As expected, Jude Abaga aka M.I is a complete delight to have a conversation with – because that’s what the interview turned out to be, a conversation. He easily filled the studio with his presence, with music (all sorts) playing in the background as he styled his outfits and posed for photographs. Oh and he is a good ‘laugher’ (we coined that word for Mr Incredible). He just laughs and you are tempted to join too.
Being the President of his record label, Chocolate City, it was almost impossible to pull the award winning rapper out of his busy schedule, but M.I pulled through and even stayed overtime to take selfies and chill, before he rushed off to the studio for another appointment (by this time, it was evening).
Check out what goes through the mind of the ‘African Rapper Number One’ in the excerpts below, but first, check out his BTS (Behind-The-Scenes)…
(By Oluwatoyin Adeleye)
In a short sentence describe your style?
My style is mainly about comfort (both physically and mentally), you want to look and feel a certain way that makes you comfortable and I do so many things. I start out my day sometimes in the studio and then, I am at the office and then, you know I’m preparing for something, so you want to wear stuff that’s comfortable, something that makes you feel confident and is cool.
What does being stylish mean to a hiphop artist?
If you look at the history of hiphop, you see that style is important but, it’s also not a uniform opinion that guides style. So, you have Kanye with hash trick fashion, you have Eminem with dress down hoodies, you have Jay-Z who moved from big dresses to suits and stuff. It’s just an expression of yourself and of your individuality.
What should a rapper never wear?
A rapper should never wear wrapper.
You go by the name Chairman; how do you translate that to fashion?
I have always loved suits. If you look at my first album cover, my second album cover, third one, they’ve been in suits. I have always loved suits. I guess that’s sort of what the ‘Chairmany’ sort of vibe is in Nigeria. But again, it’s more about comfort for me right? These days, you see me with a lot of t-shirt and shorts and like or vans whatever you know, just what’s comfortable. What makes you feel good and confident.
What is your most precious piece of accessory?
You know I am not really like the people that spend a lot of money on watches and stuff like that. I’m very understated with stuff like that. May be some pair of glasses – I have a pair of Ferragamo glasses that I really love, people try to take it from me. There’s nothing really about them it’s just that, I really love them.
What brand is your most expensive shoes?
Wow! The most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought. So, I do spend money on shoes. (I can’t think, I can’t think) I have three Yeezy pairs of shoes. Those where pretty expensive, they were pricy. But I do like sneakers, I like Balenciaga. I bought the Carmel skin Balenciaga and you can’t really find them. I’m a sneakers guy mehn!
What song would you want to be playing whenever you walk into a room?
That would be (sings) ‘You sexy day, I believe in miracles since you came along, you sexy day.”
What is next for the Chairman?
What is next for the chairman? (laughs). I don’t know mehn, more music, more work. You know, I’m really like a chilled easy-going person and I have music coming out very soon. And I work at Chocolate City, so we have a lot of stuff coming but you know I don’t really know, I don’t really have a tag line for that, but we also like to surprise people. So, when it’s out you’ll know.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Best City to Shop In?
Sneakers or Loafers?
What? Please delete that question. Sneakers is the correct answer.
What Color Do You Feel Most Powerful In?
Bow Tie or Regular Tie?
Regular tie because, if you really know how to knot ties, you can make a regular tie into a bow tie.
Transcribed by Pamela Obasi
Slide through the gallery above for more photos.
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