“Thank you all for coming out today…my name is M.I Abaga” the short black boy made his appearance on stage, and everyone screamed their hearts out.
I was in the Amphitheatre of the Freedom Park Lago, where Jude Abaga was going to share the music he has been recording and intends to put out. There’s a certain air of joy about him as he swaggered onstage, rocking a red leather jacket, and everything white.
He had a smile about him, one that radiated from his slightly puffy cheeks of joy, to the adoring crowd that looked to him for entertainment. Over the past weeks of February 2017, the rapper had aggressively promoted a new direction for his music.
That new direction had him recording new music, and also returning to his past to look for his old recordings about romance, love and everything nice.
The songs from that movement resulted in a new project that he is teasing: “The Love EP”.
Partnering with the Lagos Theatre Festival, the rapper organized a small concert to perform these songs, and gauge the reactions of listeners.
Everything at the private concert had love about it. DJ Lambo, Chocolate City’s official disc jockey made her best attempt at setting up the mood by playing love classics.
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” Louis Armstrong crooned his “What a wonderful world” classic.
This show was promoted to start at 7pm. But M.I Abaga appeared onstage by 9:32pm. Over two hours of lateness. But people didn’t mind. This was M.I Abaga, the incredible rap legend of Nigeria. Once upon a time in the history of Nigerian music, he changed the face of Hip hop, by introducing a new rap style which has propagated over time to produce a new generation of rappers.
In that light, M.I Abaga is a god. An inspiring figure in the genre and pop music, who resides in the hearts of millions of Africans, and is as respected as much as some of the Presidents of sovereign nations. That’s the M.I Abaga that we waited for.
And he didn’t disappoint in spectacle.
M.I has an eye for creativity. The “Love EP” which he performed will not be released for a long time, but he offered fans a live experience of it. We trusted him for a good show, and he gave a great one.
“Love EP” is made up of six songs, with the titles reading as ‘I L O V E U’. And every single record was symbolic in capturing the different stages of love; Boy meets girl, they fall in love, the boy cheats, he loses the girl to his best friend, and the curtain falls.
Think about Kanye West when he delivers with visuals, but Drake in his most mushy elements. That’s the M.I we have on “The Love EP”. An amalgamation of audio and visual to produce something that hits the heart.
The songs were made from a place of experience and personalization. M.I poured not only his rap skills into the project, but also tapped into his heart to fully express and execute the concepts. The final song, U, was recorded long before he became a star. 12 years ago.
But in all of it, there were lessons to be learned. Women have long suffered at the hands of cheating men, who disrespect their trust and commitments in love. The EP pushes for men to be responsible, and preaches the message of walking away from toxic relationships and learning to love again after a heartbreak.
M.I spoke to our souls via art, in a way that he has never done in his decade-old career. He bade us become good men, and hit our very core.
As I left the event, and walked past many other guests discussing what they had just experienced, I felt lighter than I did walking into that concert. And my steps had a slight spring in them. M.I had penetrate my heart with his music, and worked wonders on my behavior and how I interpret love.