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M.I (Jude Abaga)


Encyclopedia » Biography » Musicians/Recording Artists
Taraba

He has been described by many Nigerian hip hop fans as Nigeria's 'Hip Hop Messiah'. With a lyrical flow Tripol of Blaze-A-Mic describes as "easy going but packed full of punches". His first album sold 30,000 copies in the first 30 minutes of release. In a country where the leading artists are Afropop and Afrobeat musicians Mr. Incredible broke out with a screaming rap song “Safe” and has made rap a mainstay in Nigeria.

Welcome to Logbaby’s biography of Jude Abaga (aka M.I aka Mr. Incredible), enjoy.


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SUMMARY DATA:

Name:  Jude Abaga.

Stage or nickname: M.I (Acronym for Mr. Incredible).

Date of birth: October 4, 1981.

Nationality: Nigerian.

State of Origin: Takum, Taraba State, Nigeria


Jude Abaga also known as Mr. incredible or M.I, is a Nigerian recording artist, performer, record producer and executive of Chocolate City Records.

M.I lauched into the mainstream of Nigerian music with his beautiful song “Safe” and broke into the hearts of Nigerian’s with “Nobody” featuring Tuface Idibia.

Today he is the most recognizable Nigerian rapper and one of the most prolific and respected rappers in Africa with growing global recognition.

 

EARLY LIFE

Jude Abaga was born in Jos, Plateau State on October 4th 1981 to Pastor Chris G. Abaga head pastor of Chris Abaga Ministries, his mother is Mrs Lydia Abaga a gospel artiste and counselor. M.I hails from Pyeri, Takum in Taraba State, Nigeria. He attended Baptist High School, Jos and his love for music came from his mothers gift to the children of a 7-key mini piano.

M.I has two brothers, Jesse Jagz who is also a Nigerian Musician and Producer, and Jason Abaga.

Left-Right: Choc B.O.Is Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, Kevin and MI

 

His musical inspirations include Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Sarah Maclachlan, Pablo Neruda, Jay-Z and DMX whom he said he listened to as a child. His musical beinging especially as a hip-hop artist started with the sampling of musical works from DMX and Lauryn Hill as early as 1998.

As with most success stories his musical journey was anything but smooth. A short while into his education at Calvin College, he withdrawed from school and returned home because he couldn’t affort the tuition fees. Yet coming back home may have been destined as it solidified his decided to further delve into music as a career.

He would eventually move to Lagos with the help of his childhood friend, Jeremiah Gyang, who was signed on to Chocolate City then.

With Jeremiah he went to Lagos, Abuja and Enugu for shows. He met Djinee in Enugu and then eventually Audu Maikori of Chocolate City. Djinee invited him to Lagos to stay with him, in his house. They lived together in a room with four other guys. According to MI, it was tough and part of what makes his’ a success storie.

 

 

MUSIC BEGINS

M.I grew up in the church, his dad was a pastor and his mum a great singer and that background helped him to love music. According to him “While I was growing up, I listened to lots of gospel songs from Panam Percy Paul, amongst others. All these people inspired me to be what I could be”.

When he was a child his mother would buy basic music notations and later, bought a 7-key mini piano aided his musical ambitions.

After a short stay at Calvin College, Michigan, USA where he was studying Business and Economics, he jumped into poetry. At Calvin he performed regularly at the school's hip hop shows and concerts. His impressive rap flows and attitude brought him a third place finish at the Calvin College  'HipHopera' in 2003.

He briefly considered a career in comedy, but decided to stick to music because he was embarrassed when nobody laughed but him at his amateur performances.

M.I began his music career when he returned to Nigeria in 2003. Back in Jos Nigeria, he teamed up with his brother,Jesse Jagz, IcePrince, Ruby, Threadstone, Lindsay, Moses (Elbulk),E kelly to form a record label, called LOOPY records, and they perform every Sunday at an open bar, with a theme tagged Jam Session.

At the time the Nigerian rap scene was dominated by the likes of Modenine, Ruggedman and Eedris Abdulkareem. He started producing mixtapes with his friend Djinee. This led to the critically acclaimed single "Safe", (a song in which he parodied popular Nigerian songs to create its’ lyrics). It gained impressive airplay by stations across Africa radio and music video stations such as MTV Vibe. The track also gained awards at the Nigerian Music Video Awards, City People, N.E.A amongst others.

Safe was his launching pad but there was much more to come.

 

 

 

MUSIC

Lyrically aggressive yet mild in his delivery M.I is extremely respected and his lyrics do more to convey his position in the music industry than my words can, here is M.I in his own words. It is the first verse from his song AFRICAN RAPPER NUMBER ONE.

“Yes sir
And they say I am the best ah
I am on top of the rest ah
Cassius Clay what i do to the List-ah
Rappers are vex ah
Chasing me with a vespa
Some na keke NAPEPs ah
Not a threats sir
I’m a jets sir
Flyer that IRS ah
Helicopter flow, tyreless ah
These rappers are kids ah
Low connection wireless ah
See my track list
I have been paving the way, John the Baptist
I have been doing my thing round the atlas
Rappers blowing up and I am the catalyst (catalyst catalyst)”

 

Let's Talk About It was his first studio album, it earned awards such as Musician of the Year (Modemen Awards in 2008), Best Hip Hop Artist (City People Awards). Prior to the album he had mixtape successes, His first mixtape was PYERIBOY and his second ILLEGAL MUSIC, in which he fully exploits his lyrical prowess.

M.I is signed to the Chocolate City company, a renowned music label based in the nation's capital Abuja.

He is an avid producer with production features for artists like, Don Jazzy, Djinee, Shifi (Styl Plus), Jesse Jags, Ice Prince, Wizkid e.t.c. He also runs a production company, Rytchus Era Productions with his brother Jesse Abaga (Jesse Jagz).

 

LYRICAL BEEFS

He has been engaged in numberous rap “beefs”. Ist with Kelly Handsome. This started when M.I. in his track Fast Money, Fast Cars stated, "Kelly Hansome is handsome, I’ll tell him when I see him. But if I want a man, it’d be Keke or D1". Kelly Hansome reacted releasing Catch Me If You Can, where he calls out the whole Chocolate City label. In response, the Choc City camp released Nobody Test Me with a line from M.I saying, "Only one Kelly that I know, Kelly Rowland. Why would I diss them, give them cheap promotion. I think that they're so dry, I should give them lotion". Later, Kelly Hansome released Chocolate Boys. M.I. released a track on his 2010 album, M.I.2 named Beef in which he states “See musicians tryna beef me for real son, Maybe they doing it to promote they album, They know that using my name will help em sell some, So Iceberg its alright, ur welcome, But I’m not in their league help me tell them, The Super Eagles don’t play against the Falcons, See worwor pikin dey form handsome, Kelechukwu clap for yourself, well done” Addressing both Kelly Handsome and Iceberg Slim, Kelly replied with a track called Finish You Boy.

In 2009 US-based rapper Iceberg Slim released a single titled Mr International saying "Am I better than M.I? I don't know. Am I? Matter of fact you should ask M.I". That apparently didn't sit too well with M.I, prompting him to release a single known as "Somebody Wants To Die", featuring label mate Ice Prince on the track. Less than 48 hours after the release IceBerg Slim released Assassination and sources claim that his Facebook status at the time of the release read {"‘Somebody Wants To Die’, I’ll be responsible for the ‘Assassination’ … let the countdown begin … (I told em it would be a M.I.stake, but they didn’t listen)"}. In 2012, both rappers decided to sweep the feud under the rug. Iceberg stated, "I don't think I picked on MI. It was a healthy competition in Hip-Hop, which most people don't understand. In Hip-Hop community, we could be best friends or brothers and I can say I’m the best rapper in the world and no one takes offense or takes it personal. My shot at MI wasn't a sign of disrespect in any way. Though sarcastic, it was healthy. People just took it out of context and thought I was dissing him. Rap music is all about competition because it helps you grow and improve on yourself."

 

Amid all this controversy/beef he maintains a generally positive message saying “To me, it is all the same. How you live your life is different from what you do at your leisure. So, I am a musician. Sometimes, I will sing about God. At other times, I will sing about even my girl friend. If you listen to my music, you will notice that there is a wall. I don’t sing about everything. I sing about things that affect my life so, even if I sing a love song, it is from a positive point of view. I am a musician and a musician is different from a worship leader. A worship leader can go on to make commercial music; that is what we call gospel music.”

His popularity continues to grow and he has become one of the most critically acclaimed Nigerian artists, comparable to the leaders of the pack like Naeto C, D'banj, 9ice and Mode 9. He was listed as the 4th most talented rapper in Nigeria by online music site Notjustok.com.

His recordings include:

 

Mixtape

  • 2009: "ILLEGAL MUSIC"
  • 2012: "ILLEGAL MUSIC 2"

Album

  • 2008: "M.I:Talk About It"
  • 2010: "M.I 2"

His upcoming album "Chairman" is much anticipated.

 

BUSINESS/INCOME

In 2013 he was appointed by Nigerian telecommunication company Glo Mobile as a brand ambassador alongside other Nigerian artistes like Omawunmi, Burna Boy etc. He was also a judge in Glo X-Factor, the Nigerian version of the reality singing show in 2013.

He is also a top selling artist and commands an average of N3-4million per show.

 

 

AWARDS

Musician of the Year: The Future Awards 2010

Musician of the Year: City People 2010

Artist of the Year:  National Daily 2010

Musician of the Year: Malaysian African Entertainments Awards 2010

Most Amiable Brand: Orange Wall of Fame 2010

Best Hip Hop & Best New Act: MTV Africa Music Awards 2009

Best Mainstream Hiphop Video & Best Use of Special Effects in a video : NMVA 2009

Best Rap Album & Hip Hop Revelation: HipHop world Awards 2009

Best New Act of the Year: Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2009

Best Rap Single: HipHop World Awards 2008

Musician of the Year: Modemen Awards 2008

He has over 20 nominations.

 

CONTACTS/SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: miabaga.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MI_Abaga

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miabaga001

Article Credit: K.I Oruruo

Updated 4 Months ago
 

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Tags:     M.I     Mr. Incredible     Jude Abaga     Nigerian Musician     Rapper

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