The Shuffle: Revisit M.I’s Illegal Music 2 gem “Lost” featuring Loose Kaynon

Happy Birthday, M.I

The greatest validation for M.I’s latest album Yxng Dxnzl is that the ‘Short Black Boy’ will face little to no resistance on his climb to legend-hood. Hard to say how to say how that makes M.I feel, considering the album that catalysed this new era for him is pulsed with raw introspection that often found M tearing himself apart. What’s interesting, however, is the resulting honesty of Yxng Dxnzl also glimpses how ahead of the curve M.I has been when his old materials are played back. “Lost” the lead single off M.I’s critically-acclaimed Illegal Music 2 mixtape, tells this story best.

The year is 2011 and the release of “Lost” marked M.I coming off a year-long silence following the release of M.I 2: The Movie, his most commercially successful album till date. Until the release of M.I:2 in 2010, M.I’s entire catalogue could be summed up with the first Illegal Music mixtape and Talk About It. So it was no surprise that the heavily pop-influenced sophomore that followed two rap-heavy projects was trailed with mixed reactions by fans who felt the rapper had watered down his sound.

To rebut the claims that he’d fallen off his rap game, M.I didn’t need to do interviews or media rounds, instead he released “Lost”, a guns-blazing diss track to critics and all fans-turned-haters. On “Lost” M.I admits he understands the critical fixation for his mixtape projects while hinting at artistic growth as the ultimate goal nonetheless. The confidence he exudes on the track, creates a worthy premise for Illegal Music 2, as the project to set him back “on the path to greatness”, after what many considered a shoddy sophomore.

As M.I raps, ‘So when M.I.2 was released/ All the bloggers said I ceased to be the rapper that released / Talk About It they at least should have waited a couple weeks / My marketer just said I did a milli in the east’. It makes a bolder statement for the Coldplay sample that opens the track, where Chris Martin belts ‘Just because I’m losing / doesn’t mean I’m lost’ .

M.I’s biggest win with “Lost” is the self-awareness of Nigeria’s music scene and his role within the hip-hop machinery, an ethos that still seems to be recurring in his artistry till date. To celebrate The Chairman’s birthday today, (5th of October), stream “Lost”, a reminder of the many times M.I has had to defend his title and legacy as Africa’s number 1 rapper.