When the Buckwyld n Breathless: Disruption concert finally kicked off on Saturday 3 September, three hours after the publicised 6pm, it made up for its lateness.
The rapper, who’s the head of the Chocolate City label, appeared in a shiny black suit at the Eko Hotel, Lagos venue, and as a band played the James Bond theme, MI fought a group of balaclava-ed criminals. He won each fight with the flimsiest of kicks and punches, and then launched into the thrilling ‘Action Film’.
The audience responded to the mock-fight with laughter. The crowd responded to the song with dance and video phones raised high. Many rapped his words back to him.
At some point, MI called upon a fan who was going with him word for word. Unfortunately, now onstage the fan couldn’t quite deliver the required verse. "Don't worry," MI said, "I get stage fright too."
As the show went on, several artists joined the rapper onstage. The singer Djinee came on for ‘Safe’. MI’s brother, Jesse Jagz, sang ‘Wetin Dey’, Ice Prince sang ‘Oleku. With MI, all three sang ‘Nobody Test Me’. With Djinee, all four sang the remix to ‘Overkillin It’. Chocolate City signee Nosa joined in, performed the chorus on ‘Brother’ from MI’s The Chairman album, and sang his own ‘Pray for You’.
Rugged Man and Kelly Hansome also performed. Singer Waje, who maintains a friendship with MI, sang her own song ‘I Wish’ and later joined MI for their duet ‘One Naira’. MI closed his set with his highlife-meets-hiphop tune, ‘Number One’.
For his part, 2Baba gave a loose performance, in contrast to MI’s tightly scripted one. At one point, he went offstage abruptly. When he returned, he said he was emotional and then joked that he just had to pee. The concert experienced an emotional moment when 2Baba invited the son of the late OJB onstage. Together they performed the deceased producer’s ‘Searching’. 2Baba also performed with co-headliner MI, Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee, and rappers Vector and Sound Sultan.
The concert was very well organized—yet it was the music made by these two greats of Nigerian pop music that emerged as highlight of the night.
Read the Music in Africa list of 10 of the best songs from MI Abaga here