Adebayo Emuleomo: 10 Nigerian rappers who would defeat MI Abaga ‘bar for bar’

There’s so much ado about M.I Abaga being the greatest rapper in Nigeria.

Before M.I released his Illegal Music 3, the expectations of the true followers of Hip Hop were as high as an eagle in full flight.

M.I, whose last body of work, The Chairman was thoroughly over-hyped, had boasted to his fans and all who cared to listen that IM3: The Finale would be the mother of all mix-tapes.

The masterstroke. His mixtape magnus opus.

IM3 was ‘supposed’ to be that unbeatable choke slam from the Undertaker before the Chairman takes a bow and exits the ring, leaving his haters and critics sprawled lifeless and barely breathing.

But, it stopped at ‘supposed to be’ and never really made it into the ring.

To add salt to the injury of disappointment, there have been series of arguments flying around about IM3 being a classic rap project.

Agreed, M.I is a successful rapper, his record sales and countless endorsements over the years speak for him but one thing is sure- his bars don’t always do.

Perhaps, Talk About It did a little bit but after that, our honorable chairman just continued to slide down the castle.

As opposed to his brother, Emperor Jesse Jagz, whose lyrics cannot be touched by anyone in the Nigerian rap scene, M.I is undoubtedly just living off the pseudo-glory of his commercialization (which he became so good at, that he forgot how to be dope).

Set aside the commercial success, set aside the record sales, set aside the endorsements, set aside the horde of senile fans who cannot distinguish between a good line and a wack, out-of-the-loop, I’m-a-washed-up-rapper line just because its from their African Rapper Number One.

Set aside all that and focus on the lyrics, focus on the essence of the message, just zone out all the social media noise and FOCUS!

You would need more than your fingers to count how many Nigerian rappers would rip our dear Chairman apart, bar for bar.

Here are 10 of them:

10 & 9. Ghost and Tec of SDC.

Before you start wondering why the Show Dem Camp fellas are on this list, have you really listened to these guys?

In fact, scratch that.

Listen to M.I’s Heart of The City on Illegal Music 2 and you’ll see how SDC took M.I to school. If you are a real fan of rap and depth, you would agree that M.I’s verse was nowhere near these guys.

8. AQ the Son of John

A very controversial rapper he is, yes but that’s partly because he’s refused to blend-in with the other rappers who forsake the art in their desperate search for ephemeral relevance and endorsements. Every time AQ gets on a verse, you are guaranteed an inferno and you can be sure this son of John will match Oga M.I any-day, anytime on wax.

7. Khali Abdul

Khali, though not half as widely accepted and popular as M.I, is undoubtedly at the top of his game when it comes to lyricism.

He murked M.I even when the Chairman was in his ‘drop it like its hot’ phase.

Khali’s verse on Loopy Ballers, a joint featuring M.I, Ice Prince and Jesse Jagz, puts his inclusion on this list, into perspective.

6. Boogey

Run! Run! If the Boogey man is coming for you! That includes you too- M.I.

Boogey, with just a few songs to his credit, has already cemented his place as one of the dopest rappers Nigeria has ever seen.

Once you listen to Ridiculous on M.I’s Illegal Music 2, you’d agree there’s no way M.I is matching that.

5. Olamide

Yes. Olamide made this list!

Now, bear in mind that we are focusing solely on the quality of lyrics here and not who runs the street, mainland or the island. Olamide’s lyrics, when he actually decides to rap and not invent slangs and catch-phrases for the streets, are top notch to say the least.

If it comes down to a bar for bar contest, Olamide would most definitely best M.I.

You can take that to the bank!

4. Vector

No need to elaborate.

Nobody in their right senses would argue that Vector does not deserve to be in the top shelf of this list.

Moving on.

3. Terry tha Rapman

Now that the ace rapper is desperately trying to break into the commercial market, he has toned down on his witty and hard hitting lyrics but it still doesn’t change the fact that when called upon to deliver, he shows up with top notch and mindblowing flows- just the way he went pound for pound with Mode 9 on their Otis remix.

MI Abaga, you think say na beans to burst 16?

2. Jesse Jagz

Even M.I said it- in the beginning- before we all knew the lyrical rampage Jesse Jagz was capable of.

The short black boy had said“even Jagz doesn’t f**k with me, and Jagz is the greatest!”.

Well, we now know what MI what’s talking about all along.

1. Mode 9

Say you didn’t expect Mode 9 to be number one.

There is no Nigerian rap list (except it has to do with record sales and endorsement) that Modenine doesn’t sit at the top.

He has the innate ability to make your favorite rapper’s best verse sound like an unprepared freestyle.

He really is the original chairman and the king of the streets.

You disagree?

Know any rapper that should have been on this list?



Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Adebayo Emuleomo, a multi-faceted wordsmith, can be reached at [email protected]


Comments (5)

  1. I think olamide shouldn’t be on that list…it’s a big shame u dare compare M.I to olamide on lyricism…M.I’s gonna give him a rope to hang himself till he sings suicide notes..i think boogey is lyrically sound,just as modenine and jagz..vec also is but on a 1-5 basis…it’d be mode9,M.I,jagz,boogey,vector

  2. If you really want to judge solely on the quality of lyrics, then, your list needs a little tweak, to put it modestly.
    First of all the Boogeyman is going to be atop that list, and he’s got more than a few works to prove it – Burning bush to Say no. Boogey isnt just a talented lyricist, he’s an incredibly intelligent storyteller, so much that he makes me think of -and only of – Nas, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Modenine is a great rapper, but if we really are judging on bar for bar, then Boogey’s the one.

    Then I know AQ is good, very good indeed, but really is he better than XO Senavoe? Yeah Senavoe is as infrequent as PHCN power in Ogudu estate, but when he does deliver, generators shut down, just check out his Power. Or better still listen to XO bit in MI’s illegal music 2. After you’ve done both, then take a paper and pen as well as a cup of coffee and then pay attention to Victory.

    Again, the SDC duo are something else, but Poe is something more. Can’t Forget, Slow it Down, Adore Her, Koyewon; Poe is poetry made flesh and its a pity that you boned him in your list.

    Yeah Terry’s the Rap man, but I would rather have a woman replace her, and that is Eva Alordiah. This isn’t clear cut, I will be honest, but Terry’s prime’s past, but Eva on the otherhand is full of the future, and she’s got the messgae, mastery and musicality to make it.

  3. Some truth said ,a lot of lies also said.
    M.I isn’t as hot as ‘talk about it ‘ any more but for you to call these and that rapper and say can go head to head with M? bro you’re not thinking straight then.
    Jesse is as good as M(if not better) ,vector is also that good, but SDC ? bogey? even Olamide? it just means your knowledge of depth needs to be fine tuned

    1. Comment:true talk olamide no fit dere self I prefer phyno

  4. Ice Prince is d best and will always b the best.. Take it or u live it..

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