The Mob’s Take: Chairman (The Album) by M.I


The Chairman album experience, for me, started with the release of the track list. The ingenuity and quality of thought that went into ordering the track list, more than any other factor, helped put me in a better frame of mind to receive the body of work.

True to form, M.I started the project with a well-plotted, hilarious skit that still conveys an inspiring message; and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Good appetizer. Monkey was a tad too unserious a start for me; even though M.I made a few points toward the end, and Chigurl was quite the comic. Rich is unapologetically POP with a heavy street/dance hall appeal, and Koker delivers a really good performance vocally and lyrically. This album could have done without this song though. Nice production by the way.

On Mine, Wizkid was rather well behaved and gave what I think is one of his best performances on a song this year. Never mind that he couldn’t resist dropping Caro’s name and rehashing just enough lines to balance out M.I’s cheesy metaphors, the song still manages to get a pass mark. I really had high hopes for the outcome of an M.I-Reminisce collaboration; but Shekpe failed to meet that expectation. I find it troubling that Reminisce is being typecast in a certain way in most of the music in which he is featured. I had hoped that M.I would show us a side of the man we had yet to experience before, but that never happened. Shekpe is a rather dated slang, and the chorus of this song is as crass as choruses go; plus the improved nursery rhyme isn’t working for me either. I’m not big on this one. I love M.I’s outro speech though.

The Chairman album effectively kicked off, for me, with Bad Belle. Everything about this song rocks. From the production, to the song idea and the execution; this song is a real hip-hop jam! I particularly love M.I’s delivery on this song. And yes, here’s the kind of joint I would have loved to hear Phyno jumping on. And I think an AKA, Naeto c and Loose Kaynon remix would be stellar for this joint. Wheel barrow is a jam mehn!! The groove in this song is undeniable, and beenie man came hard. I’m absolutely in love with this song, but not as an M.I song. M.I squandered a chance to change a young act’s life by not giving this song out. Imagine for one moment this was Yung L or Burna boy’s song, it’d be more fitting.\

Brother puts a smile on my face every time I listen to it. This song has soul, a message, exceptional production, and it has Nosa (big factor). Brother starts off with Nosa’s angelic vocals creating the perfect landing for M.I’s heartfelt lines about the disbandment of the Choc Boiz. Nosa then comes back with a fantastic chorus, and Milli didn’t do badly either. This song almost brought me to tears when I first played it. This is one of my best songs off this project.

The production and the idea behind The Middle is something to cheer; and M.I had a good showing. Olamide’s rant, however, was anything but fresh and hardly impressed me until he said, ‘awon se bi ti animal to escape ninu museum’. Enemies is another sub-par, needless song about the ‘haters,’ and I deign to say that we have had enough already. Patoranking didn’t push the envelope on this track and I think that’s because his creativity was hemmed in by the trite and inflexible song title. This song is such a drag.

Bullion van, a deliberate and desperate attempt to appeal to the eastern bloc. Musicians, especially of M.I’s pedigree, ought to make music like musicians, and market their music like marketers; rather than making music like marketers. Bullion Van was unnecessary in my opinion. Also, I do not think that Runtown has done enough to earn a place at the table with M.I on the Chairman album. More so, this track has the dubious distinction of bearing M.I’s worst lines on this album. Corny chorus.

Look at you… and look at us, talk true who resemble Boss? Millionaire Champagne is a rap banger! You can’t touch this; this is that Chairman tune! DJ Lambo delivered a great intro that set the proper tone for the track, and with little warning Ice Prince dived in with an incredible fury that he sustained up to the witty end of his verse. Sarkodie was phe-no-me-nal, and M.I was an ooocean of incredible flows on this joint, especially towards the end and we love it! This jam right here is the reason Bullion Van is persona non grata on this album. Hip-hop!

Yours: I love music that is about something, music that addresses an issue in the act’s journey; and such music is seldom wack. This is that joint. M.I pours out his heart in gratitude to his fans on this laid back hip-hop tune, and it’s a beauty. Milli did more than enough to earn his spot too; dude got skill. And to set the record straight, I never said that M.I ain’t shit; I never will. I only wrote that M.I was operating on a lower plain than I genuinely believe his talent could afford. If that ain’t a compliment, then what is? See for your self here.

Loose Kaynon showed incredible skill and no mercy on Beg; his metaphors, and delivery were sharp and impressive. He definitely dropped one of the dopest bars on the Chairman album. Although Morell wasn’t at his best, given his amazing talent, he still delivered a tidy chorus. This is not one of my favourite tracks on the album.

Human being is an instant classic; flawless from start to finish. This beauty starts out with a sagely sculpted voice sample of Dhruva Aliman’s Bottom of the sea ushering in some nice kicks and the music gets underway. What sets the production on this song apart is the detail and simplicity of its execution. Tu baba and Sound Sultan’s vocals served as additional instrument on the track, especially Sound Sultan’s ‘awon aye/eyin aye’ chant through half of the song. M.I shines of course, with his smooth, slow paced flows, real talk, and champagne delivery. Tu baba gave a good account of himself. Sultan maximized his small part in the song, lacing every second with his distinctly rich and soulful voice. Shout out to the producers of this song. This is definitely one of the best Nigerian songs I’ve heard in a long while. This is music. Chairman kudos!!

The End is a nice close to the Chairman album, and a remarkable departure from the original Chairman track, which I didn’t see coming. Oritse Femi did his thing; and M.I too. However, one cannot say the same for Frank Edwards who had a rather unimpressive showing, typified by his bland words. Obviously, his part was an ill-conceived afterthought; and he didn’t do much to justify his slot.

Mob’s Take
Our people say, “Man pass man,” and I think that saying accounts for the reason an M.I album normally attracts greater scrutiny by fans and critics alike. This selective application of standards, of which I’m guilty – is, I believe – a huge compliment to any artiste, and should inspire excellence not resentment. That said, Chairman, the album, is a remarkable album. The album features a healthy dose of ‘instant classics,’ strong enough to conveniently pull the weight of the rest of the pack. When the music was good, it was excellent (cue Human Being, Brother, Yours, Millionaire Champagne…). Then there were other songs that were expedient but could have been better suited to other artistes. M.I is an immensely talented musician who can move across sounds and genres easily but I think he should define his sound better and stick to it. Consequently, rather than use all the music he makes I’ll recommend that M.I rekindles his producer/songwriter hustle instead, as he has a lot to offer the industry in that capacity. The guy is a conduit of endless great music and could significantly influence the texture of the game by working with more artistes creatively.

The most significant shortcoming of the Chairman album has to be the unusual prevalence of cheesy, un-MI-like bars on a significant number of tracks. These lines ranged from mildly upsetting to downright embarrassing; not a good look for an artiste of M.I’s towering pedigree. And what’s with the palpable ‘hater’ undertone that runs through more than half of the songs on the album? Isn’t that played out already? Moreover, it’s also a rude encroachment on Timaya’s niche. * Stifles laugh *

I absolutely dig the Art direction for the album sleeve. My only qualm is with the fact that the creative and technical personnel that worked on the project, were not matched with the songs they worked on, in the credits section of the album sleeve. This is unprofessional and definitely unfair to the people involved, who deserve to be recognized for their creative input.

Finally, I believe Chairman is a strong contender for Album of the Year, I won’t bet on it winning Rap Album of the Year though. Therefore, I urge you to cop this album, it’s worth every kobo you pay. (Buy Here On ITunes)

You will do well to not take this review too seriously; it’s just one fan’s opinion. After all, me sef I be human being o!



Do You Like MI’s Chairman Album?

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  1. Well written review… Well criticised were you felt it should be and I concur with you on this… Some reviews are just straight-up garbage (e.g Notjustok)… I really commend your deliberate act on not rating (score wise) as this album is way more tricky than any project M.I has put out there. You think M.I has lost it lyrically/skilfully but then you hear tracks like Human Being, Brother and Millionaira Champaign, then it makes you think again about what you’re about to say… M.I is flat out smart and has a pulled off a good one with this album…