On Friday 6 March, self-acclaimed Chairman and Africa rapper number one MI Abaga gave us his new EP, Judah which is his number 10 project since he broke into the industry over a decade ago. The release came hours after he announced his departure from Chocolate City 13 years after joining the label of which he was CEO before his departure. He announced the formation of his own label, Incredible Music of which he released his current project Judah under. Ensued by the news twitter went agog. People from all around the Country congratulated his action and posted emotional tweets about the legend showing their love and appreciation over the course of his career and wishing him big things as he takes another step in his career.
The 8 track EP was produced by BeatsbyJay, Dose, Finito, Reinhard and MI Abaga himself. It does not feature regular names except for AQ who he features on The Trinity. The EP is another personal project from the rapper like his Yung Dxnzl: A Study on Self Worth album. The EP is made up of majorly Hip-Hop; Rap and Trap with elements of Soul, RnB and Country music . The music connoisseur arranges the tracklist in such a way that one track transcends to the other, explaining the last and throwing light and weight on it. The way he does this is worthy of admiration.
The Incredible Music boss starts off with The Parable about a Lion and a Mouse. He is the Lion in The Parable and according to the narrator, no one dared to enter the Lion’s Den until the Mouse entered. The Lion infuriated said “Who dares to enter my house” and the Mouse said “I beg you spare me today” and the Lion said “Mercy I grant you, be on your way”. The parable is accompanied by a calm instrumental that continues into The Lion, the second track on the album. This track explains the first track on the album The Parable, “King of the Jungle, are you ever weak?”, taking our minds back to when the Lion granted mercy to the Mouse which showed signs of weakness, “somewhere around the journey we lost our pride”. As the King of the Jungle he tries to carry the Cobs along but they later decide they want to rule themselves and he lets them go, “tell me what to do when the Cobs decide they gon rule themselves, you ever read Lord of the Flies?. Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize winning British author William Golding, in the book the young boys decide to disregard the sound of ‘the conch’, a shell found on the beach that symbolizes authority and followership. MI in a melodious voice, sings that after showing a lot of people the way to go they decide to leave him alone, “nobody knows the nights I cried, loyalty disappointed and love denied”. However later in the track he manages to pick himself up reiterating that he is still “The King of the Jungle” and he has to be strong. He says that they “can’t touch his spirit, they shoot at the flesh”. He comes for clout chasers calling them empty vessels that want to trend by bringing down his name. He then decides to say a short prayer invoking The Trinity, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost gimme blessings till I overdose, I got a lotta hittas, lot of foes but I’m the nigga that they owe the most”. He then indulges in some self-appraisal, “see I fathered the game go check the record books when rappers couldn’t get DJ’s to play em like the second hooks”. He then talks about being the bridge that holds the rap culture in place as people are steady plotting the downfall of the culture. AQ, his protégé then comes in hard bragging “I been around since time created Dinosaurs”. He throws shots at some rappers calling them ‘false prophets’ and pretenders, “they don’t paint no pictures, they photoshopping and cropping em, the day of reckoning is when we come for em”. MI echoes the line as AQ passes the baton over to him bearing similarities with the way Kanye West’s protégé, Big Sean passed it over to him in All Your Fault. MI starts spitting again saying “incompetent artists, labels and managers I covered em all without my sacrifice they walk away they stumble and fall”. He reiterates his claim that he paved the way, “I died a couple times so you could flourish, gave you love and I encouraged but damn it your heart is porous”, he states that since they left him they are not soaring as much as they used to when they were under him. He calls himself the ‘Son of Man’ and states he didn’t do anything bad to anyone, “I didn’t do you no evil nigga, the only evil is you”. At the end of the song he once again invokes The Trinity. He covers the next song in ‘The Blood of MI’, as he had previously declared himself ‘The Son of Man’. The Blood is a sample of Femcee Dej Loaf’s Blood released in 2014, the instrumental MI flows on is also a sample of the instrumental Dej used in Blood. This joint actually drove me to premium tears. MI talks about his love for his family and friends and he feels that his family should have the same love for him, “point a gun at me you point a gun at all my blood”. He points out the fact that situations expose people, “he went ghost when I needed him most, so for those who would dare I raise a toast, my blood”. He goes further to say that one might claim to be your ‘blood’ but that is just mere talk and it should be proven through a ‘blood test’. ‘Blood test’ here doesn’t actually mean DNA or evidence of some sort it means, if you claim to be my friend you should be able to show it or as the young boys will say nowadays “show me love”. Towards the end of the song a voice is heard talking about the importance of being a ‘real friend’ and not a ‘casual friend’. There is also a reference to what Jesus Christ said in John 15:13 of the Bible, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. He goes on to state The Commandment that everyone should live by that is “Never ever f**k with any f**k boy”. ‘F**k boy’ in this sense is addressing fake friends. The message here is similar to that passed across in The Blood, “blood blood blood, you say you blood to me but that don’t mean none to me except you can show it to me”. He shows us ways to point out fake friends, ‘f**k boys’. Buckyraw comes in bragging on the remaining part of the track but also throws light on what MI said about being fake when he says “I’m industry number one hated cos I don’t fake it”. The Sacrifice is another song on the album talking about heartbreak. Although this type of heartbreak is different from the other types of heartbreak he has been talking about on the project which is heartbreak from friends and family, which he addresses in The Lion, The Blood and The Commandment. This song talks about the heartbreak from a lover “if you love someone let em go I know, just that I have travelled many roads for you”, “very soon you would see that I was the best thing”. There is a reoccurring voice from his lover saying “I have loved you like I have never loved anyone before”. Nawe, who is featured on the track and who seems to be a long-time friend of the rapper digresses from this and talks about the type of love MI has been preaching about in his other tracks. She says that she respects the fact that MI took along his community from Jos with him to Lagos to prosper in their individual music careers. These people include the likes of Ice Prince, Yung L and Jesse Jagz who were with him in Jos and who were signed to Chocolate City at one time or the other. It’s this same people that he says left him in The Lion after paving the way for them to make it. The Lion of The Tribe of Judah thereafter proceeds to drop the deep messages and give thanks to his fans. The Tribe, the number 7 song in the EP refers to his fans. He thanks them for all they have done to aid his career since his come up. He promises to drop 6 more albums before he retires, “6 more albums then I’m gonna be down to the last one”. He calls his fans a ‘rare specie’ because they are always loyal to him and even when he disappears “they do not care”. He features a hardcore fan on the track in the person of Alpha Ojini who doesn’t waste time to declare that he is a member of The Tribe, “I’m part of The Tribe”. He recalls listening to MI’s first mixtape Illegal Music “back to back” in 2008 and he was “up all night” like “who be this guy”. He promised himself that he would work his way up to meet him and he eventually got to meet him and they made music together. He finds it hard to believe that it is a reality, “mehn I can’t even explain this shit its so so real right now”. He continues to shower praises on the self-acclaimed Chairman saying he is the “biggest rapper in Africa”. Finally, on the eight track on the album, MI calls himself The Warrior which is an attribute of The Lion who always invokes The Trinity and does not spill The Blood of his fellow man whilst keeping The Commandment of the most high, making The Sacrifice to ensure the safety and security of The Tribe
MI addresses a lot of things on the EP, which range from betrayal, love, kingship and heartbreak. It does not include politics or lust for a girl’s body or position which makes it a personal one. He attempts to exorcise his demons through the project and begin a new course through life.by Cephas Oboh