Best New Music: M.I Abaga taps Olamide & Nas for the meditative single, “Bigger”
Best New Music: M.I Abaga taps Olamide & Nas for the meditative single, “Bigger”

Best New Music: M.I Abaga taps Olamide & Nas for the meditative single, “Bigger”

An early highlight off M.I's new album, 'The Guy'

Last Friday, Nigerian rapper, music producer and entrepreneur M.I Abaga released his eleventh project and fifth studio album ‘The Guy’. The album’s title sets the stage for the rapper’s reinvention after an immensely successful 15-year old career that has produced a rich discography, numerous awards and recognition as Nigeria’s most revered rap artist. Abaga’s state of mind on the 12-track project is both relaxed and contemplative, assuredly basking in the longevity of his career and looking to the future with purpose.

A track that quickly caught the eyes and ears of many music lovers is early album highlight “Bigger”, which features American hip-hop legend Nas and Nigerian rap great and prolific hit-maker, Olamide. It is understandable if this M.I Abaga and Nas combo is said to have been nine years in the making, considering the lawsuit-tied history between both artists. Finally, Abaga gets his Nas feature and it’s worth the wait, largely because it’s far more sentient and personally refreshing than the boilerplate, politically charged effort many envisaged it would be—due to the alleged touchpoints of the seemingly scrapped lawsuit.


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Produced by M.I Abaga and the late Nigerian music producer BeatsByJayy, “Bigger” is a meditative, mid-tempo number with gentle piano chords and a bounce that’s very Nigerian, even though it evokes the trademark boom bap knock. On the song, M.I, Olamide and Nas express gratefulness for the success that they have acquired in their careers and a desire to conquer more challenges. “…this is history right here,” Abaga says in the intro of the song, fully aware of the cultural moment about to unfold, the rare trans-Atlantic collab in Nigerian rap. He delves into his verse with sharp, witty writing as he makes a case for himself being unstoppable. He recognizes his place as an elder statesman on the Nigerian rap scene when he raps, “This is for the kid within listening/People who have talent, have discipline/My vision it gets bigger with time/If I ever rest, shit/I give you mountains to climb.”

In his verse, Nas unfurls gem-like lyrics brimming with stunning metaphors; he reveals sneak peeks of a flamboyant lifestyle that hasn’t dulled the hustle in him to seek new challenges and make an impact with a mic. “I’m an alligator salivating at your heart/Leaving teeth marks in your soul Alucard,” he raps. His most recent releases—2020’s Grammy-winning ‘King’s Disease’, its well-received sequel and ‘Magic’ from last year—are evidence of Nas’ constant strive for excellence, and there’s extra gravity to “Bigger” that he’s in fine form, making a wondrous appearance that adds to the tone set by M.I Abaga on his opening verse.

On his part, Olamide’s chorus, delivered in both Pidgin English and Yoruba, firmly roots “Bigger” in the Nigerian context, reminding listeners that Nas’ presence isn’t a mere act of teasing the attention of western audiences but an avenue for creators divided by geography to unite on a sonic field. A master in the game with a record label responsible for the blooming of the careers of many artists, most recently the irresistible Asake, Olamide uses the chorus as a bittersweet tale of the pressures and pleasures associated with fame. It has a moving effect similar to what Bella Shmurda did on Olamide’s “Triumphant” from 2020’s ‘Carpe Diem’.

The choice of Nas and Olamide as features for “Bigger” is a masterstroke from M.I Abaga. It enforces the notion that, for many big names, success isn’t the end of a journey but the beginning of another one. M.I shows that real success is consistently conquering the fears that stand at the gate of every new beginning.

Listen to “Bigger” below.