‘I Want to Find Value in Being Nigerian’ – M.I. Abaga
In a new interview with Ebuka Uchendu on Rubbin Minds, rapper MI Abaga dished on his role as the boss of the top record label, Chocolate City, their new sub-labels, the effect the economy has had on the music industry, and more.
On his relationship with Iceprince, he says, the rapper “is the easiest but also the most difficult person to deal with. He is so opinionated.”
And for his brother, Jesse Jagz, whose publicised breakup from Chocolate City a few years ago took social media by storm, Abaga says it isn’t as tensed as the media put it, that Jesse simply wanted to do certain things differently, and when he was ready to return to the fold, Choc City welcomed him with open arms. Today, the younger rapper is doing what he wants as the boss of Jagz Nation, a subsidiary of the mother label.
On if rap is dead in Nigeria, MI refuses, and names rappers who are successful in their endeavours – Olamide, Phyno.
However, Obi-Uchendu points out that the named artists are evolving like Drake; that they sing too, merging rap with pop.
“They are definitely rappers. None of them is going to win vocalists of the year,” MI says, adding, “Drake wants to be a singer and a rapper. But for the (Nigerian) guys, it is just new ways of expressing themselves. They are definitely rappers.”
On if he thinks that there is a dearth of talents in the country as people are moving on to the pop genre. MI explains that there are lesser A-Lists acts in the country, and this cuts across every genre. Not necessarily rap.
Asked if he feels fulfilled about his career, he says, “I am completely happy. I am like a kid in a candy shop, and looking forward to what’s going to come out of it and being excited about that. I am working on two or three albums.”
On if he feels he should have done international works, MI Abaga says, “I am very weird about the international thing. I am not interested at all. I am interested in building in Africa, in Nigeria. The biggest things we can do internationally is set up our business and our industry here.
“America is very funny,” he continues, revealing that when he joined the industry newly, fans said he should do more international collaborations. But he thinks differently.
“For you to be successful in America you have to be American. Their culture is so closed and complete. Nobody is going to listen to you talk about Las Gidi or J-Town in America. They want you to talk about 57th Street and New York. I don’t want to do that. I want to find value in being Nigerian. I want to find value in my language, neighbourhood and people. I am completely happy here.”
Watch the last of the interesting interview here, where MI Abaga talks more about his personal life and relationship:
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