MI Abaga, the ace rapper, says he was once jealous of Jesse Jagz, his younger brother who also raps.
Jesse signed a record deal with Chocolate City in 2010, releasing his debut album ‘Jag of All Tradez’ the same year.
In a chat with Ikechukwu Onunaku, the rapper-actor, MI said it took him time to overcome his feelings of jealousy.
He said he proceeded with a musical pitch to a record label despite knowing that his kid brother had better songs.
“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’. He’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 Cit 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.”
MI, who exited Chocolate City as CEO in 2019, further recounted his early days doing menial jobs in the United States.
“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,” the music executive 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.”
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