In a country that has totally been overrun by Afrobeats as the major pop sound, MI has over the last two decades been one of the few rap musicians who has kept the light shining in the rap music community. Although the Nigerian music community has been benefiting from the popular Afropop and Afrobeats sounds which have helped Afrobeats musicians gain good international features; Rappers in Nigeria have not been able to get good features that will blow them up. This is why when it was announced that Nas was going to be featured in his new album project, I was looking to listen to the project and get one or two pieces of information as regards the sound and music.
POSSIBLE HITS OR FLOPS
Listening to the project from start to finish, the first song that catches my attention is “Soft Life Tony”. Although I can not categorically agree that the song will become a hit but it may just become an anthem for people who are hustling hard to make a living. “The Guy” is another song that may become a hit song. This is because of the wordplay of the song and the ability of people to use it to brag. Last on the list of possible hit songs is “Daddy”. The song which is funky music is a song that can be used to have a good time like in the 90s. The wordplay and rap fusion is great and the hook provided by Chillz has a tagline that can be used for banter on and offline be it on Twitter or clubhouse.
In a catalog of songs on this album, one of the songs that will not become a hit song is the song that features CaveMen and Phyno. The song which I anticipated to follow the path of MI’s work with Flavour and Runtown in MI2 and Chairman albums respectively did not live up to my expectation. The Rhythm was boring and Phyno singing still does not make any rap song strong.
MI has not always been an artist who picks a single topic sentence and sticks to it. Instead, he revolves between different topics to curate a projects-be an EP or LP. He kept that same energy in “The Guy” album by switching from self-confidence songs to songs that discuss love, life hustle, and social issues-based music.
In songs that talk about self-confidence and life hustle, he sings about how blessed and sure the guy is in the rap atmosphere in Nigeria. For example in the song in which he features BNXN aka Buju, titled “Oil”, he raps about how blessed he is at the place he is now. According to him, he has oil on his head (meaning he has grace beyond measure). “The Guy” is a song that uses to describe how he has been able to make himself the main person interested as regards the rap music craft in Nigeria. Revealing that he is self-motivated because of his quest to make the next meal, he declares himself the guy (meaning a kind of sure plug) as regards rap music.”Bigger” is a song that features Olamide and Nas, and it talks about the social issue of wealth and fame as a bitter-sweet experience. According to him while he lived his early life praying and hustling to make it big and beat the problem of poverty only to discover a bigger problem when he became rich and famous.
In social issues-based songs, MI created two songs with Ossi Grace and Lord Vino. In a song titled “Crazy”, he works with Ossi Grace to talk about the negative effect of Twitter and general bullies. According to him, the reason people are always hating and calling it savage is that the generation that gave birth to them did not really know love and respect-hence giving birth to a generation of haters. Working with Lord Vino he created “Soft Life Tony”. This is a song that is two-sided lyrically inspired song. The song on one hand praises the hustle and finesse of Tony Elumelu (The founder and CEO of United Bank for Africa) and shows every day being a legitimate hustling billionaire. While on the other hand, he uses it to inspire himself and other legitimate hustlers who wake up early to chase money and live a soft rich life.
In some of the love songs on the album, he curates songs with Wande Coal, Cavemen, and Duncan Mighty. With Wande Coal he makes a song titled “The Love song”. In this song, he talks about the love of his life who is like his life wire and could kill him if she left him. Using some very good analogies and metaphoric lines he eulogizes her as the best for him. Working with Cavemen and Phyno he created a song titled “Inside”. The song is filled with lyrics that are used to woo a lady to become his lover. the song which is a Highlife-based Afropop sound paints a lyrical picture of the traditional bridal payment rights of Nigerian ladies. the final Love song on the album features creative strength of Duncan mighty. MI also uses the song to woo a lady who is his center of attraction.
In summary, the album is a well-curated body of work and could last on many people’s playlists.
MI Abaga The Guy Album Review