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What’s happening M.I? Why has the music suffered? Fan writes open letter to one of Africa’s hip-hop icons

One of the biggest challenges for artists in the music business is to stay consistent with producing good music. I believe that in Nigeria and most of Africa’s music industry, it is even more challenging to get artists to consistently put out music. It is why artists like Olamide (Nigeria) and Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), are highly respected and admired for bucking this trend.

When an artist is inconsistent and goes for years without new music, it is nice when fans show and demand accountability from the artist. That’s the story with M.I. Considered one of Africa’s modern day hip-hop icons, M.I., has been missing in action for over three years and after numerous promises of dropping new music, his fans are demanding answers.

One fan, Ayomide O. Tayo, who is also a writer for Pulse Nigeria recently penned an open letter to the artist expressing his frustration with M.I’s inconsistency and a decline in the quality of music produced. Another fan created a rap song to express his disappointment. The good thing is M.I has finally responded to his fans, through a recent interview, to explain his absence.

Read the open letter, listen to the track, and watch M.I’s recent interview explaining his absence.

-Ms. Uduak

“Dear M.I,
What’s popping? Hope all is good?

A quick one. Have you listened to this track by KEAD called ‘Letter To M.I’? Please take some time to bump it.

I have listened to this track and it is why I am writing you. The boy dropped some hard hitting lines and facts that have been on my mind for a while.

M.I when you first came into the game- you were a game changer. You turned rap on its head with your classic debut.

The years have rolled by and fortune has been a cruel mistress. You have more than your fair share of low moments (most of them self-inflicted).

It’s been three years since your last album and two years since your last project. Yes, I saw your tweet about your next album being ready. I would leap for joy but we have been down this road before with false hopes and many release dates.

What’s happening M.I? Why has the music suffered? I won’t lie. The fan in me rated “The Chairman” album highly. The collaborative approach to its production got me. Sadly, that LP had a short shelf life partly due to the lyrics which were below your very high standards.

The spark is gone, the flows are not the same and the bars have gone soft bro. It seems there is no more soul in your music. Everything has gone cold.

All greats have underwhelming albums but it is the silence that worries me more. Why do you choose to remain silent when fans yearn for more?

It hurts. It hurts to see one with great potential stay dormant. It says in Ecclesiastes 10:7 “I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.” I know you are a man of the Bible so you would understand that verse.

Chocolate City once the haven for rappers is no more. Jesse Jagz left, came back and left again. Milli, a scarily talented rapper jumped ship. BrymO bounced. A few others have done so too. What is going on?

Why should there be more questions than answers surrounding the rapper we once heralded as “the answer?”
The years that have gone by has made me understand things better. Life is a journey of ups and downs. It throws curve balls at us and no matter how much we shine, we must all pass the darkness at some point.

Greatness co-exists with struggle. Great men are complex and imperfect at the very best. There are moments that we must all fall and get lost. M.I, the fan in me that had goose pimples when I listened to your first album wants to believe that you can find your way back to greatness.

You once rapped that great artists make fake art. It is time you started making greatness again. The silence has been too long. Let the light within you guide you out of the darkness.

Yours sincerely,

one of your biggest fans turned critic and now hopeful spectator.

Warning: Strong language used. Click at your own discretion.

Photo Credit: M.I Abaga

Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law website, livestream and podcast show empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through its brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Joe says:

    Seen this?

    A Letter to M.I Abaga’s Biggest Fan Turned Critic.

    Dear Brother,
    Let me first put it straight to you that you are NOT M.I Abaga’s fan. If loving M.I was a religion, it’d be perfect if I called you a ‘back-slider’, because ‘true love’ is loving people irrespective of their flaws and loving people when other people hate them most. So, if you saw some things in M.I’s life which you thought to be flaws and these things made your love for M.I to diminish, then, am sorry, but, you never loved the ni**a, you only pretended to!
    *
    Thank God you admitted that when M.I came, he was a game-changer and that he had classic debut. You said, ”It’s been three years since your last album and two years since your last project. Yes, I saw your tweet about your next album being ready. I would leap for joy but we have been down this road before with false hopes and many release dates.”. But brother, does extending the release date of an album show cowardice? Sometimes, a soldier may retreat and a Lion may pause an action. This, my brother, does not show lack of courage or cowardice!
    I laughed boisterously when I read this in your letter, ‘What’s happening M.I? Why has the music suffered? I won’t lie. The fan in me rated “The Chairman” album highly » . The collaborative approach to its production got me. Sadly, that LP had a short shelf life partly due to the lyrics which were below your very high standards. The spark is gone, the flows are not the same and the bars have gone soft bro. It seems there is no more soul in your music. Everything has gone cold.”.
    Chere o. Did you say the ‘Chairman’ album is below standard? OMG! Do you know that the tracks in the album has a square fact? That’s the song titles on each side of the album are opposite to each other, except for the track in the middle that is titled ‘The Middle’. Like, ‘The Begining’ and ‘The End’, ‘Monkey’ and ‘Human Being’, ‘Mine’ and ‘Yours’, etc.
    You said there is no more soul in M.I’s music and that the lyrics are below standard. Lol. Did you listen to the track, ‘Brother’? The one he did with Nosa and Milli. He did it for his Choc Brothers. That track would make anyone cry!..
    What about the lines in ‘Bad Belle’? Did you notice the metaphor he created with Dora Akunyili and drugs? Well, I think you are one of the ni**as who does not know that there’s about to be a famine and worst still, you neither know what we planting nor what we planning!
    It was people like you he taught he was talking to in the track, ‘Yours’..
    How can you say that M’I’s bars have gone soft? You don’t get it, bro, M.I has no lip; He can’t suck!
    M.I is one of the very few rappers who do not rap without reason or message. Unlike most rappers, 85% of his songs have deep messages. Have you listened to ‘Money’? What about ‘The Box’?..
    Aside the fact that his lines are highly intellectual, his ‘play-on-words’ is essential. The way he plays on words tells he is an extra-ordinary PUNstar.
    *
    The way you are complaining about his silence sef. A good song takes a long time to be produced. Abi you want him to be releasing album every week? When a ‘genius’ is been silent or ‘in’ for this long, you should know that when he ‘cums’ out, the ‘release’ would last.
    Do you remember his pun with the vowel sounds, ‘a, e, i, o, u’ (Hey, I owe you no vows)? Do you remember the pun with the Biblical books, ‘Luke, Mark and John’?..
    The guy is now the C.E.O of Choc City. Is that post not strong enough to keep a rapper silent? If he goes to studio everyday, what will the signees under him do, kwanu?
    Will Jesse Jags, Ice Prince or Brymo be in Choc City forever? Rappers are born everyday, Choc City is a company, one rapper leaving does not mean it’s falling as long the Chairman is the boss.
    *
    M.I is forever great. I don’t want to talk about his projects, such as illegal music, etc.. Those ones na another achievement on their own. M.I is a light to Nigeria hip-pop.
    M.I is a very outstanding rapper but some people have agreed to disagree with that. And the fact is that we don’t have time to prove what is right, right, so, let’s just leave it in THE MIDDLE..
    *
    From your letter to M.I, I think and am sure that you are just a rapper or you are working for a rapper who is thirsty for attention. Aside the fact that you should not get a drink of such at the expense of another rappers down fall, don’t try to get a drink ot it, too, with flimsy ideas about the outstanding M.I.

    Yours Sincerely
    Saviour Ukpaski (MC UK)
    (A real fan of M.I Abaga)

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