This is fresh from MI Abaga aka Chairman, aka Short Black Boy aka Mr. Incredible. He took his time in an interview to provide a 5-man list of the rappers he considered most important of all time. Don’t know about you but I agree with it to an extent. Here goes his ranking from:
Number 5. Freestyle
“After that Freestyle is the fifth most important rapper of all times. This is because of the maturity of his lyrics.”
Number 4. Modenine
“Another rapper is Modenine. He is the greatest rapper in Nigeria. But as to the most important rapper he is number four.”
Number. 3 Ruggedman
“Ruggedman, because he represents an ideal rapper. He faced a lot of adversities. He smoothened path for rap music. After Ruggedman conquered the adversity in Nigerian Hip Hop, he became the adversity of hip hop such that people changed their music because of Ruggedman. If you wanted to stand out in the rap industry you definitely had to adhere to Ruggedman. When you conquer him, it was easy to excel in music. He was also important for building many careers. The first big stage performance of DBanj was through him. Kaffy, 9ice came through him. A lot of people have their successes attached to him.”
Number 2. Eldee
“ELDee has not been appreciated as much as he deserves. Technically, you can look no further in terms of an artiste, who has created great music that are still relevant twenty years after. He is probably one of the best Hip Hop artistes Nigeria is proud of.”
Number 1. Eedris Abdulkareen
“Eedris, because he was so important. He was a superstar. He was definitely 2Pac. He took on establishments. He spoke without fear. Even up today, he is just an honest soul. Whether for polarising reason or not, he is the most important rapper of all times in Nigerian music.”
I think the list makes sense except for the inclusion of Freestyle. Yes, along with other members of Trybesmen and later Da Trybe, Freestyle brought something new to the game. Yes, his flows were mature like MI said but that’s just about it. I think MI should occupy his spot or maybe even Weird MC or 2 Shot. But then it’s his list and he’s just trying to be modest.
Also, I’d rather have Ruggedman take the number two spot and Modenine on number three. Anyway, the list shows that MI has a full grasp of the history of hip-hop in Nigeria.