Legendary Multi-award-winning Rapper and Music Executive, M.I Abaga is set to release a new album ‘The Guy’ at the stroke of midnight Friday, 18th August 2022.
‘The Guy’ is M.I’s seventh solo studio album and when his extensive catalog that includes three mix tapes and three collaboration albums are considered, it tallies to 13 projects during the course of a career that has spanned over a decade.
In this week’s Afrobeats throwback I shall be ranking the top 5 M.I albums, and since ‘The Guy’ is another solo effort from the legend, his collaborative works will not be considered in this ranking.
M.I has released 6 solo albums – ‘Talk About It (2009)’, ‘M.I 2 (2010)’, ‘Chairman (2014)’, ‘Rendevouz (2018)’, ‘Yung Denzel: A Study of Selfworth (2018)’, and ‘Judah the EP (2020)’.
He has also released three mix tapes under the illegal mixtape series – ‘Illegal Music (2009)’, ‘Illegal Music 2 (2012)’, and ‘Illegal Music 3: The Finale (2016)’.
From this groundbreaking award-winning body of work, we shall be ranking the top five projects based on content, success, and impact. So, let’s get into it.
5. ‘Rendevouz (2018)’
Coming in at number five is the playlist ‘Rendevouz’. In this album, M.I Abaga took a step back from delivering hard bars with which he had defined Hip Hop in Nigeria. He embrace a softer and playful side by making laidback music which endeared him to a whole new audience.
From the soothing love tune ‘Playlist’ featuring Nonso Amadi to the creating feel-good music in ‘Lekki’, ‘Rendevouz’ offered an easy playlist that makes for one long satisfying listen.
4. ‘Illegal Music 3: The Finale (2016)’
In 2016, M.I dropped his last mixtape from his Illegal Music series and he kept the best for last. ‘Illegal Music 3: The Finale’ is a 10-track rap extravaganza that had guest appearances from POE before he became Ladipoe and Kenya’s Kaligraph Jones.
‘Everything I have seen’ is one of M.I greatest songs and Illegal Music 3 can be credited with the beginning of M.I’s walk into introspective rap. on ‘Illegal Music 3: The Finale’ M.I was at his most powerful as he explores iconic pop culture moments to send a message of his place in the industry.
3. ‘Talk About It (2009)’
When M.I released ‘Talk About It (2009)’ in 2009, it was at a moment when rap in Nigeria was undergoing its first major evolution and it needed a leader to lead the movement into the new school.
With his debut album ‘Talk About It’, M.I was able to take the game by the scruff of the neck and usher Hip Hop into a new dimension where listeners were introduced to a more sonically appealing Hip Hop.
2. ‘Yung Denzel: A Study of Selfworth (2018)’
In 2018, M.I’s first release of the year was ‘Rendevouz’ the playlist and it invariably generated questions about his rapping abilities. To put the questions to bed, M.I released another album called ‘Yung Denzel: A Study of Selfworth (2018)’.
‘Yung Denzel: A Study of Selfworth (2018)’ was M.I at his most vulnerable as he explores the subject matter of his place in a fast-changing world. He allowed listeners into his mind to explore his fear, doubts, and desires. The ten-track album had something for everyone including rappers for whom M.I has some strong words.
The album was an attempt by M.I to tear himself apart and reconstruct himself into a rap king, a legend, the Naija rap messiah, a god.
1. ‘M.I 2 (2010)’
When M.I’s discography is the subject, one album that most critics and fans consider his best and most important body of work is ‘M.I 2’.
The album came at the commercial height of Hip Hop in Nigeria and M.I was able to elevate himself to a superstar through hit singles such as ‘Action Film’, the self-adulating ‘Number One’ featuring Flavour, ‘Undisputed’, and ‘Nobody’ featuring 2Baba.
‘M.I 2’ achieved groundbreaking success and over a decade later, the album remains fresh and when the songs come on, they roll back the years. ‘M.I 2’ tops this list for its content, success, and importance to M.I’s career and to Hip Hop in Nigeria.