An Interview with MI

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Jude Abaga also known as ‘Mr Incredible’ (MI) is one of the popular musicians in the country. He speaks with Joan Omionawele on his life as a rapper, challenges in the industry and other issues.[Nigerian Tribune]

You’ve definitely made a name for yourself in the industry. How did you get to this point?     
God has been very faithful. I’ve been determined enough to take my time and work harder, to be the best at what I do. Gaining relevance comes from doing what you know the people rooting for you will love. It may not always be easy, but that’s the method required for making your mark.

What was growing up like?
Very wonderful childhood. My family is a beautiful one, and every member has a unique kind of bond with every other person. Growing up for me was quite a lot of learning and reading. My parents made sure we were well read and versed in Bible knowledge. I had a very strong scriptural upbringing. But generally, growing up was quite an experience. There were good times and bad times, but it was wonderful.

What would you say is your most challenging song ever
Ashes. The song was based on the ‘Aluu 4’ murder. I mean that was one project for which I was not very sure how to approach, because the news was depressing. I couldn’t think straight for days. I asked myself what in God’s name is going on in this world. And then, of course, my next instinct was to do a song about it, which is my only way of reacting to my grief. Then as I started, I was having issues with the work, like how much should I say, am I saying too much, or am I saying too little? Should I bluntly express my state of mind or still be subtle in consideration of the public and all? Finally, I did the song and was satisfied, but it was not a piece of cake.

How do you handle competition among other artistes?
You really should specify, because competition can be productive and encouraging; it can also be with friends. But ‘beef’ has more negativity to it. Anyway, to address both issues, competition drives more positive energy. It can challenge you and make you say Yo, I gotta up my game, and bring more fire, not because you feel ‘I must top this person’, but also because it shows you that more can be done, and it prevents complacency or laziness. As for ‘beef’, that’s more laughable, because most ‘beefs’ are baseless. So, I just ignore it and move forward. Although, before ignoring, I take a close look to see if there is anything to be learnt or any productivity that can come of it. If not, then I go blind to it.

You just landed a deal with Glo, how does it feel?
It feels wonderful, and very encouraging. The recognition by a giant brand, and the privilege to represent them and stand as an icon to them is exhilarating. It’s a good feeling.

How much is it worth?
No I can’t tell you that (laugh).

What’s next for MI? 
Next for MI is to complete the Chairman album and storm the hiphop community with it. Super-sounding singles will be released and videos as well. And of course, (there will be) loads of other projects, because, you know, it’s an unstoppable process. We gotta keep gunning for more.

What challenges are you facing in the industry?
Well, the industry has blossomed, I must say; we are doing fantastic here. But I think there’s still room for bigger and better things. There’s still some work to do, and that’s my challenge. The industry is not yet the paradise that it could be. Personally, I want to see more diversity, because it would give me a chance to do some of the work I dream to. For now, there’s still so much I can’t do because the industry is not ready for it.

Is there anything you are doing now that you would have loved to do differently?
I’m very content with God’s arrangement and plans. This was the dream and the mission, to bring my music out to be heard, and gain some success to keep me going and bringing more music. So, in the area of doing something differently, I think I’m fine.

How do you handle female fans?
With a whole lot of respect, Rap music has not always attracted the female gender much, but lately, females make up a huge percentage of my fan base. So, gratitude is felt, and I deeply respect them. Women must be loved enough to be respected, so I try to always dignify women in my music and outlook.

Can you recount an experience with a very stubborn female fan?  
One got my number by chance and then it became a tornado of calls and messages (so much) that I started treating my phone like a ticking time bomb (laughs). I tried to get her to pipe down in a friendly manner but to no avail, till sometime I was out of the country, and by the time I came back, it had died down a bit.

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