[Short Review] The Chairman of Nigerian Hip Hop


Dzekashu MacViban


A skit which is as outrageous as it is hilarious introduces us to MI’s third album, The Chairman, setting the tone for the album’s treatment of its main thematic concern, which is overcoming the travails one encounters in life to emerge as an achiever. The skit, which lampoons Nigerian education, shows how schools unteach students and deter them from their dreams, turning them instead into unambitious ‘yes men’ by brutalizing and insulting them.

MI is fond of opening his albums with outrageous skits— his 2008 album Talk About It featured ‘The President’ in its opening skit and his 2010 album, MI 2: The Movie, featured Mustapha. Another common feature shared by his albums is the fact that they are fully executed concept albums, with few songs straying from the concept.

The Chairman is not just a concept album but an experimental one as well, such that each song has its opposite ( except track 9, “The Middle”), creating a unique duality as well as alternate interpretation matrix. For example “Monkey”/ “Human Being”, “Brother”/ “Enemies”, “Shekpe”/ “Millionaira Champagne”.

The drum and base in the Kanyesque second song “Monkey”, which sets in about thirty seconds into the song and later accentuates, coupled with the message: Dem be de look me like monkey/Dem no know say i di look them like banana, makes the song an early favorite. Other songs which stand out include— “Mine”, “Bad Belle”, “Brother”, “Enemies”, “Yours” and “Human Being”.


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