31 March 2016
Rap music is a genre of music that picked up rapidly following the emergence of the Chocolate City crew and its three signees, MI the Mr. Incredible, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz. While it had been shuffling along during the days of Mode 9, Ruggedman and Idris Abdulkareem. It became a more widely accepted genre of music and more frequently peddled by Nigerian artistes after the rise of Choc City star, M.I Abaga.
The Choc City crew can be said to have launched the most successful or widely received rap albums at the time, so much so that its lead rapper, M.I Abaga was hailed as the rap messiah who had come to change the game from her old clothes. Whether this is true or not is debatable.
However the Choc City trio, with Mr. Incredible in the lead did perform incredibly well commercially, and invent a culture where younglings wanted to rap and burst out with incredible displays of lyricism and wordplay M.I is known for.
After M.I and his brother’s emergence in the rap scene, their protege, Ice Prince followed with an album that was ‘not uncool like his dad’s brother’ in the rapper’s own words. After the Chocolate City trinity, a lot of rappers have appeared on the scene. Ranging from Olamide, to Phyno, from Naeto C to Ikechukwu. They have employed different styles. Some displaying dexterous wordplay in the manner of M.I, others with flow to match Jesse Jagz’s, and some exuding the cool swag of Ice Prince. Yet others have evolved their own styles and exploded the indigenous style of rapping.
They all enjoyed varying levels of commercial success with Mr. Incredible hailed as BRA – the Best Rapper Alive. Whether or not this is true, M.I’s rap can be said to have caused a ripple effect and influenced the rap genre massively. Is he or can he still be said today to be BRA, the best rapper alive?
Looking at his mixtapes and albums, from Illegal music 1,2 and 3 to MI 1, 2 and the Chairman album, the incredible effect can honestly be said to have dwindled somewhat. The buzz around his music from the time of Illegal Music 2 and MI 2 has been on the decline. What or who is responsible for this? Could it be the unstoppable law of gravity, of what goes up inexorably coming down as he noted in his recent mixtape, or the proliferation of musical talents and our Mr. Incredible is finding it hard to keep up with the competition? Or could it be perhaps that MI’s skills have finally transcended the ability of his audience to empathize or feel his skills?
Whatever the case may be, the plethora of awards, endorsements and cash the Choc City prodigy was raking in is in stark contrast to the low publicity and poor reception that met his Chairman album and followed his Illegal Music 3 mixtape. If he was the best rapper alive at a point, it is doubtful and one would hesitate to say if he still possesses that title. Only time will tell whether our Mr. Incredible will fade into the mists of obscurity or find and own again his missing BRA title.