Nigeria has a vibrant entertainment scene where new music is released by the heartbeat. This means we could easily lose track of sonic gems due to the influx of new music from different directions. Which makes M.I’s discography a choice pick for songs you should probably track down and re-visit right now.
M.I’s goosebumps inducing tribute to the 4 students murdered in a local village in Port Harcourt after being accused of armed robbery. M.I dirges for the slain students as he juxtaposes their murder against society’s silence in the face of wrong and the inability of the government to prevent such haplessness. Between the acoustic guitar stringing haunting chords in the background and M.I’s sacrificial lamb opening line; Instead it be them/ let it be me. There is just something about M.I’s conversational spoken word style that near chokes you with tears.
Wild Wild West
At the height of tribal and ethno-religious violence in M.I’s hometown of Jos, M.I dedicated a song, Wild Wild West from his sophomore LP to the state of his home. The result is a haunting auto-tuned narrative dovetailed towards the need for anyone going to Jos to protect themselves, because the government seems to be incapable of doing that.
Heart of my city (feat. Show Dem Camp)
As one of the best songs off his Illegal Music 2 mixtape, Heart of My City featured rap verses delivered from the point of view of an observer and a player. M.I, Tec and Ghost of Show Dem Camp, give commentaries on the state of the Nigerian entertainment industry. With stunning vocals provided by Ruby Gyang for the hook, M.I and his featured rappers send one message out; It’s a cold world out here so keep your friends close.
In honour of Nigeria’s military battling Boko Haram, M.I’s Another man celebrates the brave men in uniform while discussing the hypocrisy of the oblivious Nigerians who have not been exposed to the bombings and mindless killings.
End of Time (Da’Grin Tribute)
M.I has not obscured from the media just how much of a Da’Grin fan he was, while the rapper was still alive. With bars saturated against stretchy ideas like the afterlife, heaven and the brevity of human conciousness, M.I pays respects to one of the rappers that helped shape Nigerian hip-hop.
Off his sophomore album, M.I 2 : The Movie, Praiz goes by way of John Legend for this spiritual meditational creation. M.I challenges listeners and himself to break boundaries beyond their weaknesses and limitations to be better humans.
There is very little information on the genealogy of this song. But sonically his verses maintain a satirical feel, reminiscent of M.I’s comedic pre-M.I.2 style as he makes light of Nigeria’s political issues and the consequence of a people that fails to demand more from an erring government.
Superhuman (feat. HHP)
This was one of the most talked about features on the Illegal Music 2 mixtape and the reason is not far from obvious. The bars on this song are not for the weak minded and the depth of the ideas run even further. Soaked in the high handed idealisms of Malcom X, young Nelson Mandela, Ken Saro wiwa amongst others, M.I and South African rapper, HHP take the music beyond sound to speak of leading a movement that will transcend time and generations to come.