m.i abaga

Alpha Ojini’s ‘Pop’ Is A Sizzling Trap Cut Without The Mumble

Amidst the earsplitting noise surrounding the M.IVector beef reignited by Vector’s latest jab, ‘Judas The Rat‘, Alpha Ojini gave us the first taste of the material he has been working on since last December. Earlier today, the multitalented rapper dished out a new number titled ‘Pop‘, his first offering since his celebratory ‘Madagascar‘ freestyle. This release officially kicks off the rollout of his sophomore album, “Chvmeleon,” which is set to be released in just a matter of weeks.

Just two days ago, he announced the released date and also revealed the mouthwatering tracklist featuring appearances from M.I Abaga, Ghost of SDC, Oxlade, Blaqbonez, and more. Apparently, ‘Pop‘ is only one of five tracks off the 14-track album on which Alpha appears solo.

On this self-produced record, Alpha is simply just having fun. Confidence and enthusiasm radiate throughout the dazzling production with a dominant trap bounce, as he employs cheeky and goofy bars enwrapped in prodigal wordplay. True to its name, ‘Pop‘ is a bop to kick off your weekend, and definitely one to keep us on our toes for the arrival of the imminent tape. Remember, “Chvmeleon” drops on Friday, November 11.

Listen to the single above and let us know what you think.

 

Alpha Ojini Is Bringing Along M.I Abaga, Ghost, GoodGirl LA, Ycee, Oxlade And More On “Chvmeleon”

Even if you do not know Alpha Ojini by name, you must have come across his work one way or another. Remember that sweet-toned “Focus” voice tag you hear at the end of most of your favourite 2019 rap songs? Yeah, that’s Alpha’s tagline for his sound engineering outfit.

A bundle of talents, Alpha is also a producer and a rapper – and he’s absolutely great at both. In fact, he was recently nominated in the Best Rap Single category of the 2019 Headies for his joint with Payper Corleone, ‘Sacrifices‘, one of the highlights off Payper’s stellar tape, “Fly Gangstar From The 90s.”

And now, it’s even more good news from Alpha as he announces the release of his sophomore album, “Chvmeleon,” which has been in the works since December last year. This is would be a follow-up to his well-received debut, “Half Price” that housed standouts like ‘Ocean Boy‘, ‘Ludo‘ and the cheeky ‘Yahooboy Muzik‘.

According to his recent tweet, this new album is scheduled for release on Friday, November 1st and it boasts a mouth-watering round of features, with appearances from some of the best wordsmiths in the game at the moment. On this self-produced project, Alpha is bringing along an a-team of M.I Abaga, Ghost (SDC), Paybac, Blaqbonez, Psycho YP, Ycee, Bella Alubo, Oxlade, Goodgirl LA and Kemi Smallz.

Now, tell me you’re not excited?

M.I Abaga Replies Vector On ‘The Viper’

Just a few hours after celebrating his 38th birthday, M.I Abaga has finally given his fans what they’ve been demanding for the past two weeks; his reply to Vector‘s ‘The Purge‘. The former Chocolate City boss finally makes good of his “seismic event” promise on the Martell Cypher 2 with this much-awaited diss track aptly titled ‘The Viper‘.

This is also the first track off M.I’s new “Judah” EP, scheduled for release on Wednesday, October 9. This 5-track project finds the rap veteran bringing along some of the sharpest MCs in the game at the moment, Blaqbonez, Alpha Ojini, Kauna,Buckyraw and Nawe.

Tracklist For "Judah" (Twitter/MI_Abaga)

Tracklist For Judah

Over a gloomy and ominous self-prouced beat, a calm and collected M.I comes through with witty rebuttals of Vector’s previous jabs on ‘The Purge’ and ‘Tetracycling‘ while also coming through with blunt and brutal shot that might just be fatal.

M.I also accompanied this release with a personal message directed at the Lafiaji rapper where he accuses Vector of being a selfish, jealous and envious “snake.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Viper The Viper has hated me for years as is its inevitable nature. The serpent has been thus since the beginning of time. Would always smile in my face but I could smell the envy and bitterness. Whatever he may use as his excuse for his career long actions it is simply jealousy beneath it all. This is why his career has never quite taken off and he has never lived up to his obvious potential. Search my tweets, or interviews you will see me praising him over the years, how come he has never said one good thing about me.. ever. Instead of responding in hate I have chosen to give the snake the secret to my success.. ‘help people’. You are the only rapper that has done nothing to bring anyone else up.. from your first producer LayLow to your former manager Michael (who now works for CC btw) to AQ your friend that year.. all you do is use people.. Olamide has given so many a platform, Ice Prince the same, Falz just an all round angel, Reminisce bringing up young legends.. don’t even compare yourself to me.. I am a fucking industry on my own!! see this is why you have always been a tier beneath the rap aristocracy! Because you are a jealous and envious person. Your fans are great sha.. because despite it they love you so much.. I pray you open your heart and let the message from God through me in.. it is time for you to live up to your full potential.. to enlarge your coast my son..enlarge your heart ♥️your music brand and career will blossom.. The VIPER available on my Youtube page – MI Abaga Link in Bio

A post shared by mi_abaga (@mi_abaga) on Oct 5, 2019 at 4:00am PDT

Check out ‘The Viper‘ above and let us know if you think this is the killshot.

Vector Comes For M.I Yet Again On ‘Tetracycling’ Freestyle

Exactly a week after teaming up with Vader the Wildcard and Payper Corleone to reply the L.A.MB Martell Cypher 2 on ‘The Purge‘, Vector tha Viper has released yet another diss track for M.I Abaga titled ‘Tetracycling‘.

This comes as a surprise to many as they expected that the next voice in this battle would be M.I’s, aiming the kill shot at Vector with his reply for ‘The Purge‘. But Vector doesn’t seem to be done yet. Over this freestyle he tags a “warning shot”, he takes direct shots at the former Chocolate City boss hoping to strike the deathblow.

With this back-to-back diss, it feels like an M.I reply is imminent, because, hip-hop is quite unforgiving to those perceived as craven. But M.I is never one to run from a fight so I guess it’s just a matter of time.

Listen to this new diss track and tell us if this is a hit or miss.

Vader The Wildcard, Vector and Payper Corleone Come For Blood On ‘The Purge’

Vector tha Viper, Vader the Wildcard and Payper Corleone have come together for what they tag a ‘Masterclass Cypher’ to deliver a sizzling response to the week-old Martell Cypher 2 titled ‘The Purge‘.

With the opening verse, Vader the Wildcard recounts what down at the PGM Radio Show when Blaqbonez was challenged to defend his ‘BRIA‘ claim and he bailed, led by his label boss, A-Q. The rapper also addressed some of Blaq’s shots and also had enough rounds for his label execs.

A war-ready Payper Corleone, on the other hand, makes a good statement as to why his one of the most lyrical rappers in the game at the moment. Relaxed and assertive, he had enough shots for all the rappers with targets on their backs.

Coming through with a brutal closer, Vector tha Viper minces no words as he is in full battle mode, launching missiles at the former Chocolate City boss. Vector raps “But how do you go from Lebron to becoming a chairman this is insane” as he comes for M.I’s legacy with pristine bars for over two minutes.  This cypher, no doubt, delievers on an unsaid promise: it provides the rock-hard reply for the Martell Cyphers we have all been waiting for, giving the LAMB rappers a run for their money and could even be leaving them in body bags. LAMB-Martell, your move.

Listen yourself and let us know which cypher you think is better.

M.I, A-Q, Loose Kaynon & Blaqbonez Rain Hailstones In New Martell Cypher

Even though A-Q stole the show at the first instalment of the LAMB Martell Cypher, M.I‘s words were more profound. In his closing verse, the veteran suggested a team-up again with Loose Kaynon, A-Q and other lyrical titans “who deliver product” and make the cypher episodic. Well, exactly nine months after what will go down as one of the 2019 highlights of Nigerian hip-hop, Martell Cypher 2, ‘The Purification‘ is finally here. And although we expected this second instalment to feature new faces in the lineup, we still can’t complain.

This comes just about a month after the Hennesy Cyphers which was released to middling success. M.I had previously taken jabs at them in the first Martell Cypher that has recorded about half-a-million views on Youtube,  and he is back to show them how things are done. It also comes in the wake of the combative air in the hip-hop community following Blaqbonez’s controversial “best rapper in Africa (BRIA)” declaration.

This new cypher finds the LAMB rappers, Blaqbonez, A-Q, Loose Kaynon and M.I all suited up at the bar flexing lyrical muscles over the laid-back beat. Blunt and brutal, all four rappers come through with their braggadocio rap, whilst launching projector missiles at random targets. In his verse, M.I also paid respect to the late hip-hop legend, B-Elect

Enjoy the cypher above.

One Year After: Revisiting M.I Abaga’s “Yxng Dxnzl”

M.I was on a mission. Alongside Loose Kaynon, A-Q and Blaqbonez, the self-ascribed rap messiah decided to take on a noble quest to force a re-awakening for Nigerian hip-hop; a once-celebrated genre now relegated to the background.

Probably taking a cue from the Kanye-led 5-album Wyoming releases, these rappers came together under the acronym L.A.M.B -coined out from the first letters from their names- to stage a series of album releases in August 2018. Tagged the LAMB August releases, albums “Crown“, “Yung Denzl” and “Bad Boy Blaq” were the projects with which these rappers sought to restore and ensure the survival of the culture. 

All three projects were executive produced by M.I himself.

Exactly a year ago today, we got our hands on the long-teased and highly anticipated fourth studio album by Mr Incredible, “Yung Denzl,” the second offering in the string of the LAMB August rollout. But that was not his only release last year. 

A few months earlier, the revered rapper had released a highly collaborative surprise ‘playlist’ titled “Rendezvous,” which boasted appearances from an all-star cast including  AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Wande Coal, Ghost(SDC), and also introduced us to talents like Chillz. This dual 2018 release was perhaps in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his 2008 classic, “Talk About It,” his debut and introductory release which many claim to have ‘democratized’ Nigerian hip-hop.

A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl” would be the first of a said three-album series that would include yet-to-be-released LPs, “A Study of Love” and “A Study of Society”. However, despite the anticipation for the project, the exhilaration surrounding it faded rather quickly for a project of such quality. This could have been as a result of the fact that unlike his last two albums, “Yung Denzl” did not rely on pop or radio-friendly formulas as he explored and experimented new sonic complexities on the album. Also, regardless of the laudable acclaim it got from critics, a huge number of listeners found it a bit too sombre, with some dismissing it as “TED Talk music“.  The promotion for the album was also rather deficient – perhaps in an effort not to eclipse “Crown” and “Bad Boy Blaq” given his huge star power- such that even a year later, we still haven’t gotten any visuals off the project despite rumours of its existence. 

This, however, takes nothing from the brilliance of the project. Well-timed, M.I lent his voice to the growing awareness about mental health and self-worth in the country. Over ten songs, he explored in several layers issues like self-doubt, low self-esteem and even more extremely, depression that many youths are battling in silence. A year later, this album is relevant as ever, spurring conversations in small corners. It might not seem like much, but the album is doing its bit.

He passed his messages not only through verses and hooks but also with fiery monologues and therapy sessions alongside the music to get his message across. Soundbites from his therapy sessions were prevalent throughout the album often coming at the end of a track, serving as a prelude to another. By putting his vulnerability out there, he shows fans and listeners that it’s okay to seek help when you need it.

For the most part, M.I works with a wealth of young talents on the album, shedding the spotlight on these acts and in turn tapping into their talents, sound and raw energy. A number of them like Odunsi, Lady Donli and Tay Iwar have gone on to drop their debut albums.

The album opens with a gruff whisper questioning our sense of identity, “do you know who you are?” it asks. Sticking to a simple rhyme scheme, M.I charges the black man to begin his journey to self-awareness and discovery.

On songs like ‘Last Night I Had A Dream’, ‘Stop Never Second Guess Yourself’ and ‘I Believe In You‘, M.I is concerned about our self-confidence, repeatedly nudging us to let go of our insecurities and self-doubt and find comfort in our skin.

Love Never Fails‘ reflects on missteps taken to check mental health in this part of the world largely as a result of culture and religion-induced ignorance.

Perhaps the most pop-leaning record on the album, ‘+/-‘ finds M.I alongside Odunsi and Lady Donli -new-gen frontliners- ridding themselves of all negativity vibes, focusing solely on the positives. 

In full elder statesman mode, M.I attempts to force a change with ‘You Rappers Should Fix Up’, fuming at the sorry state of the art. And say what you will about this record, it’s inarguable that it defibrillated a pulse back into the Nigerian hip-hop scene howbeit temporal.  

The penultimate track, ‘Self Evaluation Over Yxng Dxzl’ is the standout record off this project. Over a gloomy instrumental,  M.I drowns in darkness, picking up escapist vices to numb the pain. He does a good job taking a first-person narrative on the song putting himself in the shoes of a depressed creative, despite revealing that he actually hasn’t had a personal experience.

Picking up where he left off on ‘Everything’ off “Illegal Music 3“, M.I in ‘Do Not Be a Groupie‘ emphasises the importance of loyalty while decrying the deterioration of the virtue in today’s world, an issue he still touched on in his verse on SDC‘s ‘Respect, Loyalty and Honour‘.

It’s been one year since the “Yung Denzl” dropped and it’s still as relevant as ever. The LAMB August releases might not have saved Nigerian hip-hop but with this album, the legacy-focused veteran did something much more remarkable. In his mature and most refined self, he contributed to the growing awareness about our psychological well-being, a theme that rappers have come to be more open about this past year.  It is therefore needless to say that while Yung Denzl might not be his best or most popular album, it is by far the most important.

Best Rapper In Africa Or Nah: What’s Next For Nigerian Hip-hop?

Immediately Blaqbonez crowned himself the best rapper in Africa, all hell broke loose on Nigerian hip-hop. The  100 Crowns rapper first made this audacious claim in the maiden edition of the AKtivated Sessions titled ‘Best Rapper In Africa and the reaction was volcanic.  The hip-hop community quickly spiralled into long polarising debates over the validity of Blaq’s claims. While some admired his confidence and assertiveness, others dismissed him as a nuisance and an attention seeker who had nothing to back such daring claim. 

If attention was the goal, Blaqbonez definitely got it.

The debates further diffused into claims and counterclaims, diss tracks flying around with not-so-subliminal shots, directed at the rapper and his associates. After a couple of weeks, the pink-haired rapper reaffirmed his claim in his latest release ‘Best Rapper In Africa’ where he took aim at rappers like TenTik, Holyfield and also called out some of his colleagues for being craven. This, in turn, generated swift responses from Payper Corleone, VaderDavid Meli and many others. Even the OGs aren’t left out of the frenzy as a video surfaced of AQ, Loose Kaynon and SDC’s Ghost in a heated debate on who was a better rapper. 

And all this just mean one thing to the fans, excitement. 

The last time Nigerian hip-hop got its fans this elated was in February when the scorching LAMB-Martell Cypher dropped. The culture has always thrived on competition and with projector missiles flying all around,  fans are ravishing in euphoria right now. It’s a common saying that when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. But in hip hop, when rappers square against each other, the only true winners are the fans.  But sadly, the euphoria is going to wear off soon. People are bound to move on. And when they do, what is left?

Nigerian hip-hop has been in a sorry state for years now and despite the several efforts being made for its rejuvenation, the future isn’t looking too bright yet. And this is not for a lack of talent – after all, we can boast of some of the best rappers on the continent – or creativity. Regardless,  it seems Nigerians have just moved on to drown their pain and realities in afrobeats. Enough has been said on what hip-hop needs to get itself on its feet again. Multiple articles have been written, plans drafted, discussions had and more. 

If not optimized, this excitement and attention Nigerian rap and rappers are getting at the moment will fizzle out back to where we started. But some things can be done to sustain some of the eyes and ears that have been captured in this whole episode for the good of the culture. 

To start with, Nigerian rappers simply need to put out good music. That’s where it all starts from, the music. The problem is that many are still stuck in the ‘golden days’ and as such have refused to evolve with the times. Each age has its demands. Some are stuck on 90s-type boom-bap beats all in the name of keeping it real, and then turn around to guilt-trip the fans and media for lack of support when the record simply doesn’t pop. This was what Blaq had in mind when he rapped “If the music ain’t good it ain’t moving/ Your aesthetics will not replace the music.

Snap out of your obsession with the past. Listen, research and understand the sonic demands of the times and let that influence how you make music. The music world today is big on bending and fusing/melding genres. The lines between genres are so blurry today that they might as well be nonexistent. Experiment with other sounds that appeals to new audiences. Approach other genres from a rap perspective. 

Show Dem Camp did this with Palm Wine Music to positive results. The move has been commercially rewarding as they have registered new fans who might have not even heard of their Clone Wars series. They’ve also held two Palmwine music festivals -which recorded impressive numbers – and are even about to take the festival to the UK.  Other rappers like Blaqbonez, Ladipoe, as well as the Lost And Found on their last tape have been fusing rap with other genres and it has been rewarding. Falz’s seminal album, “Moral Instruction” was heavily inspired sonically and thematically by Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

This is also one of the major reasons why the so-called indigenous or local rappers are more commercially successful. These guys can make music in a way that resonates with a wide scope of audience. They rap in their local dialects laced with street lingo thereby making their lyrics more relatable and easy to understand, as well as meddling rap with dance music and even introducing dance steps to go along with it. Zlatan is the poster boy for the wide-ranging Zanku dance and its accompanying sound and he is undeniably Naija’s hottest rapper at the moment. 

Rappers also have to learn to step out of their shell and work with others. While friendly competition is healthy, there is so much more that can be gained from working together. 

Nigerian rappers should be always ready to join forces with one another and synergize over records, projects and even concerts. Collaborations shouldn’t also be limited within the hip-hop circle. Rappers can reach out to acts from other genres like the alte community, soul singers and afrobeat and even Afropop. Step into their space and see their world. This would help to create much more dynamic sounds and also help to share the fanbase with their collaborators. 

Over the years, there has been a downturn of collaborations between Nigerian rappers and their pop counterparts. In fact, these pop stars tend to feature foreign rappers on their tapes much more often these days. There should also be much more joint efforts between the English rappers and the indigenous ones. 

Visuals also have to be taken seriously too. Yes, hip-hop is a word-oriented genre but videos are very much especially in the visually-driven world we live in today. And maybe as a result of a shortage in funding or whatever reason, hip-hop acts don’t seem to place much emphasis on their releasing music videos. You don’t believe me?  Take some of the best hip-hop projects in the past year as examples. “Crown”, “Yung Denzl”, “Bad Boy Blaq”, “These Buhari Times” and the Lost and Found’s “Alternate Ending” have only about two videos released at the moment. Projects with over 50 songs and only three videos out.

Even if proper music videos can’t be done due to financial constraints, rappers and their teams can take advantage of lyric videos and visualizers which can be promoted on social media. 

Now the spotlight is on Nigerian hip-hop and no one knows how long the excitement is going to last. Mere buzz or an abundance of talent isn’t enough to sustain the genre.  The best that can be done is to ensure that this rare opportunity should be optimized as much as it can. The community has to come together to create and promote premium quality content that can restore hip-hop and rap to the mainstream.

For all the dust rappers have raised in the past few weeks, it would be beautiful to see it all transcend to something bigger and not just fade out to another false start.

M.I Abaga Finally Shares Music Video For ‘Playlist’ With Nonso Amadi

Admits the deafning noise as surrounding the trending Best Rapper In Africa conversation, Chocolate City boss, M.I Abaga has finally unveiled the visuals for ‘Playlist‘, one of the standouts off his “Rendevous” project. Coming over a year after its initial release, this video comes to the delight of fans that have been demanding the visuals for their favourite songs off the tape. This makes the Nonso Amadi-assisted ‘Playlist‘ the second video off the highly collaborative project following the visuals of ‘Lekki‘ with Falz and Ajebutter 22 released in October last year.

The UA-directed visuals finds a romantic M.I and his woman cruising around the city of Lagos. The video opens her visibly lonely and bored, trying to listen to the sultry record on TV and radio. She immediately brightens up as the rapper texts her to rendezvous, losing herself to the music as she readies herself for their outing. They eventually link up and have a good time.

Enjoy the video above.

Listen to Chillz’s Debut Album “Good Vibes, Vol. 1”

Ever since coming to the attention of many following his contributions to M.I‘s 2018 “Rendevouz” project, multi-talented singer and producer, Chillz hasn’t wasted any opportunity to leave an impression. Either on his own records, like the Mayourkun-assisted ‘Grateful’, or his appearance on Falz‘s seminal album, “Moral Instruction“, Chillz takes every chance to prove himself as one of the most talented singers rising through the ranks. And now, he has put out a project that will put away any persisting doubt.

Late last month (June), Chillz released his debut album, “Good Vibes, Vol.1“, a 9-track project including the pre-released ‘Grateful’ and ‘Chop Life‘. And on the project, he brings along Falz, Mayourkun and Sir Dauda who helped to add new flavours on the tracks in which they appear.

Production-wise, the “Good Vibes, Vol.1” is an entirely solo effort, save for the title track, ‘Good Vibes‘ which was produced by TMXO. Generally, the album is filled mostly with mid-tempo, soft, and melodic songs which are so easy to sink to, filling you up with positive energy.

Tracklist For Good Vibes, Vol.1

Tracklist For “Good Vibes, Vol.1” (Twitter/ChillzHimself)

Most of the songs are crafted from personal experiences, particularly ‘Grateful’, which was borne from a thankful heart after Chillz survived a ghastly motor accident in 2018. With brilliant songwriting deployed on every track that gives a soulful realness to his lyrics, punctuated with nuanced but ever soothing vocals, the tape has a vibey and personal touch that makes every track relatable and sure to give you a feel-good listening experience.

This tape comes highly recommended from us at the PGM Club. Enjoy!

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