Agent Don Chichi, your mission, should you accept it, is to critically review the most anticipated album of 2010, MI2: The Movie. Chances are you career might self-destruct if you diss Mr. Incredible. So long sucker! (insert sinister/wicked/evil laugh here)
I accept this suicidal critique of a superior wordsmith for the pen is mightier than the sword (but bros, na keyboard you dey use). Oh be quiet (yes sir).
The ‘Naija’ rapper or ‘Afro’ hip hopper is a creation of fiction in my opinion, however, I am the minority in this Bellacracy, so I will say this now and repeat it later if it still rings through: MI is the best rapper this side of the Atlantic. He is a lyrical pimp who puts words to work for him. Whenever he raps, he might as well have his pimp hand readdy and yell over different beats, ‘B!+c#, where’s my money?’ The first time I heard “Crowd Mentality,” I knew this was one to watch for and he has not disappointed. That short black boy from the town called J spat more fire than Zebrudaya all over his debut album and to this day, we still Talk About It.
When I heard MI2 was on the streets, I went in search of traffic and every street hawker was peddling the goods. ‘Ah, an upgrade of the last cover,’ I think to myself, ‘Nice touch… hang on! What’s this? The Movie??? Is this a VCD, DVD or Audio CD? What’s going on here?’ Slot into the car deck… it’s reading… it’s playing… it’s an Audio CD. So what’s this movie business? Well, we’ll soon find out, won’t we?’
Since we’re in movie mode, this deserves the Clint Eastwood treatment; so ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the good, the bad and the ugly of MI2: The Movie.
The Good MI is a bad rapper, and that’s bad meaning good. His wit is sharp and his wordplay is needles – on point! Where most artists look to make hit records, M appears to pursue good music instead and let the work speak for itself. It’s speaking loud and clear, and bangin’ si mi leti! MI is a modern day preacher and I am a believer.
While “Number One” featuring Flavor successfully blends Hip-Hop and Highlife, “My Head My Belle” creatively chronicles the day-to-day existence of the typical Nigerian as MI croons, ‘Naija people, just surviving/okada riding, police bribing/fasting, preaching, pay your tithing/school fees paying, food providing/impure water, no electric/so much traffic, see the life is hectic…’ We know the story too well but his spin on it would make MJ proud.
The Waje duet “One Naira,” is definitely worth a billion more. The Hip-Hop love song is always a dicey prospect but this dynamic duo pulls it off, convincingly so. It is my current favorite. Whether vulnerable (“Wild Wild West”) or rebellious (“Craze”), MI plays ‘Master Illustrator’ as he paints vivid pictures of a troubled nation. While “Imperfect Me” is a clever work of introspection showing that Mr. Incredible is only human, a three headed beast is unleashed on requisite posse cut, “Represent.” Jesse Jagz is ill (‘we fly so high, we only seen by God’), Ice Prince is slick (‘me beat me chest like me ping pong/me go back and forth like me King Kong/psyche!’) and MI is sick, spitting, ‘When I met Jesse Jagz, he had just been born/I was like wa wa wa wa son/let me give ya’ll the translation/we go’n take over the whole nation.’ Wahala de. Chef MI takes it further with “Beef,” addressing those throwing stones at his Chocolate throne: ‘they know that using my name will help them sell some/so Iceberg, it’s alright, you’re welcome/…see woh woh pikin dey form handsome/ Kelechukwu, clap for yourself, well done…/why you mad at my flow, you be tampon?’ I can’t shout.
The Bad The intro has its funny moments but is about two minutes too long. The MI, Timaya and Loose Kaynon collabo, “Anybody” is as convincing as the new look Miami Heat; three individual talents that are out of sync as a single unit. MI is his usual lyrical self, Timaya, typically, goes off on his own tangent but Kaynon appears the most uncomfortable, seemingly trying to keep up with MI lyrically and doing an unimpressive job of it. While MI2 sounds like a no-brainer for an album title, it is the kind of lazy titling you’d expect from Nollywood – a la Juliet Must Live or Beyonce vs Rihanna – but not for someone as creative as he is. Yes, he is MI and this is his 2nd album; so, is MI3 next? The short black boy straight jacked the short white boy on this one. Not good enough dawg. When you’re constantly reminded on every other song that someone is the best, it can get a little redundant but that’s what rappers do; blow their own war trumpet till rivals’ ears bleed. Unfortunately, sometimes, listeners’ ears do too.
The Ugly Where is the movie? Apparently, in cyberspace. The online version is said to have several skits which our local street CD is missing. Why na? This is why my initial reaction was ‘419’ as this advertised movie was just track after track with no linking theme or story to follow. Either way, it is still a huge blow or ojoro strategy to push online sales. Yeah, I said it! Extra treats for online buyers are commonplace but to ignore, or even accidentally marginalize, possibly, the largest percentage of consumers is unfair and unacceptable. It’s even bad for MI as the movie experience he no doubt worked tirelessly to create is completely lost on thousands, possibly millions. And why is there a girl sleeping in the cinema? Has she been bored to death? Did she not enjoy The Movie? With MI’s potential for growth on a global scale, his Mr. Incredible moniker is already cutting it close, so why add an MI2: The Movie to that? Google MI2 and MI’s album doesn’t even appear until the bottom of the second page. Google MI2: The Movie and it’s the fifth item after four Mission: Impossible 2 references (at the time this was written, anyway). Anyone who’s watched Tropic Thunder knows how gangsta Tom Cruise can be! On a serious note though, there could be legal implications but MI’s boss is a lawyer, so he must have it all figured out.
The Bottom-Line MI JOStifies his Plataeu lineage because he is on top. Lyrically, he has further separated himself from the pack as a prize verbal pugilist. His economy of words is unmatched, masterfully using few words to say a whole lot. Although there is no song that jumps at you like “Anoti” from his previous album, MI2‘s production is solid for a more balanced offering than its predecessor, showing maturity as an artist. MI has not disappointed with the content of this album but loses points for the missing movie. Otherwise, plug in that HDMI cable and enjoy the view.
MI2 is available for purchase via NotJustOk.com or via your friendly neighborhood music vendor