Another classic album for ya, sorry about the delay…
–Mi Abaga’s lyrics on Sunset
What can I say?
At least If you’re going to nick nerves telling rappers to fix up their lives, you better have a Rendezvous playlist to back it up with…
MI Abaga’s creativity has always transcended the music alone. He’s outright dramatic and his artistry has forever been his stage…his own special outlet… From making a fun hiphop tapestry (Safe) out of the biggest commercial materials between 2005-2008, to the entire Talk About It, to The Illegal Music Trilogy to Mi 2, to Chairman to this, Mi’s career journey has not been one ounce short of admirable greatness -Oh well except for the few times he left fans in music drought (and the time he annoyed Nigerian rappers)… but with the fresh blood and detailing that this “playlist” reeks of, there’s more than enough room for forgiveness.
Without further ado, find below,my track to track acknowledgement, my concerns and my final verdict???.
Sunset is the perfect intro and I am thankful for this introduction to Chillz…
Skit: I first thought Do2tun’s intro was just a one-off. But I’d later come to notice the streak. By the end of this playlist, I’d have tuned into about 3 more radio stations as hosted by Douglas Jekan, Kemi Smallz, Omaliicha…
There’s disposable hiphop in every nook and cranny of the universe. If we really want Contemporary Nigerian Hiphop (out of Naija) to take centre stage like Afropop has, there’s got to be some earning. A few week’s back, Cassper’s opinion on the low proliferation of Nigerian hiphop in other major African markets was not the most encouraging and the problem is obviously not the lack of hiphop music. There’s actually an over-abundance of that but there’s dire need to look into more creative ways to make it distinctly consumable. One of the various ways I see Rendezvous working for some export value is M having Cassper on Soup- a tasty trappy cut that has our Chairman and South Africa’s biggest hiphop deal wilding out lyrically.
Nonso Amadi‘s voice and lyrical construct makes me
want to sit on a face marvel at his songwriting process?. Playlist is such a soother… The entirety of Rendezvous heavily leans on this jam and it can be said to be summarizing chunk of the project.
Skit- Needless to say, we all know a Darsha..??…
Jungle is another smooth fusion and I love love all the heights that Tomi Thomas takes his listeners to with his vocals and lyrical corruption. Santi‘s deviation into light patois and Mi’s ‘laidbackness’ all add to the wholesomeness of the piece. Perfect material for a “drink, smoke and fxck” playlist and oh, shout out to Uncle Mi advising girls to lie to their boyfriends. Wehdone sir..
Skit- I’m not sure how I feel about bearing witness to what sounds like an actual convo between Vico and his chic but I genuinely hope they had a perfect “hang up”…
I first heard CKay on one of Beazy’s weekly offerings back in the day and it feels good knowing that he’s been working his ass off behind the scenes to build solid artistic formidability. His singing vocals are fire, he is a production genius and on Wats D Level, he shows off some Hiphop-ish dexterity. MI is Mi here as usual but one eye/ear catching element on this jam is the sexy rebellion all over Joules da Kid’s verse.
To be honest I kinda set my expectations high for a Wande Coal feature but I sometimes forget that Wande has a hiphopish side that he flashes from time to time. Neither MI or his guest seemed like they were in the mood to pamper anybody’s need for entertainment on Kososhi. Just in case some of us think Mi wakes up in the morning to play and drink Martell, he helps us remember that he has to hustle, lay rhymes, run Chocolate City whilst occasionally making time out for the important duty of pipe laying ?… Well we all get the memo and on God, this is my new mantra. This is the year 2000 and don’t waste my flipping time…
I reviewed Your Father when it dropped in 2017 so I’ll just copy and paste what I thought of it then but the track sits better as part of a whole than a stand alone.
‘…If you ever slept on Dice Ailes, wake tf up. The kid is not playing with anybody’s mother and father. Whether he’s lost in his “Ella” melody or sing-rapping on Otedola or hopscotching on this tangy rap tune, he remains believable in all capacities. MI is still reminding us of how he’s Nigeria’s fave rap daddy. No “omfg did you hear that bar!” type of lines over here but humour, word play and very relatable metaphors abound..This is an aside but I think Choc City is throwing full weight behind Dice. That’s the only explanation for the type of arrogance dripping from the voice of such a sweet faced guy lol.’
I’m still in a dilemma as to whether One Way is my best off Rendezvous… Moelogo‘s hook touches me in places that I cannot verbally describe. The instrumental is also one of my favs.
Skit- I’m not even going to talk about Charles Okocha’s sound drop. Lol. I read on Twitter yesterday that he was shot about 6 times in 2016 so he has earned the eternal right to be as goofy as he wants ???.
The transition between One Way and On Code is outright seamless. For a minute, I had no idea a new track had shuffled in. Thematic approach is on a hundred, MI was in top form and third world boss- AKA also came through, making for yet another worthy international collab on the project…
The general aura on Popping reminds me of one of those Eminem/D12 housekeeping tracks. Odunsi is the bearer of truth on the hook while MI dissects the crux of fair weather treatment and friendship with the invaluable assistance of fellow veteran, Ghost of SDC.
On Jiggy, MI successfully appraises the female anatomy with Terry Apala providing the perfect dose of onomatopoeic reference on the hook with all the grainy goodness of his vocal texture.
The script flips quickly as MI delivers the most sarcastic ode to Lekki, all wrapped up in a judgmental theme that addresses errr… professional adult care givers. LOL! Odunsi plays his part on the hook but you can trust Falz and Ajebutter to do the most when it comes to a song that can pass for the sequel of bad gang.
Hashtag team light skin, by cream or by snaphat filter,
Hashtag team slay queens, by hook or by crook or by chook my sister…
-Mi Abaga’s lyrics on Lekki
Skit: That Warri girl aint tell no lies. To Live and Die in Lekki!!!
It’s one thing to be trippy and it’s another thing to effectively communicate the state of trippiness on a song. MI hand picks Straffiti and Blaqbones to do some verbal illustration and justice to this slow trap vibe that all the science students of our preciously drugged generation can relate to…
There are like 5 million thoughts that run through my head whenever The Crew comes on. I love the teasing nature of Mi’s verse and Yung L‘s part is everything that orgasms are made of. U. Ax who is a relative newbie shows off such unique vocal skill, smoothening the edges of the vibe and all I can really say is they made a wonderfully erotic song. Definitely on my top 3.
By the time the luvey-doveyness of Sunrise (which features Trigga Madtonic) kicked in, I realized I wasn’t ready for Rendezvous to end and that my friends, is the ultimate sign of a great body of work.
As for the concerns…
- Why is Loose Kaynon only present on this body of work as lyrical material?
- Why are there 22 male features and not one female feature in sight?
For every guest appearance on this album, I can give you a female equivalent so why exactly am I having to ask this question? In an alternate world, I’d have put together a full female ensemble, remade every track on this album just so I can say “There Mi, I fixed it for you”.
Anyway, in the absence of anything else, MI Abaga did a squeaky clean job with Rendezvous.
(I doff my hat to the real MVPs – Chillz, TMXO, Higo, Nonso Amadi, Chopstix CKAY, Gplus, GMK, Dapo Oyewusi, Odunsi, Hvrry, and of course the chief mastermind himself- Mi Abaga) Their production stood out but didn’t in anyway overshadow the substance of the vocal music.
The entire arrangement is on steroids, the theme and sub-themes are not in anyway lost on today’s society, MI, like the Chairman that he is, took the backseat on the project and let his guests shine, the guests showed up how you should when MI taps you to be on his album, the overall lyrical quality is both brilliant and relatable, the consumer engagement strategy is on a hundred, replay value is quite strong and even though the music market (not just in Naija btw) has its unpredictabilities , the commercial viability of this work is very evident.
When did MI say Yung Denzel is dropping again?