Music Business

M.I Abaga v. Osagie Alonge on #LooseTalkPodcast: A mash up of insults, huge egos, disrespect, manipulation and attempt to control the narrative

Late last week, I shared an “Open Letter” from an M.I Abaga fan who is also a writer at Pulse Nigeria. The letter criticized M.I, a respected rapper from Nigeria who some dub a “legend,” about the quality of his work and lack of consistency. M.I has been absent from the music scene for three years now. M.I apparently felt very “disrespected” by the article so he took to social media to blast the team at Pulse including calling the Editor-in-Chief Osagie Alonge a “vulture.” He also made clear he was clearing his calendar to visit Pulse to discuss the article. The team at Pulse’s ‘Loose Talk Podcast Show’ indulged him. What followed was an almost three-hour discussion that is best listened to during your down time and in bits to digest all they have to say.

Here is my impression after listening to the podcast:

  1. I knew Osagie Alonge can be disrespectful but I didn’t know he could be so disrespectful. In many instances, he was out of line with the way he spoke to M.I and about other talents. Osagie, while it is great that people admire your work, myself included, you can’t let it get to your head where you feel like you are always in the right. Further, as a journalist, even though it is a “Loose Talk” podcast show, you should tailor your words to the context, and that includes your language. You were out of line in tone and language in many instances.
  2. I think M.I Abaga acts very entitled and equally very rude and manipulative. He, however, is not as crass as Osagie. Until Ayomide O. Tayo (Ayo), the author of the “Open Letter” spoke up, M.I was okay with calling Osagie “OG” when in fact Ayo had more of the industry experience than Osagie and was responsible for helping Osagie obtain his current employment at Pulse. M.I, it shouldn’t matter whether there is an OG or a newbie. Respect the seasoned writer as much as the new writer. You shouldn’t have to be checked to do so. If it is really about relationships, then titles shouldn’t matter because tomorrow that new writer may be the one calling the shots.
  3. I agree with M.I that the Pulse writer Ayo got it factually wrong in terms of saying M.I Abaga’s “shelf life” on an album was short lived. I also agree with M.I that Pulse journalists need to improve on their writings and Nigerian music journalists in general. I for one am thirsty for just good writing on the Nigerian and African music business scene. It is absent and it is really tiring to read the same old copy and paste statements/stories across the internet. I do, however, agree with Pulse that the entertainment industry is simply not used to being criticized. Before Osagie became the critic he is today, I was doing a lot of the same criticism and continue to, and often felt like the lone voice against all these talents that were just so spoilt with praises about their works. The idea that someone could say, “here is room for improvement or I believe you got it wrong and here is why” shocked most if not ALL of them. And it’s not just the talent, it includes industry professionals.
  4. I agree with the Pulse team and have said it many times here on AML that I believe that the quality of M.I’s work has suffered when comparing his prior works to his present work, among other things. The idea that journalists need to know the equipment M.I used to create his work, his personal life drama etc.as M.I seems to imply to criticize his work is preposterous. The idea that not knowing these challenging personal journeys make their criticism “half-truths” is ridiculous at best.
  5. I believe M.I is simply very spoilt when it comes to the media. He has enjoyed unprecedented support from Nigerian media and bloggers throughout his entire career with very minimal criticism. Now that he is receiving more criticism, albeit, via poorly written articles from time to time, he throws a tantrum which is how I view this whole situation.
  6. I also believe, after listening to the podcast, that M.I Abaga is again quite manipulative and egotistical. M.I, all of these while, did not make it to the Loose Talk podcast show despite several attempts they tried to book him, according to M.I, but the moment an article he didn’t agree with showed up, he rearranged his travel schedule to go into the studio for almost three hours to repaint and take control of the narrative. While he did not completely succeed in his mission, he came very close.
  7. M.I Abaga claims he respected Osagie Alonge and the Pulse team that is why he took the time to visit their office. I don’t believe this, at all. From his rude rants on social media to his appearance at the Pulse office, it is clear his statements and actions do not support his claims. M.I was there because Pulse is a very influential platform and the opinion of its music journalists as cultural influencers matters, bottom line. If he respected these journalists, he won’t tell them explicitly and subtly, among other things, that they work for the white man in their own country and should be working for themselves, while using the same white platform to promote his agenda and reposition his brand. By the way, M.I Abaga’s past endorsement deals with Hennessy, Gillette, and now Martell, aren’t those white owned brands? M.I is manipulative but is clearly perfecting the art of doing so subtly and by appeal to emotion while going to work on the psyche of his subjects.
  8. Nigerian musicians and creative talents in general act, in my personal experience writing about them for 10 years now, VERY entitled, and M.I Abaga confirms this. When an opinion does not agree with their views, they try to control the narrative. I know I have had numerous personalities in the industry reach out to me to change my stance on issues, and also suggest I become “friends” with them so I can either not write about them, or understand them better. M.I suggested too many times that Pulse Nigeria journalists need to become “friends” with the talents they write about, to better understand the challenges of the talents and write about those challenges. Says who? That, to me, is an entitled mentality and I think Osagie did a brilliant job of checking him on that by pointing out artists do not know the challenges writers in Nigeria have to go through to write and that what is being judged is the artistry. Nobody owes you a friendship in doing their job M.I. And in fact, if they do, it colors the narrative and objectivity becomes an issue.
  9. I agree with M.I Abaga that TheNet.ng churned more well-written articles than Pulse.ng in previous years. TheNet.ng used to be my #1 go to source for amazing, quality written articles and the two primary talents that kept me coming back were Ayeni Adekunle and Osagie Alonge. Since Osagie left, and barely writes for Pulse (he instead supervises the editorial team), it’s hard to see consistently well-written articles on either platform. I also often find Pulse.ng to have factually incorrect statements and always read their articles with caution because I don’t trust them. I have found I enjoy Olisa.tv articles about Nigeria’s entertainment industry the best. I will now add TheNativemag.com to my reading list since that is the one thing everyone could agree on during the show as a well-curated platform to read.
  10. This long banter and exchange could have been done in private. I also did not see the point of Loose Kanyon being there. He sometimes got unnecessarily worked up. There really was no need for the world to hear this. They could have had their private moments and sort themselves out.
  11. M.I Abaga, an opinion piece does not need your approval, or a phone call to you for a journalist or blogger to write what they think or feel about your work, even if it is factually incorrect. Yes, they should conduct due diligence. Yes, they should know their facts but if it is wrong, it just makes them look silly. They do not need to call you though. It’s an opinion and you do not have to agree with it, especially when it is factually incorrect. You just put the correct facts out there and move on.
  12. This was a VERY long podcast episode. Did it improve the industry? I think time will tell. But what we did find out is that Osagie Alonge needs to check his facts a bit more, and might need to receive even more training on supervising his writing team so they can write stronger, and much better articles. The writing, I completely agree with M.I Abaga, needs to come up higher. It can be and is often quite disappointing.
  13. Finally, M.I can easily tell writers to improve their work but when he is challenged about his work, he goes on a long rant on social media, clears his calendar and talks for almost three hours trying to convince others that his work is that good. That’s ego and unnecessary. He should be able to take the same criticism he gives others and improve his work.

-Ms. Uduak

WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE, CLICK AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

2019 Most Popular Podcast – Music Streaming in Africa

Subscribe to Our Podcast Show

Some of Our Achievements

Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

You may also like...

Popular Articles...

6 Comments

  1. Winston Balagare says:

    SMDH. What more does anyone need to see? I hate to sound like a broken record, but I’ve been calling out these small-boy, laptop labels for some time now. The world in 2017 is much bigger than it was when M.I. first toddled onto the African music scene. There’s more competition, and listeners’ ears are better trained to sift through the B.S. that’s been coming out of Nigeria for some time now.

    I agree that Osagie can be disrespectful at times, but that’s what makes his videos interesting. If I had to look at Osagie’s face for 3-4 minutes, and he wasn’t entertaining, I’d rather not look at it. M.I. is being unreasonably oversensitive if he doesn’t understand this. M.I.’s true problem, though, is not the criticism–it’s the fact that he knows it’s all true. Name just one HIT record that M.I. has that a DJ can put on and get the crowd moving. I’m waiting.

    M.I. is not a star–period. He doesn’t have the records, he doesn’t have the personality, and he doesn’t have the confidence to be a star. He even showed up with Loose Kanyon as backup to confront a team of journalist. Was he not prepared to defend his art alone? Why should anyone be interested in anything he’s doing if he can’t confidently argue its merits? It’s one thing to be cocky and arrogant when you can back it up with hot music. But when you’ve been dropping duds for half a decade, a small-boy has no reason to puff out his chest like a big man.

    Look at the laptop label he’s supposedly running. Didn’t they only recently name DJ Lambo as president or CEO of the label? What does it tell you when the in-house DJ is the last resort for leadership in an organization that is already clearly struggling to find it? Look at all the artists who have wasted years of their lives being signed to Chocolate City, or Loopy, or Cho Bois, or whateverTF they’re calling the laptop these days? Why does M.I. have time to go sit down for three hours and do a podcast, but he can’t sit down for three hours and promote a talented singer like Ruby Gyang or Nosa when they drop projects?

    I’m glad M.I. is being criticized by the media, finally. It’s long overdue. However, I don’t wish for the criticism to spur him to do better music. I hop the criticism makes him consider not doing music anymore. Maybe then he will find time to finally help the artists who trusted him enough to sign to the laptop and give away years of their lives without reaping any benefits.

  2. Check your facts ma. Ayo didn’t hire Osagie at Pulse.

    1. Africa Music Law™ says:

      No one said he did. Read carefully. The video says he helped Osagie gain employment at the company. Help does not equal “hire.”

      1. ZeOctalB says:

        Actually, you got it wrong, ma. I believe you’re conflating two different things.

        Ayo did not ‘help’ Osagie gain employment at Pulse, it was the other way round: Osagie was the one who brought Ayo to Pulse.

        However, Ayo ‘helped’ Osagie gain employment at his previous workplace: NET.

        1. Africa Music Law™ says:

          Thank you @ZeOctalB on the distinction. I returned to listen to the part where this was discussed and you are right. Thank you. It doesn’t, needless, to say, affect Ayo’s point about the “OG” title, and Osagie’s acknowledgment that Ayo helped him gain employment at NET to illustrate who the “OG” was.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pretty objective opinion about the podcast. It was hurtful to listen to and both MI and Osagie were crass. It was an unpleasant ego fest and as far as ‘curating music history’ goes that is not one I’d want to keep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *