Jude Abaga, known by his stage name M.I Abaga, was born in Jos Plateau State. He is widely heralded as Africa’s most commercially successful rapper. He first tasted mainstream success in 2008 with his debut, ‘Talk About It’, which sold 30,000 copies in the first 30 minutes; the largest sales recorded at that time. The album was a watershed moment for Nigeria’s hip-hop community, laying out the much-needed blueprint for commercial success selling rap in Africa.
His music was largely based on his experience as a kid from war-torn Jos and his immersive experience while earning a business degree from Calvin College, Michigan. His love for melody and understanding of music at his high school choir was infused with the heavy beats and poetic delivery of American rappers like Jay-Z and DMX; crafting the early parts of his trademark punchline-heavy musical style.
M.I. is widely known for his commitment to innovation in producing and marketing his music, as well as showcasing young talent. His ‘MI2’ album remains Nigeria’s best-selling hip-hop album. After taking a 4-year hiatus from music, he returned with the ‘Chairman’ Album, and did over 25 million streams in less than a month. His 2018 release ‘Rendezvous’ featured a mishmash of burgeoning young talent, and members of the country’s ‘alte’ community. He also holds the record for the most albums (5) charting simultaneously on Apple Music in Nigeria.
Beyond his music, M.I. is a brand favourite, holding Ambassadorship positions with brands like Globacom Limited, Martell, and Henessy.
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