Popular rapper, Jude Abaga a.k.a M.I has recounted his tale of struggles before stardom
In a chat with Ikechukwu Onunaku, rapper turned actor, M.I said he worked at an internet cafe when he relocated to Nigeria.
“Getting signed to Chocolate City, for me, happened in Jos (2008). I came back to Nigeria from the US, got a job. I was earning, at the time, around N15,000. I was working at an internet cafe,”he said.
In Nigeria, people don’t work when they’re young. We have to destigmatise work. I cleaned. I was a janitor in America, sending money home to my brothers. In the last job I did, we were cutting grass for one rich guy.
“It was 2003 and he was paying 10 bucks an hour, with overtime up to you. So we work 8 hours, he pays an hour and a half on anything above that. It stacked up. I came home with $700 cash after buying things for everyone.”
Speaking further, the revered entertainer said he was once jealous of his younger brother, Jesse Jagz
“Imagine Jesse Jagz being your brother. It was the first moment where I think I dealt with jealousy completely. I come home with this record called ‘Crowd Mentality’. The beat was hot and I knew it was the record,” MI said.
“Jesse said, ‘nice, let me play you a record.’ And he plays me a record called ‘Bend Down Low’. It’s on his first album. I was doing all the work then, organising things. He played it and we all in the studio knew.
“If a label comes and plays all our songs, they would sign Jesse, even though it wasn’t fair. MI deserved to be signed, not Jesse but everyone knew Jesse was the stuff. I was still pitching to Chocolate City at the time.
“Do I play the song to them? I decided jealousy wouldn’t help me going forward. I needed to get rid of it. I had to accept that, when they heard it, they would ask me to stop. I played the record and they told me it was amazing.”