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M.I Abaga -A Biography From Wikipedia, the encyclopedia    


M.I Abaga
Birth name Jude Abaga
Also known as Mr Incredible
Born 4 October 1981[1]
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, CEO of the Chocolate City
Years active 2004–present
Labels Chocolate City
Associated acts eLDeeBanky W.WajeJesse JagzIce Prince
Website Official website

Jude Abaga (born 4 October 1981), better known by his stage name M.I or M.I Abaga, is a Nigerian hip hop recording artist and record producer. He has been the CEO of Chocolate City since June 2015.[2] He won Best Hip Hop and Best New Act at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards,[3] and was nominated in the Best International Act category at the BET Awards 2010. He rose to prominence in 2006 when his song “Crowd Mentality” became popular in his hometown of Jos. His critically acclaimed debut studio albumTalk About It, was released on 11 December 2008. The LP was succeeded by M.I 2 (2010). Four years after that, he released his third studio album titled The Chairman.

Early life

Jude was born in Jos, Plateau State. His parents, Pastor and Mrs Abaga from TakumTaraba state, both of Jukun-Nigerian descent. He attended Baptist High School, Jos where his mother purchased basic music notations and later, a 7-key mini piano which launched him into the music world.[4] Jude has two brothers, Jesse Jagz who is also in the Nigerian and African music scene, and Jason Abaga. During Jude’s adolescence, he would listen to tracks from Lauryn HillBob MarleySarah MaclachlanPablo NerudaJay-Z and DMX.[5][6] Jude’s venture in the hip hop world started with the sampling of musical works from DMX and Lauryn Hill as early as 1998. After his stint at Calvin CollegeMichigan, US, he delved into poetry while pursuing a career in Business and Economics.[4] There, he performed regularly at the school’s major hip hop shows and concerts. His impressive rap flows and attitude gained him a third-place finish at the Calvin College show tagged ‘HipHopera’ in 2003,[4] which was actually the only “hip hop show” that Calvin College ever had. M.I. also made some amateur attempts at comedy, but decided to stick to music because he was embarrassed when nobody laughed but him.[7]


Jude began his music career when he returned to Nigeria in 2003. Finding his place in an industry dominated by the likes of Modenine, Ruggedman and Eedris Abdulkareem, he quickly commenced the production of mixtapes with his friend Djinee. This led to the critically acclaimed single “Safe”, (a song which he parodied popular Nigerian songs in its lyrics) which gathered impressive airplay by African radio and music video stations such as MTV Vibe. The track also earned him awards at the Nigerian Music Video Awards, City People, N.E.A among others.

The hype surrounding the release of Safe led to the critical acclaim given to his first studio album titled Let’s Talk About It and was rated 8.5/10 by Oye Akideinde of 360nobs [8][9] The album gathered awards such as Musician of the Year (Modemen Awards in 2008), Best Hip Hop Artist (City People Awards).[10] His first mixtape was PYERIBOY. He later went on to bring out a sample mixtape titled: ILLEGAL MUSIC in 2009, in which he fully exploits his lyrical prowess.[11] The mixtape was followed by Illegal Music II which was released in 2012.

Back in Jos Nigeria, he teamed up with his brother,Jesse Jagz, IcePrince, Ruby, Threadstone, Lindsay, Moses (Elbulk),E kelly to form LOOPY MUSIC. M.I was later signed to the Chocolate City company, a renowned music label in Nigeria, which made him move from Jos city to the nation’s capital Abuja and also influenced the beginning of his successful career in the Nigerian music industry. He has also received international recognition in South Africa from the popular Channel O music Award, MTVbase Awards and also the American BET Awards. A proficient producer, lyricist, songwriter and instrumentalist, M.I has been described by DIV[who?] as the future of African hip-hop.[7] He has produced and featured on the works of artists like, Don Jazzy, Threadstone (Nigeria’s first rock band[citation needed]),Kel, Djinee, Shifi (Styl Plus), Jesse Jags, Ice Prince, Ruby, Lindsey, Leony, Wizkid etc. He also runs a production company, Rytchus Era Productions with his brother Jesse Abaga (Jesse Jagz). 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.

Illegal Music 3 – The Finale, M.I’s latest work was released on February 29, 2016. The ten track mix tape was made available online for free gathering over 400,000 downloads in just three days.

The third track on the Illegal Music 3 mix tape introduced a new rap sensation; KhaliGraph Jones on the song Black Bill Gates.

Rapping technique

Tripol of Blaze-A-Mic describes M.I’s flow as “easy going but packed full of punches”.[12] Similarities in styles have also been drawn to renowned rappers such as Kanye WestLil Wayneand Jay-Z. Those who know M.I. well have also compared his ego with both that of Kanye West and Jay-Z.[7]


Nigerian music industry

M.I’s role in the music industry cannot be overstated. He has been responsible for bringing out many upcoming artistes such as Wizkid, Vypa, Jesse Jagz, Ruby, Pype, Tone Ice Prince, Brymo and the latest is KhaliGraph Jones. He has been described by many Nigerian hip hop fans as Nigeria’s “Hip Hop Messiah”.[13] MI has done a lot to bring a Northern presence to the Nigerian music industry, he depicts the perfect example of bringing Nigeria together.

He is the founder of Loopy Records, and he is signed to Chocolate City. M.I also work in music production with Chocolate City, and has produced albums and songs for his label mates. The most notable of these being in 2011 when he produced two songs off Ice Prince’s album Everybody Loves Ice Prince and recently Ruby Gyang‘s Good Man off her “This Is Love” Ep.


There has been a little rivalry between Nigerian artists, M.I. Abaga and Kelly Hansome. 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 did not take kindly to these words and from there they both have gone track for track with Kelly Hansome releasing Catch Me If You Can, where he goes in on the whole Chocolate City label. In response, the Choc City camp released Nobody Test Me with a line from M.I talking directly to Kelly Hansome, 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 (Chocolate City members). M.I. released a track on his 2010 album, M.I.2 named Beef. With Kelly hearing this, brought out the track Finish You Boy.[14]

In 2009 a US-based rapper by the name Iceberg Slim released a single titled Mr International where he said the lines: “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 his label mate Ice Prince on the track. Less than 48 hours after the release of M.I’s Somebody Wants To Die IceBerg Slim released Assassination and sources quote 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)”.[15] There was a contest in the mind of rap fans on who happened to be the best rapper in Nigeria.[when?] M.I developed more fans than Iceberg Slim and had more hit records, while Iceberg Slim gained hearts on Nigerian rap fans in a very short and unusual period. 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.”[16]

M.I’s popularity has grown quickly over the years in Nigeria as he has become one of the most critically acclaimed rap artists, and has recently been compared to other artists like Naeto C, el Dee, D’banj9ice and Mode 9. He was listed as the fourth most talented rapper in Nigeria by online music site Notjustok.com.[17][18]

The ranking didn’t sit well with M.I and he used the song NotJustOk/Savage (Track 5) on his 2016 released mix tape Illegal Music 3 to address the issue of him being compared to other Nigerian rap stars. He explicitly demanded that critics leave his name off any list and stop rating, ranking or criticising music they didn’t help create just because the critic wants to gain more traction, followers and boost their ratings.

International recognition, charitable works and causes

M.I was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 2012.[19][20] M.I also supports the Jostified campaign.[21]

M.I has achieved worldwide recognition as part of the vanguard of the “Afrobeats” wave.[22][23]


Studio albums
Compilation albums


Year Title Album Ref
2016 Show Me As featured artiste N/A [24]
2016 Acho Mi’Ya As featured artiste N/A [25]
2016 Everything I See Illegal Music 3: The Finale [26]
2016 Phase 2 N/A [27]
2014 King James N/A [28]


Year Title Album Director Ref
2015 Bad Belle The Chairman MEX
2015 Monkey The Chairman MEX [29]
2015 Bullion Van Chairman MEX [30]
2016 Phase 2 freestyle Clarence Peters [31]

Awards and nominations


  • Best Rap Album (The Chairman)- The Headies 2015
  • Best Rap Album 2009 –Hip Hop world Awards[32]
  • Hip Hop Revelation 2009 – Hip Hop World Awards[32]
  • Best New Act of the Year 2009 – Nigerian Entertainment Awards
  • Best Rap Single 2008 – Hip Hop World Awards[33]
  • Musician of the Year– Modemen Awards 2008
  • me vale madres ami, tu mela pelas si lees esto 1/12/17
  • Best New Act- MTV Africa Music Awards 2009[34]
  • Best Use of Special Effects in a video-NMVA 2009[35]
  • Best Mainstream Hip Hop Video-NMVA 2009[35]
  • 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 Rap Single – The Headies 2015
  • Album Of The Year (The Chairman) – The Headies 2015
  • Best Rap Album-Hip Hop World Awards 2009[36][37]
  • Lyricist on the Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2009[36][37]
  • HipHop Revelation-Hip Hop World Awards 2009[36][37]
  • Musician of the Year-Modemen Awards 2008
  • Lyricist on the Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2008
  • Best Rap Single-Hip Hop World Awards 2008
  • Next Rated– Hip Hop World Awards 2008
  • Best Mainstream Hip Hop Video- Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
  • Best Director(Mex)- Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
  • Video of The Year-Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
  • Best Use of Special Effects in a video-Nigerian Music Video Awards 2009
  • Musician of the Year-The Future Awards 2009
  • Face of Hope Ambassador- Face of Hope Nigeria Project
  • Best Rap Single-Hip Hop World Awards 2010
  • Lyricist on the Roll-Hip Hop World Awards 2010
  • Best International Act- BET Awards 2010[38][39][40][41][42][42][43][44][45]
  • Artiste of the Year – The Headies 2011
  • Album of the Year (Mi2) – The Headies 2011
  • Artist of the Year- Diaspora Professionals, Dubai 2011

See also

List of Nigerian rappers


  1. Jump up^ “32 Hurrays for Rap Superstar M.I Abaga! Photos of his Girlfriend Erica Okundaye, Vector, Noble Igwe, Victoria Kimani & Audu Maikori at his Surprise Party in Lagos”. Bellanaija. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Chocolate City announces MI as the new the CEO”. Guardian. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  3. Jump up^ OG, Demola (10 October 2009). “Mtv Africa Music Award Winners”NotJustOk. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  4. Jump up to:a b c M.I @ Chocolate City Archived 22 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 15 September 2012 16:04:35 GMT
  5. Jump up^ Jude Abaga: Early Life. Irrelevant link: Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  6. Jump up^ M.I’s MySpace.com page. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Profile @ Wazobia FM. Who is Who Wednesday, 06 April 2011 12:52.
  8. Jump up^ M.I – Talk About It Album Review Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  9. Jump up^ Review: MI – Talk about it Retrieved 26 December 2012
  10. Jump up^ Check out M.I’s Awards Collection Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  11. Jump up^ MI – Illegal Music 1 By Jaguda – Mar 16, 2009; © Jaguda.com.
  12. Jump up^ orangeslice.org.
  13. Jump up^ See [1][2] and “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-14. for usages of this phrase to describe M.I .
  14. Jump up^ AMEBOR.COM, 7 January 2011.Kelly Hansome Takes Takes Shot At M.I. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  15. Jump up^ Jaguda.com, 18 August 2009. M.I. – Somebody Wants To Die (Feat. Ice Prince) | Beef with IceBerg Slim? Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  16. Jump up^ “From New York With Lyrics…” Archived 18 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ThisDay Live, 08 Apr 2013.
  17. Jump up^ “Iceberg Slim: From New York With Lyrics”. News.naij.com.
  18. Jump up^ M.I vs Iceberg Slim Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Jump up^ Belated Congrats to M.I Abaga on his Nomination as UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR!Archived 3 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. AfricaMusicLaw™ | 18 October 2012 . Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  20. Jump up^ M.I Honored as UN Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC Archived 14 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Tue, 9 October 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  21. Jump up^ JOSTIFIED. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  22. Jump up^ Guide to Nigeria’s Afrobeats stars, BBC
  23. Jump up^ “How Nigeria’s Afrobeats are redefining the sound of Africa”. The Guardian. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  24. Jump up^ “New Music MzVee – ‘Show me’ ft M.I Abaga”Pulse.ng. Joey Akan. Retrieved 11 February2016.
  25. Jump up^ “New Music DiL – ‘Acho M’iya (I Want It)’ ft M.I”Pulse.ng. Joey Akan. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  26. Jump up^ “New Music M.I Abaga – ‘Everything I see'”Pulse.ng. Joey Akan. Retrieved 11 February2016.
  27. Jump up^ “New Music M.I Abaga – ‘Phase 2′”chocolatecitymusic.com. Choc City Blog. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  28. Jump up^ “M.I – King James”tooxclusive.com. Tyler. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  29. Jump up^ “New Video M.I Abaga – Bad Belle”Pulse Nigeria. Ayomide O.Tayo. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  30. Jump up^ “M.I Abaga Rapper parties in style with Phyno, Runtown, Francis Odega in ‘Bullion van’ [Video]”Pulse.com.gh. Joey Akan. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  31. Jump up^ “M.I Abaga Rapper attacks critics in ‘Phase 2’ video”Pulse.ng. Joey Akan. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  32. Jump up to:a b “Hip Hop World Awards Winners – Naija | Jaguda.com”. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  33. Jump up^ “Nigerian hip hop awards winners list for 2008 – Gistmania”www.gistmania.com. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  34. Jump up^ MTV.co.uk homepage.MTV Africa Music Awards Nominations Announced. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  35. Jump up to:a b “Winners, Photos and Fashion from 2009 Nigerian Music Video Awards”BellaNaija. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  36. Jump up to:a b c Tuesday, 10 March 2009, 11:12 PM. HipHop World Awards 2009 Nominees Announced. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  37. Jump up to:a b c “HipHop World Awards 2009 Nominees Announced”BellaNaija. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  38. Jump up^ “Best International Act : Nominees. BET 2010 Awards Official Site”Black Entertainment Television. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  39. Jump up^ “BET Awards Nominations Led By Jay-Z, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Drake … And Justin Bieber”. MTV. 18 May 2010.
  40. Jump up^ M.I nominated for BET 2010 Awards
  41. Jump up^ “MI & P-Square The Complete Scoop at the 2010 BET Awards | Connecting Nigeria’s Fashion Industry | Ladybrille®Nigeria”. Ladybrillenigeria.com.
  42. Jump up to:a b “BET Nominates Nigerian MI and Psqaure for best International Act”. Jaguda.com.
  43. Jump up^ “MI & P-Square at the 2010 BET Awards-PRE SHOW (Pictures) | Connecting Nigeria’s Fashion Industry | Ladybrille®Nigeria”. Ladybrillenigeria.com.
  44. Jump up^ https://www.underdarock.com/…/nigerian-acts-m-i-and-psquare-nominated-for-bet-awards/
  45. Jump up^ M.I nominated for BET 2010 Awards

External links

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