Video

Video: Brother’s M.I. and Jesse Jagz Taking Over Hip Hop In Nigeria


Growing up in Jos, Nigeria, Jesse Abaga, aka Jesse Jagz, and his older brother Jude, aka M.I., were taught the basics of music that we all seem to learn as kids, like playing piano and singing with mom. Clearly with these two brothers there was something else going on there. M.I. has already been nominated for numerous national and international awards (having won some as well), and “Jago” is currently nominated for 3 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.  The brothers, along with Chocolate City Records, the label that signed them both, are literally taking over Nigerian Hip Hop. Jesse’s first album Jag of all Tradez, which is self produced, dropped about two months ago and is already platinum in Nigeria. Meanwhile M.I. will be releasing his second self-produced album M.I.2 in October - we're expecting big sales on this one, as he saw his first album sell 30,000 copies in just 30 minutes!  Watch Jesse Jagz feat. M.I. and Ice Prince above with "Nobody Test Me" (Choc Boi Anthem) for a taste.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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