Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard all the buzz following MI the ‘young denzel’ who created loaded conversations on the internet via his twitter account as per the 3rd installment of his mixtape, illegal music 3- the finale.
Aside from obvious growth(no, not in height) in wisdom of the ‘rap god’ here are 5 things I learnt, and I feel MI was trying to communicate;
Use monologues if you want to sound deep;
The use of monologues as bridge has been made popular by the new hip-hop ‘wavvy’ movement. MI rummaged youtube enough to get a hold of not so popular interviews of greats, from Mike Tyson to Jayz’s interview with Angie Martinez. Many rappers, including his own brother Jesse Jagz(in Louis, using rants from the movie ‘Network’); Wale(with Jerry Seinfield, in album about nothing) and recently Anderson .Paak have included these kind of monologues in their works to give it a much more deep, more personal feeling to drive home their thesis. ‘All fall down‘ the track featuring POE is both introspective and motivating- for anybody afraid to fail while reaching for greatness. In there, you can hear Mike Tyson talk about how he has experienced high level of success and great disappointment. And MI closes with an enigmatic statement “gravity is not a superstition”.
Sampling is still the heart of Illegal Music;
If you’re familiar with the previous mixtapes from this collection, you’ll recall how so many instrumentals were sampled ingenuously. This one is not different in that regard. He sampled beats from Jayz a lot, Beyonce’s ‘formation’ for his track ‘black bill gates‘ and YEezy’s ‘never let me down’. He also re visited the popular list published by Notjust ok in ‘Notjust ok/savage’ (in a corny sponsored ad fashion) which he did in a cover version of burna’s ‘Soke’.
He want’s to be compared to HOVA;
Well he hasn’t taken a pop star wife like JayZ (Yemi Alade is single though); he hasn’t till date up to 11 platinum albums(although this mixtape was downloaded 200k times on the first day of release) neither does he own a music streaming platform(read: TIDAL). He however made it clear in the song ‘head of the family‘ where he sampled instrumental and back-up vocals from Jay’s ‘La Familiar’, that like Jay is to ROC nation , he is the head of the choc city family; he has made a star out of Ice Prince, Victoria Kimani and a host of others, plus he knows his business.
MI doesn’t want to be boxed in ‘indigenous rappers’;
On a leveled playing field, MI is better lyrically compared to many acclaimed international rap stars. The limiting factor is the seeming glass ceiling that prevents him from getting Grammy nod. He wants to level the playing field, before now, its be known that he has shunned the industry standard. As he rhymed in ‘Numbers’ to not ‘compare him to these artists, they giving you cheap garbage’, plus no one even comes close if you judge him by ‘these’ garbage.
In the end good music still sells, regardless of the genre;
Contrary to many Nigerians beliefs- notable among them is the famous 2014 tweet from don jazzy that purports, if you’re a Hip-Hop act in Nigeria, your parents can’t be proud. MI has refuted that claim and has yet created a viable business for himself and his team using literally, a mic and a beat box, ‘hip-hop is as viable as pop I made them say’ he rhymes in ‘remember me‘. The key he explains in the track ‘the finale’ is very good content. In the popular Martin Luther’s speech-which he inserted in the song- set out to be the best of at what you do. And for this, people would remember him.