Grass to grace series (8): M I Abaga, the music star who started as a comedian

 Grass to grace series (8): M I Abaga, the music star who started as a comedian

“It is safe to say music runs in the Abaga family,” Besides M I’s success as a rapper and producer, there’s Jesse Jagz. Jagz is a fantastic producer himself. Who produced an album for MI’s mother which many do not know of.

Jude Abaga, better known as M.I. Abaga or Mr International, was born in Jos, Plateau State on October 4, 1981. His parents, Pastor and Pastor Mrs Abaga, raised him alongside his two brothers, Jesse Abaga (Jesse Jagz) and Jason Abaga.

Growing up in Takum, Taraba state, Jude discovered his love for music at a young age. His mother gifted him a 7-key mini piano, which would spark his journey into the world of music.

In a recent chat with Guardian Life, M I revealed featuring his mom on an early record in Jos. Although unreleased, he’s open to collaborating with her again.

“My love for music started when my mother gifted me a small piano. It was the spark that ignited my passion for creating music and ultimately led me to where I am today.” – M.I Abaga.

Education and early influences

After attending Baptist High School in Jos, Jude moved to Calvin College in Michigan, United States to pursue a career in Business and Economics. It was during his time in college that he became deeply influenced by hip-hop legends, the likes of DMX and Lauryn Hill. Jude’s musical aspirations began with sampling this legend’s work as early as 1998.

Venturing into the music world

Jude’s hip-hop career truly took off when he returned to Nigeria in 2003. He joined forces with his brother Jesse Jagz, IcePrince, Ruby Gyang, Threadstone, Lindsay, Moses (Elbulk), and E Kelly to form Loopy Music. Eventually, he signed with Chocolate City, which led him to relocate from Jos to Abuja.

M.I. explored poetry and comedy before dedicating himself to music during his time at Calvin College (1999–2003).

“Returning to Nigeria in 2003 allowed me to immerse myself in the vibrant Nigerian music scene. It was a turning point in my career, and I haven’t looked back since.” – M.I Abaga.

Rising to prominence

In 2006, Jude gained recognition for his song ‘Crowd Mentality,’ which gained popularity in his hometown, Jos. He then released his debut studio album, ‘Talk About It,’ on December 11, 2008, followed by another album titled “M.I 2” in 2010. After working on singles for some time, he released his third studio album, ‘The Chairman,’ in 2015. 

Throughout his career, M.I Abaga has produced and collaborated with various artists, including Don Jazzy, Threadstone, Kel, DJinee, Shifi (Styl Plus), Jesse Jags, Ice Prince, Ruby, Lindsey, Leony, and Wizkid.

Becoming the CEO of Chocolate City

In June 2015, M.I Abaga assumed the role of CEO of Chocolate City. As the head of one of Africa’s leading music record labels, he has continued to make waves in the music industry, nurturing and promoting talented artists.

“As the CEO of Chocolate City, I am proud to be at the forefront of discovering and developing talented artists. It’s a responsibility I take seriously and one that brings me immense joy.” – M.I Abaga.

Jude Abaga’s journey from a small town in Taraba state to becoming one of Nigeria’s most prominent artists is a testament to his passion and talent. 

READ ALSO: Grass to grace series (7): Portable, the local singer now sharing the stage with music bigwigs

With his contribution to Nigerian music, both as an artist and as the CEO of Chocolate City, M.I Abaga continues to leave a lasting impact on the industry.

Related post