By Lolade Sowoolu
Heâ€™s the Incredible Short Black Boy whose deft lyrical delivery has got us all eating out of his palms. This young man whoâ€™s redefined rap music in Nigeria while making a fan of every young and old, stepped into the music scene last year September with the release of his 13-track debut titled â€˜Talk About Itâ€™ boasting hits like â€˜Safeâ€™, â€˜Moneyâ€™ and â€˜Anotiâ€™.
This humble pastorâ€™s son has forced back to rap school older rap stars with his incredible combo of swag, flow, rhymes, punch lines and creativity, practically teaching how rap music should be done and successfully too, without dissing or beefing. Born Jude Abaga, his only video, â€˜Safeâ€™ is the reason for this interview. Enjoy it.
How does one make a difference with oneâ€™sÂ video?
See, people need to stop thinking like â€˜ Okay, Iâ€™ve recorded my single, now I need to shoot my videoâ€™. Think instead like â€˜How do I make people feel what I feel about this thing (music)â€™? Donâ€™t just do a video because you need to do a video.
Make history. Make something amazing that people will remember for a long time. Just like Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and even Dâ€™banj. Besides hard work, you have to be humble.
What does humility have to do with getting to the top?
Humility … I donâ€™t know how to define it. It doesnâ€™t mean to be weak or false. Just realize that the people around you that you meet everyday are the same people that make you who you are. Their impression builds your career.
Letâ€™s talk about Safe.
Safe was a very spontaneous song. I had finished recording and was actually mixing another song when it came. I thought the song I was working on at that time was going to be the hit on my album.
But in the process of trying to make a song that talks about how Iâ€™m going to make this year,Â I made the song that made me make it. And thatâ€™s it- spontaneously.
So it wasnâ€™t deliberate. I was just working and it came in the process of doing something else. It was just a freestyle. It didnâ€™t even start with â€˜Do Meâ€™ (P-Square). It was either Wiskolowiska (Durellaâ€™s) or Yebariba Samboribobo (SauceKidâ€™s) that started it and I thought it would be nice to put them all in a song. So, jokingly I started using other peoplesâ€™ songs.
Before I knew it, everybody in the studio was like â€˜that would be ill (good)â€™. So I said, â€˜turn on the microphoneâ€™ and I just free styled. Now, when I say free style, note that what you hear on the CD is not the real version. We edited it.
And the Djinee collaboration…
I actually did not want to feature Djinee on the song. I had no intention of doing so. But then, he just kept free styling and then I heard this side of Djinee that I donâ€™t think anyoneâ€™s heard before. If you hear the rest of the song (the unedited version), youâ€™d be shocked. He (Djinee) was very angry, very militant. I just had to edit that part off. I wasnâ€™t even thinking whether it would be a single off the album; it just blew up. I thank God.
So, was it lyrics first…
I already had the beat for another song. I was done making that particular song and Safe lyrics just came using the same beat.
What exactly were you thinking when you set out to shoot its video?
I had nothing to do with the video. The video was shot by Mex Factor. I just told him I wanted to shoot a video. He showed me some ideas and I thought they were nice and he said â€˜show up this dayâ€™ and I came with a make-up artist. I stood in front of a green screen and I performed and that was it.
Two months later, he brought out the video and showed it to me. The video has done so well in Nigeria and South Africa. That is to show the kind of talent we have in Nigeria, talking about Mex. If you see some of the effects in that video, itâ€™s annoyingly stupendous.
Do we expect a new video soon?
Weâ€™ve shot â€˜Teaserâ€™. It was done by Godfather in South Africa. I think videos have ceased to be what they used to be. So many videos are being released and the songs are crap and together, they make no splash at all.
Would youÂ really advise Mo Hits right now to have brought out the â€˜Bumper to Bumperâ€™ video? The song is already big and has a life of its own. In fact, everybody already has a video of it in their heads. Sometimes, itâ€™s not the video. Itâ€™s the lyrics and passion in a song that makes it.
And there are some real good musicians who sing from their soul. So what do you need a video for? People can already see it (the video) with their eyes closed. â€˜Gongo Asoâ€™ video did nothing for 9ice that he hadnâ€™t already done for himself.
Besides, videos are expensive, so donâ€™t waste your money on them. Sing from your soul instead. Let your soul resonate on your track and people will love you, whether you have a video or not.
How are you able to get your rap to appeal to everyone?
I canâ€™t explain it. The problem with Hip Hop is probably that theyâ€™re having conversations that people donâ€™t care about.
I donâ€™t care about bling bling and you may not care about someone telling you he has a Bentley and heâ€™s driving to the club and heâ€™s so fly. But when somebody else can have a conversation with you that no matter no how things are… he draws you in.
So itâ€™s about identifying with people. â€˜Teaserâ€™ is probably the biggest club song on â€˜Talk About Itâ€™ but itâ€™s probably my least loved song because thereâ€™s little of M.I on that track. When I perform and I sing â€˜Moneyâ€™(Money slow to enter…), everybody shouts.
You may say I grew up a pastorâ€™s son but you have to be smart about your conversations. Make what people want to listen to you.
Whoâ€™s your biggest rap influence?
Jay-Z; I think heâ€™s the biggest rapper thatâ€™s ever breathed oxygen into his lungs. Kanye West and recently Lil Wayne. I sort of built my philosophy on Lauren Hill. But in terms of delivery, Iâ€™ve found out that I have to tell my own story.
Song of the week
Song Title: Safe
Song Producer: M.I
Artistes: Jude Abaga aka M.I ft. Djinee
Album Title: Talk About It
Djinee _ Spoken Intro
All these kpomo men nowâ€¦ Them be kpomo menâ€¦Woah!
Verse 1: M.I.
Yo! Itâ€™s the way that they do me [echo] (Are we safe right here?)
The way that they do me, Crowds used to boo me but now ladies woo me
Truly Iâ€™m sorry, sue me, Me, Iâ€™m a Loopy, Iâ€™m money long like Moony
Iâ€™m Looney like Tuney, your girl wish she knew me
My arms strong like Loony, and C. City blew me up
Yup, you can only watch like a movie, Ruby Iâ€™m a_ melt the game like a booby
People asking â€œWho he?â€, They call me M.I._er, just because Iâ€™m getting higher
Iâ€™m spitting fire, this written fire, Thereâ€™s no bull shitting Iâ€™m sitting on top, Naijaâ€™s rap messiah
I kill them Mama, them Papa, bring drama, end proper in coma, This rapper show_stopper, heâ€™s hotter
Top_shot, no other rap while Iâ€™m rendering, hear the words heâ€™s uttering, â€˜Cos other rappers stuttering
I rhyme am well, Iâ€™m not them, Iâ€™m hot, chill! Iâ€™ve got skill, The most incredible out of Naija, Iâ€™m on fire
Iâ€™ve got street credibility and he definitely flow infinitely and so intermittently
Ha! Plus, Iâ€™m a party rider â€˜cos I flow tighter so put up your lighter
MI be in the house and MCâ€™s they shall bounce and go home to their spouse
â€˜Cos to stay might be detrimental (mental), better flow better instrumental (mental)
You gotta learn the fundamental (mental) and my flow is so essential, essential, essential
Listen! Silence (Shh!!) is the best answer, not violence, Thatâ€™s why I bring war on the violins
This is Armageddon dog, hear the sirens, And no, I am not retiring
No, Iâ€™m never tiring, these lyrics that Iâ€™m firing, But donâ€™t be dismayed, â€˜cos Zenith Bank is hiring
For instance, thereâ€™s no resistance, The flow persistent and so consistent
Other rappers distant, they should have listened
Because Iâ€™m the engine room and the gear and the piston
Thereâ€™s no rest see, at best youâ€™re assisting, Iâ€™m what theyâ€™re missing, Iâ€™m why they listen
Iâ€™m the heart police dawg, Iâ€™m cardiac_arresting, The best thing and youâ€™re just microphone_testing
Hook /2cee _ Djinee
Are we safe right here?
You better run fi cover, na we dey right here
Hey! Where you dey when we dey chop kuli_kuli
Dey sell kpoli_kpoli, you dey form holy_holy
Verse 2: M. I.
Donâ€™t try me oh, C. City wanâ€™ eye me oh, And Iâ€™m rated highly oh, Heh! They call me M.I.
Listen yâ€™all, yo! Mo gbono feli feli, Iâ€™m spitting like Machiavelli
Iâ€™m always inside your telly, your lyrics are smelly_smelly
Iâ€™m chilling in Pelly Pelly, Iâ€™m chilli inside your belly
Rappers are really silly, you rappers Milli Vanilli, But nuffinâ€™ do me because I dey rhyme yo
Nothingâ€™s gonna rule me because I dey shine yo, shine yo
I know Iâ€™m so fine yo, Iâ€™ll blind yâ€™all with each rhyme yo
I move like a rhino, until we sitting on top, sitting spitting on top
Rappers spitting, they should stop, Itâ€™s real when I drop, your shit is gonna flop
You kickinâ€™ so sloppy, getting spanked by your Papi,
And you should know my P, they call me M.I., M.I., see
Iâ€™m rocking M.I. _ M.I.C. and my flow is so deadly, Whiskolo whiska, the incredible Mister
The top on the list_a, heâ€™s voted like Next_a, Loved by your sister, he maybe even kissed her
The brand new experience like Vista, Ebariba sanbori bobo
The ladies going loco when they hear his vocal, Rapâ€™s in a choke_hold
Other rappers local, they rap with a vocorder, Iâ€™m the koko
Other rappers so_called, Iâ€™m medicine for the game like Iâ€™m Procold
You canâ€™t deny, I give them what them wanting, And if youâ€™re still sitting down, youâ€™re on a long thing
And if thereâ€™s ever been a rap this fly, Yo, it hasnâ€™t been done by another M.I.
Hey! Hey! Why you dey run where you dey run, you think say you get liver
You come dey form like say you be that Arnold Schwarzenegger
Hey! You go talk the one you dey today
Today, today we go run you down you no know where you dey
Heh! We dey kill them, M.I. you dey treat them
Show them say this hip_hop music dey your system
Teach them, school them, if them f**k up, cane them
Oh! Them no know say, them no know say
You be Pyeri boy, I be B_side boy, We do run things eh! We dey run things oh!
Hey oh! Hey! Hey! Ihe ne me! Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Pack your load go, pack your load go, M.I. don come here hey!
M. I: Yo! Djinee in the house ladies and gentlemen
Djinee: We go run you down in your area, Think am oh!
Hey yo! We go run you down, Your Mama, your Papa
Na we dey right here oh
M. I.: Yo! And itâ€™s a wrap yâ€™allâ€¦