame arrived. This story continues with “Nobody”, a duet with Tuface Idibia where M.I tows the same line of the previous track overemphasizing the subject but Tuface’s vocals make it a must listen.
They say if a goat is pushed to the wall and has nowhere to go, it’ll fight back. That’s what M.I does immediately as he goes in hard on “Beef” but instead of boisterously dropping lines, M.I playfully takes down any opponent that has been tearing scratches at him, dropping lines like “See them see them they wanna beef me/ now that they see BET on my CV/now that I’m frequently on the TV…” and finally responds to his ‘frenemy’ Iceberg Slim while ridiculing his ever present pest Kelly Hansome when he spits “…they know using my name will help them sell some, so Iceberg it’s alright you’re welcome/but I’m not In their league help me tell them, the Super Eagles don’t play against the Falcons/ see wor-wor pikin (Ugly child) dey form handsome, Kelechukwu clap for yourself welldone”.
The album takes on another path as “Wild Wild West” portrays the ills and sudden unrest in Judo’s hometown Jos. “Craze” also depicts the current deforming situation of the country, as M.I relates his disgust for corruption but would have done better on a subtle beat and less incoherent chorus. But M.I bounces back with the very melodious “My Head My Belle”, still sticking to the everyday norms of the society, a high point of the album this is.
All through the album, M.I makes it clear that he’s sticking to his musical side with use of local drum loop patterns and congas mixed with melodious strings inviting other genres into the hip-hop theme. A song like “Epic” perfectly describes this as the crescendo increases while the song moves steadily as Praise ups the tempo with blissful chants.
Moving on, “Undisputed” shows the Short Black Boy show off his self acclaimed title, describing his present reign as untouchable. “One Naira” without a doubt brings a softer side of M.I as he assures a companion with lines like “hey princess, I’m so into you/ ‘cause you see pass what my revenue is/ and love me for me, clever you/leave you that is something I’ll never do…” while Waje brilliantly croons out the chorus.
And to wrap it up “Represent” with Choc Comrades; Jesse Jagz and Iceprince and newbie Brymo has M.I easily taking out the first two with energetic vibes as Jesse and Iceprince fail to deliver.
Conclusively, M.I might not be the most lyrically dexterous Nigerian rapper out there; the words might not always come strong (with lines like “…cause I’m Championship like Inter”, “i’ll follow you like three blind mices”) but the strong attitude and musical concept of MI2 stays intact from start to finish.
ALBUM RATING: 4/5