M.I Abaga Rapper’s relationship with Milli wasn’t a great one

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The Monday morning meeting at
the offices of Chocolate City Music
will have been decorated by a
charged and somber air. At the
head of the table will be M.I
Abaga, a man with a lot on his
shoulders. He is their father, their
king, their leader, their legend,
and most importantly, the captain
of their ship. M.I has been in the
news this weekend for all the
wrong reasons. He has been
accused of fleecing a young man
of his talent, withholding his
shine, and perhaps diabolically
altering his originality to conform
with the ‘trash’ of Nigerian pop
music, in order to ensure
commercial value.
In many creative quarters, that can be seen as
asking a man to sell his soul to the devil,
exchanging art and a peace of mind for a shot
at famous mediocrity and fickle economics.
On Saturday, June 4, 2016, a certain Milli, who
once bore two banners of this embattled
house, had his personal epistle to his fans
» filter through social media and into the
news pages. That letter contained a revelation
of tears, heartbreak, deliberate limitations and
abuse. All of these came from the ‘Head Of
The Family’ M.I Abaga.
Milli had been with M.I Abaga for two years,
working on a number of projects for the
house, but scarcely seeing the joy of his music
rolling off the conveyor belt of the label.
According to him, M.I had been his limiter,
working hard to keep him in chains. Those
chains fell off this year, after five grueling
months of tactful negotiations and artistic
silence from Milli and his camp.
This was a shock to everyone who knew M.I.
He is the king of the big game, who seemed to
care about ‘the art’ and ‘pushing the culture’,
talking his way, and motivating everyone. But
Milli’s story showed another side to him, the
vindictive, controlling, and manipulative leader
who withheld a Wizkid feature from his
protégé because he could. A man who ignored
the greater good and allowed his artiste
choose between Wizkid and an altered version
of ‘Unlooking’.
M.I has not caught a break since he assumed
the mantle of leadership at the record label.
Formerly seen as an artiste first, before the
head of the defunct Loopy Music, the rapper
escaped the prying eyes of the press when he
was at Loopy. But Chocolate City which is a
blessing, has come with its curses. M.I has
been criticized for inactivity, vilified for taking
the ‘wrong’ decision. During times when
Chocolate City appeared to be stagnant, he
took the heat, when their songs were not
widely accepted, M.I was fingered for allowing
that song come out.
Ice Prince, his deputy, who was bestowed the
glowing distinction of Vice President, has not
been that much of a support. Whenever his
name had come up in the same breath as
Chocolate City, it had come with negativity. A
fight, an exit, or more music with Choc City
Logo. Recently, he was made the leader of an
imprint, Super Cool Cats, alongside Jesse Jagz,
who had his claimed by the label.
The rapper has behaved admirably at most
times though, mostly receiving his stick with
aplomb and dignity, and at other times,
engaging his detractors on social media. This
year he has already released the third and last
of his Illegal Mixtape series, which contained a
song directed at the renegade Milli.
Perhaps it was destined for Milli to not find
himself with M.I. Maybe, they would have had
a better relationship if the toga of leadership
draped around M.I was absent. Afterall, they
are both cerebral rappers with distinct flows, a
knack for the game, and bonded by Hip-hop.
But it didn’t work out. Milli is having a
reemergence, and M.I is gnashing his teeth.

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