An Insider’s critique of ‘The Chairman’ album

(He experimented with all sorts of beats for both the pakos and the ajebutters. Photo: Filed)

I know I will get into some trouble with this criticism of M.I’s new album, The Chairman.

This is partly because I am close to the subject but mostly because a lot of you still find the term ‘opinion’ like ‘yansh’ and so difficult to understand, hence the title – Hopefully An Insider’s Critique Of M.I’s The Chairman album.

1. The Beginning/ Nobody
What the hell was M.I thinking with this ridiculously unfunny skit? It would have been a forgivable sin if it was the last song on the album, that way, you can listen to the whole album without listening to this crap. I have only played it once before now and even this second time I couldn’t stomach the dryness of the skit. Why not just get one of your comedian friends (Senator, Bovi, Buchi, Osama, MC Longs, Funny Bones, Shakara, etc) to write the damned skit instead of one morose Lagos bouncer playing teacher? Don’t play this stupid skit with your kids in the car.

2. Monkey (feat. Chi Gurl)

I have never been a fan of Chi Gurl’s brand of comedy as she has never made me laugh and for this I make no apologies. I guess what M.I was trying to achieve with this song is a repeat of ‘African Rapper Number One Feat- Flavour since the beat is ridiculously familiar and the verses dangerously similar. To cut a long story short, this song only skids on the runway and stops due to lack of aviation fuel before we are all ordered back to the boarding area since Flavour ran away with the keys to the filling station after the original song.

3. Rich (feat. Koker)
I understand that Chocolate City still has beef with Brymo but I doubt that this precludes M.I from putting the young man on his album if he really wanted a replay of ‘Action film’. Jude Abaga, we dey warn you o. We no go buy ticket online make this plane no takeoff o. Is that Don Jazzy’s voice in the back ground? Where is M.I so far in this album?

4. Mine (feat Wizkid)
Finally we have boarded. The silky smooth start to the beat prepares you for a musical blowee. Wizkid does justice to the chorus and M.I finally gets into the music booth to drop some ill rhymes instead of allowing Jude Abaga that rapped on the previous 2 songs continue.

5. Shekpe (feat Reminisce)
Another biased view since Reminisce, like Phyno can’t do any wrong in my eye. Dope song with both MCs delivering as per rap. The beat is groovy but I don’t understand M.I’s Olamide wanna-be moment at the start of the 3rd verse. Also the person who came up with the ‘one shekpe bottle’ nonsense’ should be sent to Mubi to fight Boko Haram. The song doesn’t need that crap abeg.

6. Bad Belle (feat Moti Cakes)
I like the Motown intro sustained horns feel at the beginning but this sounds amazingly like ‘Alobam’ by Phyno which in turn sounds like Drake‘s ‘Worst Behaviour.’ Anyway, I like the lyrical play on words as per metaphorically calling out the ‘bad belle’ people. An okay song that will work for modern Hip-hop cats although M.I does sound like Ice Prince in some places I guess there is nothing wrong with me sounding like Jason once in a while.

7. Wheelbarrow (feat Emmy Ace and Beenie Man)
Standard Ragga beat reminisce of the Galala era. Before I begin, let me state that anything that has Beenie Man is an instant classic. If GEJ picks Beenie Man as his running mate I would change my mind and vote PDP in 2015. I like the chorus as it has a nice lazy Ragga pliers feel to it. Then as soon as Beenie Man jumps on the track I am catapulted to Jamaica. I see that Jude Abaga is back in the booth.

8. Brother (feat Nosa & Milli)
Soul stirring song with very truthful and very open lyrics. M.I poured out his heart on this one. Nosa also does small justice to the track but any decent singer could have done the same thing but no be him album now. I was still waiting for the Milli guy when the song ended. *Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, going through a bit of turbulence but nothing to worry about.

9. The Middle (feat Olamide & IJ)
I see that the ‘bouncer’ made it back for this intro, hmmmm. M.I is back in the booth. Chorus on point and reemphasizes my point about the chorus on ‘Brother’. I am a bit tired of Olamide’s recent style so I was playing with my son while he was spitting, abeg how was it?

10. Enemies (feat Patoranking)
Ghen ghen skit at the beginning. Very templated Patoranking. M.I is still in the booth and I like the chorus.

11. BullionVan (feat Runtown, Phyno & Stormrex)
Osadebe type of song for our ‘brosses’ in Alaba and the rest of the East. Way much better attempt at ‘African Rapper number one’ than that ‘Monkey’ number. Runtown nails the chorus and I already said Phyno can’t do any wrong so moving on. M.I also does a Shoki type of song. This Stormrex is deceptive sha. Has a rapper’s name but I am guessing he is a singer? An okay performance, I guess since it is too short to really judge.

12. Always Love (feat Sheyi Shay)
Is this another ‘One Naira’? *Skip?

13. Millionaire Champagne (feat Ice Prince, Sarkodie & DJ Lambo)
Ice Prince has redeemed himself after getting killed on ‘shots on shots’ by Sarkodie earlier in the year, even though he claims in the song that he isn’t trying to prove a point. Sarkodie is the Mode9 of Ghana so he basically does his stuff. Very bouncy groove with solid hip hop edge to it and M.I gets into the booth for this one. Haven’t seen Jude Abaga around the booth in a while, oh I forgot, he was for ‘Always Love’.

14. Yours (feat Millie & Debbie)
A dedication to the fan and done in the current lazy rap style of modern hip hop cats that I do not like. The Milli dude is one for the future but I will like to hear him rap on a faster beat and not this laid back Lil’ wayne style. A ‘just there’ song but did he diss Godwin Tom?

15. Beg (feat Morell & Loose Kaynon)
M.I is still in the booth for this one but he should have given Loose 2 verses and done only one since we are trying to put the boy out there as a Loopy artiste and since a lot of free beats were wasted with plenty unnecessary shouting and ad-libs.

16. Human Being (feat 2 Face & Sound Sultan)
Best song in the album and I like the honesty and the way he exposes himself by saying things that other people would rather hide. Would the song have been it without 2Face though? Perhaps Ruby or Brymo? (Yes I mentioned him again so what?) Sound Sultan is simply Sound sultan.

17. The End/The Chairman (feat OritseFemi, Frank Edwards & Nanya)
If this song has been the first track on the album, I would have felt it different. It’s not the kind of song that will have you hitting the replay button consistently sha. I love the fact that after all said and done, M.I shows that God is the Chairman and not him (M.I) as people thought. A decent praise & worship/lamentation song that will thrive well in the ghettoes and slums.

FOOTNOTE
Jay Z says it’s unfair to critique an album that took years to do after only one week of release and I agree with him completely. However, I am only doing this because if I wait to do it in 6 months, you guys would have forgotten as we always do.

I like that he features a lot of unknown artistes in this album which shows the confidence of someone that can stand on his own and not needing established acts to make the album sell. I also like that he experimented with all sorts of beats for both the kpakos and the Ajebutters. At the risk of sounding like a J-Town boy, I do not think the argument about who the best rapper is was ever about Olamide vs M.I but about M.I vs mode9. On this album however, in trying to satisfy new audiences, MI. left a lot of the rapping to Jude Abaga which means he really didn’t intend for it to be the proof of who the best rapper is.

Overall, a pretty good album and I will score it 7/10 even though this shouldn’t matter to you since it’s my criticism and not yours.

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