Arguably Nigeria’s best rapper, M.I. returns with his third studio album, The Chairman. Living up to the title, the chairman rolls out the album in the most unique manner of recent times. With no previous singles and a visual track list released via instagram, M.I. continues to push the envelope.
1. The Beginning/Nobody
Nigerian artists hardly include skits on albums. This skit reflects the situation most Nigerians are facing. The intro was a fitting way to start the story that is The Chairman Album.
2. Monkey (ft. Chi Gurl)
M.I addresses the oppressor in the skit alongside Chi Gurl on the high life chorus. M.I. has a tendency to infuse other genres with rap music. Interesting song
3. Rich (ft. Koker)
M.I continues to uplift alongside relatively unkown, Koker prophesying open doors, riches and blessings. Koker’s voice and style is very reminiscent of ex choc boy, Brymo. M.I also hints at the rumoured relationship with beauty queen, Agbani Darego in the second verse.
4. Mine (ft. Wizkid)
M.I. collaborates with Wizkid once again after introducing him to the country on “Fast Money Fast cars” on his debut, ‘Talk About It’. Mine is a beautiful love song and one of the stand out tracks on the album.
5. Shekpe (ft. Reminisce)
M.I. and Reminisce come together on a Sarz production for this hard rap song. M.I. and Reminisce both delivered, but more interestingly the nursery rhyme influenced chorus and M.I’s Yoruba third verse. So far on the album, the production on every track transcends across various tempos and genres.
6. Bad Belle (ft. Moti Cakes)
M.I. does one for the hip hop community with adlibs from Chocolate City A&R, Moti Cakes. Moti Cakes could have been more enthusiastic and creative with the adlibs. The “flexing” chant got too repetitive and was an obvious Migos impression.
7. Wheel Barrow (ft. Emmy Ace & Beenie Man)
This track is a definite smash hit. The dance hall track features new Chocolate City signee, Emmy Ace and King of dancehall, Beenie Man. The highlight of the track is the last verse, M.I. in his usual fashion slows it down and turns the up tempo dance hall track to a soulful love verse with adlibs from Beenie Man. If promoted properly, this could undoubtedly be one of M.I.’s biggest records internationally.
8. Brother (ft. Nosa & Milli)
M.I. addresses the Chocolate City break up on this soulful record with Nosa on the hook. The track has the signature M.I. organ sound.
9. The Middle (ft. IJ & Olamide)
M.I. and Olamide come together to jointly address the rumoured beef between the two kings. They also address haters and hip hop critics whilst both claiming number one.
10. Enemies (ft. Patoranking)
M.I. shares some advice on enemies and dodgy friends alongside Patoranking. The song is a good album filler.
11. Bullion Van (ft. Runtown, Phyno, Storm Rex)
One of the lesser favourites if not the least. It seems like M.I’s premeditated eastern hit in an attempt to replicate the impact of ‘African Rapper Number One’ with Flavour which has been his biggest record ever despite the lack of a video.
12. Always Love (ft. Seyi Shay)
M.I. and Seyi Shay come together for this beautiful love song. With M.I. and Seyi Shay’s decent song writing skills the song would be well accepted.
13. Millionaira Champagne (ft. Ice Prince, Sarkodie & DJ Lambo)
M.I. compiles a stellar combination of African heavyweights on this rap anthem. This track is bars galore for lack of a better term. BARS! BARS! BARS! All three brought their A game as expected.
14. Yours (ft. Milli & Debbie)
M.I. shows his gratitude on this Drake sounding record. M.I calls out his former manager, Obinna Agwu (@d_angrymob) who criticized M.I’s music and rapping skills on his blog. Milli & Debbie delivered as well, working with young acts brings out the best in M.I. The chairman ends this heartfelt record with a vote of thanks.
15. Beg (ft. Morell & Loose Kanyon)
Morell and Loopy act, Loose Kanyon come together to bring something sexual for the ladies. Very nice song, sure to be one of the favourites.
16. Human Being (ft. 2 face & Sound Sultan)
Arguably the best record on the album alongside two icons, 2 face and Sound Sultan. Similar to their last collaboration (excluding Sound Sultan) they address haters and bad wishers, emphasizing that they are still human beings despite the dominant perception of having it all. M.I. calls out Nomoreloss who was vocal against other artistes in a bid to save the life of producer, OJB Jezreel. 2face delivers the chorus in a very interesting, sluggish manner reminiscent of his vintage, more aggressive style.
17. The End (ft. Oristefemi, Frank Edwards & Nanya)
Oritse Femi seems to be the voice of hope for the streets from his string of street uplifting hits and features. He delivers some more motivation for people stuck in the street on the closing track of M.I.’s album. The track also features a bible passage read by Jesse Jagz’ daughter, Jade. The song ends with a proclamation of God as the Chairman.
M.I. has attained leadership status in the hip hop community and music industry and he proves it with this album. Firstly, every track had a feature, mostly from upcoming, young and relatively unnown but talented acts. M.I. this time around pushed the creative envelope forward with no prior singles for the first time ever in Nigeria, making listeners concentrate on the body of work in a market fast becoming a singles market. M.I. also held a leadership event showcasing powerful images depicting the leadership in Nigeria, he also shard the strong images via insagram, as a build up to The Chairman Musically M.I. has not lost a step, but has gotten better thanks to the young influences around him. This album contained various genres but still maintains M.I’s unique soulful but hip hop sound. Whilst this may not suit listeners in search of fire spitting Talk About M.I, this album is full of simply good music.
M.I. is one of Nigeria’s most loved musicians and this album would only boost his legacy, however M.I. never seems to totally satisfy his fans outside the music. M.I.’s career has been poor visually and it is hurting his brand. Videos in today’s market are more essential than ever as the afro beats community is spread world wide and most listeners today do not buy albums, videos help push to right songs to the global audience. M.I. is a king in Nigeria but can do much more globally.