One of the Nigerian Entertainment stars who have consistently been on the radar this year is MI Abaga, from headlining the 2012 Hennessy Artistry Club Tour, being a co-host on the 7th edition of Headies, launching Loopy Music, his own record label, starting miabaga.com, his own entertainment website, being knighted as UNODC’s Goodwill Ambassador on Smuggling of Migrants, and so much more. Let’s not even begin to mention his musical accomplishments this year alone.
And just yesterday, Jude Abaga, popularly known as M.I, acronym for Mr. Incredible, released a song dedicated to the four students who were murdered in Aluu community, just a fortnight after he churned out an article that revealed a more sensitive side to the rapper.
So what exactly does the world know about M.I, Jude Abaga?
The fact that M.I grew up in a Christian home is no longer news to Nigerians. Born in Jos, Plateau State, on October 4 1980 to parents who were active members of a Church in Jos, M.I had musical influences right from the Church choir days. His mother taught the basic music notations and bought him a 7-key mini piano, which launched him early into the world of music. M.I was able to see firsthand musicians such as Panam Percy Paul, the Winners Band and the Footsteps band.
At an early age M.I's mother taught him the sulfa notation and how it applied to a simple chorus. It was after this that M.I began to learn how to play the keyboards and by the age of 10, M.I could play the drums and keyboards to an extent.
M.I Abaga would tell you that his Afro Hiphop genre of music has been largely influenced by Lauryn Hill, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Sarah Mclachlan, Bob Marley, Pablo Neruda, Jay-Z, Kanye West, DMX and Talib Kweli. M.I's encounter with Hip-Hop started with sampling the works of DMX and Lauryn Hill in 1998 and he later delved into writing poetry.
After studying at Calvin College, Michigan, USA for a degree in business and economics, M.I Abaga returned to Nigeria in 2003 set to take African Hip-Hop to new heights. He was determined to push through boundaries as a proficient producer, lyricist, songwriter and instrumentalist, so in little time M.I Abaga pushed through the local music industry and has become a global brand.
From singles like “Crowd mentality”, and “Safe” with Djinee, M.I carved his way into the heart and ears of music lovers and enthusiasts. Albums “Talk About It”, and “MI2: the Movie” just further put M.I in the spotlight, and his mixtapes “Pyeriboy”, “Illegal Music”, and “Illegal Music 2” had enough hype and spotlight to fully exploit his lyrical powers.
M.I, signed to Chocolate City in 2006, has put together his own record label, with a team that includes Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, Ruby, Threadstone, Lindsay, and more. He has been responsible for bringing out many upcoming artistes such as Wizkid, Jesse Jagz, Ruby, Pype, Ice Prince and Brymo
With award recognitions from South Africa’s Channel O music Awards, MTVbase Awards and also the American BET Awards, HipHop world Awards, Modemen Awards, Nigerian Entertainment Awards, The Future Awards, Malaysian African Entertainments Awards, Nigerian Music Video Awards, Orange Wall of Fame, City People Awards, and more, M.I’s music is conscious effort at not selling out, and he depicts the perfect example of bringing Nigerian and Nigerians together.
M.I Abaga was knighted on Thursday, 9 October, 2012 as UNODC’s Goodwill Ambassador for Human Trafficking, and according to the organizers of the event, he was selected for this role to remind young men and women that even when the odds are stacked against you, persistence and hard-work pay off.
M.I has never been silent in his beliefs and thoughts, and when the Aluu incident occurred, he wrote an article that showed how deeply affected he was by the ordeal (You can read that Here ), and now M.I has voiced out again on the same issue with a song (You can download it Here ).
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