M.I (Nigerian Rapper)
Posted by Eric Aghadiuno on
Jude was born in Jos Plateau State where he grew up with his parents, Mr and Mrs Abaga, both of Nigerian descent. He attended a Baptist High School(the same school which has graduated another top-notch upcoming rapper,Enoch Olalude, popularly known as Bugsi) where his mother purchased basic music notations and later, a 7-key mini piano which launched him into the music world. Jude has two brothers, Jesse Jagz who is also in the Nigerian and African music scene, and Jason Abaga. During Jude's adolescence, he would listen to tracks from Lauryn Hill, Robert Nesta Marley, Sarah Machlaclan, Pablo Neruda, Jay-Z and DMX.
Jude's venture in the Hip Hop world started with the sampling of musical works from DMX and Lauryn Hill as early as 1998. After his stint at Calvin College, Michigan, USA, he delved into Poetry while pursuing a career in Business and Economics. There, he performed regularly at the school's major Hip Hop shows and concerts. His impressive rap flows and attitude gained him a third place finish at the Calvin College show tagged 'HipHopera' in 2003, which was actually the only "hip hop show" that Calvin College ever had. M.I. also made some amateur attempts at comedy, but decided to stick to music because he was embarrassed when nobody laughed but him.
Jude began his music career when he returned to Nigeria in 2003. Finding his place in an industry dominated by the likes of Modenine, Ruggedman and Eedris Abdulkareem, he quickly commenced the production of mixtapes with his friend Djinee. This led to the critically acclaimed single "Safe", which has gathered impressive airplay by African radio and music video stations such as MTV Vibe. The track also earned him awards at the Nigerian Music Video Awards, City People, N.E.A amongst others.
The hype surrounding the release of Safe led to the critical acclaim given to his first studio album titled Let's Talk About It. The album gathered awards such as Musician of the Year (Modemen Awards in 2008), Best Hip Hop Artist (City People Awards)..His first mixtape was PYERIBOY .He later went on to bring out a sample mixtape ,ILLEGAL MUSIC,in which he fully exploits his lyrical prowess .
Back in Jos Nigeria, he teamed up with his brother,Jesse Jagz, IcePrince, Ruby, lindsay,Moses (Elbulk),E kelly to form a record label, called LOOPY records, and they perform every Sunday at an open bar, with a theme tagged Jam Session. M.I was later signed to the Chocolate City company, a renowned music label in Nigeria, which made him move from Jos city to the nation's capital Abuja and also influenced the beginning of his successful career in the Nigerian music industry. He has also received international recognition in South Africa from the popular Channel O music Award, MTVbase Awards and also the American BET Awards.. To most people Jude Abaga is known as the best lyricist Nigeria has seen. A proficient producer, lyricist, songwriter and instrumentalist, M.I has been described by DIV as the future of African Hip-Hop. He has produced and featured on the works of artists like, Don Jazzy, Kel, Djinee, Shifi (Style Plus), Jesse Jags, Ice Prince, Ruby, Lindsey, Leony e.t.c. He also runs a production company, Rytchus Era Productions with his brother Jesse Abaga (Jesse Jagz).
His popularity has quickly reached the youth of Nigeria as he has become one of the most critically acclaimed Nigerian artists, and has recently been compared to other artists like Naeto C, D'banj, 9ice and Mode 9.
Debut Album Talk About It (2008) features the hits
* Safe featuring Djinee
* Anoti featuring Gabriel
* Teaser featuring General Pype
* Crowd Mentality
* Fast Money Fast Cars featuring WizKid
* Money and other notable songs
Mixtape Illegal Music (2009)
* Pen (Gnarls Barkley sample)
* Drop it like it’s hot (Snoop Dogg sample)
* Gbono Feli Feli (D'banj sample)
* Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Kanye West sample)
* 99 Problems (Jay-Z sample)
* Am Illie (A millie – Lil Wayne sample)
* Choc Boyz (Roc Boyz – Jay-Z sample)
His current Album M.I 2 (2010) features the hits:
* Represent featuring Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince
* Nobody featuring Tu Face
* One Naira featuring Waje
DJ K.Blak of OrangeSlice describes M.I's flow as "easy going but packed full of punches". Similarities in styles have also been drawn to renowned rappers such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. Those who know M.I. well have also compared his ego with both that of Kanye West and Jay-Z.
- His first album sold 30,000 copies in the first 30 minutes of release (TJoe distributions December 2008)
- Hit singles include: Safe, Crowd mentality, Short black boy, Anoti, African Rapper No.1
- His second album, MI2: The Movie, is the highest selling album on the most popular musical Nigerian website –
- In the week of the second album release, November 2010, MI was number 7 trending topic globally on Twitter –
Nigerian Music Industry
M.I's role in the music industry cannot be overstated. He has been responsible for bringing out many upcoming artistes such as Wizkid, Jesse Jagz, Ruby, Pype, Ice Prince and the latest is Brymo. He has been described by many Nigerian Hip Hop fans as Nigerias Hip Hop Messiah MI has done a lot to bring a Northern presence to the Nigerian music industry, he is a perfect example of bring Nigeria together. His music is conscious; therefore he is a leader in many ways to the youth of Nigeria. He is the founder of Loopy Records, and he is signed to Chocolate City.
There has been a little rivalry between Nigerian artists, M.I. Abaga and Kelly Handsome. In the first open diss, M.I. in his track "Fast Money, Fast Cars" states, Kelly Handsome is handsome, I’ll tell him when I see him. But if i want a man, it’d be Keke or D1." From this they both have gone track for track with Kelly Handsome releasing "Catch Me If You Can", where he goes in on the whole Chocolate City label. In response, the Choc City camp released "Nobody Test Me" with a line from M.I talking directly to Kelly Handsome, (OR any other Kelly he had beef with at the time. Later, Kelly Handsome released "Chocolate Boys" Chocolate City members. M.I. released a track on his latest project, M.I.2 named "BEEF". With Kelly hearing this, has now brought out his latest track "FINISH YOU BOY". in 2009 a US based rapper by the name Iceberg Slim released a single titled Mr International where he said the lines Am I beter than M.I? I Don't know. Am i? Matter of fact you should ask M.I.That apparently didn’t sit too well with MI, prompting him to release a single known as Somebody wants to die featuring his label mate Ice Prince on the track. Less than 48 hrs after the release of MI’s "Somebody Want To Die" IceBerg Slim released "Assassination" and sources quote that his Facebook status at the time of the release read figures, since Somebody Wants To Die, I’ll be responsible for the Assassination’ …let the countdown begin…(I told em it would be a M.I.stake, but they didn’t listen).. M.I. released a track on his latest project, M.I.2 named BEEF which was his final reply to Iceberg Slim. There has been a contest in the mind of rap fans on who happens to be the best rapper in Nigeria presently, M.I has developed more fans than Iceberg Slim and has more hit records while Iceberg Slim has gained hearts on Nigerian rap fans in a very short and unusual period. None of these rappers have come out openly to declare or settle this beef talk, but Nigerian rap fans have their hands folded on what’s going to be next and obviously can’t wait for Iceberg Slim to drop his album.
M.I Awards and Nominations
* Best Rap Album 2009 –HipHop world Awards
* Hip Hop Revelation 2009 - HipHop World Awards
* Best New Act of the Year 2009 – Nigerian Entertainment Awards
* Best Rap Single 2008 - HipHop World Awards
* Musician of the Year– Modemen Awards 2008
* Best Hip Hop-MTV MAMA Awards 2009.
* Best New Act-MTV MAMA Awards 2009.
* Best Use of Special Effects in a video-NMVA 2009
* Best Mainstream Hiphop Video-NMVA 2009.
* Musician of the Year-The Future Awards 2010.
* Musician of the Year – City People 2010.
* Artist of the Year – National Daily 2010.
* Musician of the Year – Malaysian African Entertainments Awards 2010.
* Most Amiable Brand – Orange Wall of Fame 2010.
* Best New Act-MTV Africa Music Awards(MAMA) 2009
* Best Hip Hop-MTV Africa Music Awards(MAMA) 2009
* Best Rap Album-Hip Hop World Awards 2009
* Lyricist On The Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2009
* HipHop Revelation-Hip Hop World Awards 2009
* Musician of the Year-Modemen Awards 2008
* Lyricist On The Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2008
* Best Rap Single-Hip Hop World Awards 2008
* Next Rated- Hip Hop World Awards 2008
* Best Mainstream HipHop Video- Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
* Best Director(Mex)- Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
* Video of The Year-Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
* Best Use of Special Effects in a video-Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
* Musician of the Year-The Future Awards 2009
* Face Of Hope Ambassador- Face of Hope Nigeria Project.
* Best Rap Single-Hip Hop World Awards 2010
* Lyricist on the Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2010
* Best International Act- BET Awards 2010
* Artist of the Year- Diaspora Professionals, Dubai 2011
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