Two major things happened this week.
MI left Chocolate City and dropped the Judah EP.
Or did MI drop the Judah EP and then leave Chocolate city?
Whichever way you choose to see it is probably subject to interpretation. An interpretation that the EP in question doesn’t quite give; at least not in clear terms.
If you are not of the Christian persuasion or you practice a diluted version of it, you probably missed the underlining concept behind the Judah EP.
Steeped in coded religiosity and a continuous, unapologetic reference to expressions from the Bible, the entire body of work is a strategic toast to MI’s religious propensity.
Son to religious folks, who else could have successfully pulled a subliminal messaging based on the Christian religious belief.
Every track on the EP is named after a Christian concept. Every song is a story; one that MI tells like a seasoned bard.
A generic summation of the EP would do it little justice, so breaking it down piecemeal is a far better option.
TRACK 1: The Parable
A simple story, told by a child but with a colossal life lesson attached. One that defines what MI is trying to say with this body of work.
Play this track again at the end of the album and every line will instantly be flooded with meaning.
TRACK 2: The Lion
Sounds strangely like an extension of the Yxng Dxnzl narrative; Paranoia, Fatherhood and responsibility are the major take away.
There is a little fear too, if you listen closely, but it doesn’t take away from the sheer genius of the messaging.
“The Lion of the Jungle, King of the pride
The weapon that can stop me has not yet been devised.”
TRACK 3: the Trinity (feat AQ)
This track can simply be described as a hip-hop manifesto cleverly laced in religious expressions.
The baton-type, mid-verse exchange is something new, where MI and AQ apply syncopation, mouthing the exact same lines simultaneously, to trade places on the verse.
AQ probably has blood on his hands because he definitely killed the verse. Every lyric is apt and he never slows down, deftly using cleverly-structured bible analogies to make his way through an unforgettable track.
“I’ve been around since time created Dinosaurs
Sat in crowds that got aroused by Diana Ross.”
TRACK 4: THE BLOOD
This is definitely a subtle response to Vector’s ‘Judas The Rat’ track, so MI slows it down for emotion and clarity.
The low-blow allegation that Vector made, accusing MI of abandoning his brother Jesse Jagz to penury is hinted at. The whole first verse is dedicated to explaining the bond that they both still share; an unconvincing attempt considering Jagz is nowhere in sight.
The track ends unsurprisingly with a scripture reference that attributes friendship to death.
We hope Vector is convinced.
“Plotting directions through forces and vectors.
While living in a foreign land who’s going to protect us.”
TRACK 5: THE COMMANDMENT (FEAT BUCKYRAW)
F*ck Boys have a track specially dedicated to them.
Wondering how to find one? MI makes it easy to locate the elusive lot with a clear 4-rule method that helps you know who a F*ck Boy is.
Here’s some advice.
If by some sad coincidence, you get a sneaky feeling that you might probably be a F*ck boy in transit, simply skip the entire track, because MI and Buckyraw do an amazing job of mentioning the word F*ck Boy a total of 32 times in the span of 3 minutes.
“Your real nigga trying to fix the squad with a glue,
But F*ck boy wish it was only them and you.”
TRACK 6: THE SACRIFICE (FEAT NAWE)
This is a victim’s anthem.
A classic ‘love gone wrong’ scenario. On this track, MI makes a losers list of all he gave in the ‘relationship’ while it thrived. The story is almost convincing with the level of imagery employed.
He ends the track with another perspective. A speech that is basically an ego balm of some sort. A story we have heard a thousand times; of how one man single-handedly helped a community of creatives from Jos to find their voice in Lagos.
“I wonder how you sleep at night,
After all I sacrificed.”
TRACK 7: THE TRIBE (FEAT ALPHA OJINI)
Tribe is the message here.
At this juncture, good music and all, you start to get the feeling that every message on the EP is about MI’s legacy.
Even the featured verse is a little worrisome because it is laced with sycophancy. Alpha Ojini basically used his entire verse to pay tribute to MI’s magnanimity, a testimonial of how the rapper bettered his life.
Then we are served a clip of the rapper giving a shout out to MI on his birthday. Words like integrity, loyalty, friendship are strategically peddled.
“2018, he flew me out to work, no way I could have foreseen this outcome,
Who would have thought the biggest rapper in the whole of Africa would show up on my album.”
TRACK 8: THE WARRIOR
There is a finality to this track.
Although another MI orchestrated, chest-bumping tune, it makes a slight detour, creating a soothing and inspiring rhythm that is not altogether self-absorbed; the MI we have come to know.
He takes a few lines between Kauna’s soul-stirring choruses to inspire people, giving credence to his own incredible.
The coin drop that starts the EP, ends it too, giving it an uncanny feeling of finality.
“And through it all I learnt a valuable lesson,
I can do it all,
Whether with stress or pending regression,
I’ve been through it all.”
Very few artistes in Nigeria have the ability to make proper album projects but MI is clearly nowhere near that lot. He stands firmly in a realm that is undeniably his, and with or without his 13-year Chocolate City streak, MI feels firm.
On whether he still has a lot more to offer, according to a line in the EP, we have 6-more albums to find out.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire