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Friday, 5 June 2009

Naija’s Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)
A strong review of Naija albums
25/05/2009 Oyebowale ‘oyeakd’ Akideinde

GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: Chocolate City
Year of release: 2008

1. An Outrageous Intro (skit ft The President)
2. Anoti ft Gabriel
3. L Boogie Intro (skit)
4. Short Black Boy
5. Teaser ft Pype
6. Talk about It ft Leony
7. Safe ft Djinee
8. Random Guy Buying (skit)
9. Blaze ft Jesse Jags, Ice Prince & Blaise
10. Area ft YQ
11. Fast Money Fast Cars ft Wizkid
12. A Short Discussion (skit)
13. Money
14. Forever
15. Jehovah ft Eben & Lindsey
16. Hustle
17. Thank You’s & Ova Ish (skit)
18. Crowd Mentality

The Album is called TALK ABOUT IT so let’s talk about this 13 track scorcher which includes 5 unforgettable skits that this lyrical & very versatile short black boy who lives in Jos, Plateau State delivers along with his brother Jesse Jags (let’s not forget now, Kraft also produces a track)

The Naija Hip-hop scene was getting stale with the same old ‘bum shaking’ & ‘dollar making’ tracks. Along came an artist like no other willing to change the game; very versatile …we 1st heard him on his single – Crowd Mentality from his 1st album – Pyeri Boy (Yes boss, this is his sophomore album) sounding like a revolutionary ready to shake up Naija’s Hip-Hop scene. We waited patiently for him and he didn’t disappoint with his much anticipated album.
Jude Abaga better known as ‘M.I. (Mr Incredible)’ turns the game upside down; not your typical Naija emcee, MI is a true story teller with an effortless laid back flow, smart delivery, punch-lines and crazy rhymes.

After his brief skit with Mr President asking if ‘we go feel am’, M.I. explodes into the hard beat-driven “Anoti”. This UNBEATABLE track goes hard from the moment the beats drop, introducing himself before he spits bars with the opening lines “They call me MI with a brand new jam/brand new song/brand new feeling I can’t go wrong/It’s the incredible Mr/fast & fury coming thru your transistor/Saw this sista…” and proceeds to deliver the rhymes in a manner that is unparalleled in Naija Hip Hop today. His style shifts and changes on the drop of a dime and he works his breath control effortlessly "I got the magic static/I got the chrome automatic/so systematic/you ready/for this so melodic/neurotic/chronic/so supersonic/bionic/u could get on it ". He doesn’t slow up after “Anoti”; instead he proceeds to accelerate his craft on each and every track. He lays it all on the line on “Short Black Boy” that’s laced with a soft bumping beat which allows you to hear delivery after delivery of his lyrical depth; combines effortlessly with Pype on the ragga infused “Teaser” to spit more venom “Hello mamacita/You’re a sexy chicka/I’m a gal teaser/so babe let me please ya” and takes it home on “Talk about it” where he talks about the ish, crows about our Government along with Leony.

He then decides to integrate all the current Naija hits into one head-nodding “Safe” where Djinee practically laces on his melodious voice to make this track an instant classic; drops Party tracks for the DJs “Area” ft YQ and “Fast Cars” ft Wizkid. With an album this good, he can’t but give thanks to his Creator in the sweet sounding “Jehovah” which features Eben & Lindsey

Talk about It would probably take forever to discuss each track (even the skits are good), what is even more astonishing is that I didn’t skip a single track. With a wide range of featured artists (The popular Djinee & YQ to the less known Pype & Ice Prince) who don’t crowd the album but rather complement the album giving the tracks they are on, special tune-ups. MI uses his creative genius to take us on a journey of narration only found amongst the US artists (Slick Rick, Jay Z, Biggie, Nas, Rakim & Mos Def). Mad props to him; never thought I would be comparing a Nigerian artist to my fave emcees.

And what would a lyrical emcee be without the perfect production? MI, his brother - Jesse and the Executive Producer – Audu Maikori are able to create a sound haven in Chocolate City that captures the essence of MI’s being without the use of big-name producers for sure shot hits (with the exception of the Kraft-assisted “Fast Money Fast cars”). It’s a “risk” to create an album with this much anticipation without the big names, but the producers do much more than just hold their own as they support this short black boy’s style extraordinarily well.

Outstanding Tracks: Anoti, Area, Teaser, Hustle, Safe, Short Black Boy
Disappointing Tracks: None

VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 9/10
ACCEPTANCE: 5/10 (unfortunately only about 30% of the Nigerian Population is into Hip-Hop but I expect about 20% or more to be converted once they listen to this album)
LYRICS: 9/10
RHYTHM: 9/10

MI isn’t ahead of his time, it’s what the Game’s been yearning - the day that someone will take Naija Hip Hop upon their shoulders and heave it into the next level, fear not because the future is here and he comes in the form of Jude Abaga known to us as M।I.

This album is an instant CLASSIC. Only sore point is the CD Jacket which is just like the rest of Naija Jackets …Cheap & Tacky. Guess he decided to play safe with that one.

1 comment:

  1. Oye, I dey feel you. Knowing how deep your preference for good Hip Hop music is I trust you judgement on the two abulms you have reviewed so far. I never knew you'll intrested in Naija Hip Hop because I know you have huge collections of dope American Hip Hop music in your electronic library and your favourite artiste are B.IG, Jay Z and the other big time playaz. These Naija guys must have impressed you. Please keep it up and stay unbiassed in you reviews. Cheers, Femi.