Two of Africa’s best rappers, M.I Abaga and Vector have been the talk of the town, for more than a week straight now.
What’s the occasion? No, it’s not another “Define Rap” and it’s not just subliminal shots anymore. Things seem to have gone out of hand, as both of them have now called each other’s name out, on separate diss tracks. And for many, it got interesting.
The history of friction between the two of them go way back beyond 2017’s You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life, or Vector’s 2018 Cool FM interview.
That was just about the time it started getting serious. We’re talking of a rivalry that spans across a decade, a couple of albums, cyphers and guest verses. It’s just like Modenine vs Ruggedman. The only difference is, Modo and Ruggedy got into the booth quickly to settle the beef, by murdering each other. Besides, neither M.I or Vector seems to be as good as Mode9 was back then.
But how did the diss start in 2019 and how did it escalate? How did it become the platform on which Nigerian hip-hop is resurrecting on? Not such a long story, but one good enough to tell our kids, I suppose.
M.I Abaga was the first to go into the Studio, this year, taking multiple shots at Vector. Not just Vector, but also Hennessy. Hennessy, the popular cognac company, has been the main power behind the annual Hennessy Cyphers and VS Classes, which for many years (even years when M.I forsook the throne) was the only hope hip-hop and rap music in Nigeria had. Every year, new cool cats, usually underground guys come together and do something cool, cyphers that are usually refreshing and being the spirit alive.
In the last couple of years, though, we can say the quality of lyrical content and magic in these cyphers has declined. Most people didn’t care, the Nigerian economy has gone down, too, and no one is complaining. The state of the rap game has gone down rapidly, too. But M.I noticed, and wouldn’t keep shut about it. In his opinion, if he was the brand ambassador for Hennessy, the Cyphers would be better. That’s a lot to ask for, though, because Vector’s livelihood probably depended on his ambassadorship to Hennessy, since he’s not actively doing music.
When M.I got something going on with another brand Martell, who actually is not that much of a competition to Henny, when it comes to the business, it changed everything. He had a platform to school not only Vector and Hennessy but also everyone who was watching how it should be done. So, on the first-ever Cypher, he came in with his LAMB crew and did some bars. While A-Q and Blaqbonez were just trying to earn their bragging rights, Loose Kaynon, his deputy, took a couple of shots we believe were aimed at VEC and M.I did the same. “There’s no rapper I can beef with, I son ’em all…”
There was peace after that, relatively. But then the Hennessy Cyphers and it was much worse than before. Better aesthetics paid rappers, higher budget than before, apparently, but it was still lacking in content. And that opened the doorway for more criticism and shots at Vector tha Viper, the man who’s the face of the Hennessy Artistry, in Nigeria. A couple of Social Media kerfuffle happened, but it didn’t stick.
Not until Blaqbonez said he’s the best rapper in Africa, and other underground guys, mostly repping the Hennessy came for his head. It wasn’t long before the LAMB guys teamed up again and did the second coming of the Martell Cypher, called The Purification. On this one, M.I went straight for the heads of all the rappers, Vector especially and even those who went after Blaq.
That was what prompted Vector to pick Payper and Vader, two Hennessy guys with him for “The Purge” a track that dissed M.I, Blaq, Choc City and all M.I’s ‘dumb fans’. In about a week, Vector rolls in again with “Tetracycling”, a straight diss, which most people think is lightweight. That desperation gave M.I the opportunity to reply with fire, “The Viper” which detailed all of the Vector’s weaknesses and how he could correct them. Maybe it was just punchline, but The Chairman even offered to sign Vector.
Vector’s made it clear he’s going to reply when he tweeted that he wanted a beat for the response. The tweet started with “Lol” and that alone speaks a volume. No doubt, M.I is winning and probably will emerge victorious when this is all over, but should VEC have an edge over him, there’s no coming back from this because all of Vector’s shortcomings have already been used. He wouldn’t have anything else to say, in the event that Vector was to bring something to the table.
Whichever way it happens, this year it will all be settled. And what will be settled exactly? Nobody knows? Who the best rapper is? People will always take sides, for sure. Who is the greatest? Subjective, too. But after 2019, there’s a good chance the diss between Vector and M.I is over, for good!!
In other news, DMW boss and pop star, Davido is also making rounds for suggesting that his protege Dremo diss M.I Abaga. He did this, when Dremo who is currently embroiled in a war with DavoLee, posted a diss track on Instagram. “M.I next, please,” the Blow My Mind singer commented.
We’re not sure about what’s going to happen, though. And then, Blaqbonez has done his own diss track for Vector, “Exile.” Perhaps this will end as a Game of Thrones, where everyone in the industry has to take sides? If it goes down really, whose side are you gonn’ be on?