The Chairman (M.I album)

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The Chairman
The Chairman album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)[1]
GenreHip hop
M.I chronology
Illegal Music 2
The Chairman
Rendezvous (M.I album)
Singles from The Chairman
  1. "Bad Belle"
    Released: December 4, 2014
  2. "Monkey"
    Released: March 26, 2015
  3. "Bullion Van"
    Released: August 26, 2015

The Chairman is the third studio album by Nigerian hip hop recording artist M.I. It was released on October 30, 2014, by Chocolate City and Loopy Music.[2] The album features collaborations with producers and guest artists such as 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Seyi Shay, Ice Prince, Olamide, Phyno, Reminisce, Oritse Femi, Patoranking, Reinhard, Runtown, Sarkodie, Nosa, Beenie Man, Koker, Moti Cakes, Wilson Alao, Sound Sultan, Emmy Ace, Sammy Gyang, Chigul, Milli, Frank Edwards, Nanya, G-Plus, Morell, Loose Kaynon, Pheelz, Debbie, DJ Lambo, Sarz, Stormrex, L-37, VSTOL and I.J. The album's production began in 2012 and continued through the third quarter of 2014. The rapper worked with several collaborators, while enlisting new producers. Much of The Chairman tells the story of the rapper's journey into limelight. According to the rapper's sales team, the album sold 30,000 copies in pre-order sales.[3] It was supported by "Chairman" and "King James", two promotional singles that didn't make the cut.

Background and composition[edit]

M.I took two years recording the album. He describes the album as a collaborative album due to the number of music personnel who contributed to it. The Chairman was initially slated for release in June 2013, but was pushed back due to the rapper partaking in other business ventures. In a 2014 interview with Sunrise Daily, M.I said Jesse Jagz's departure from Chocolate City also delayed the album.[4][5] In an interview with Leadership newspaper, M.I said he was inspired to name the album The Chairman after hearing people address him as such.[6] The album comprises 17 tracks and every track, excluding "The Middle", has an opposite. On October 22, 2014, the album was made available for pre order.[7] On October 29, 2014, the album's official cover art and track list were released.[8] M.I held a listening party for the album at Industry Nite on the same day. He performed alongside Jesse Jagz and dedicated the record "Brother" to him.[9][10]

The Chairman encompasses several layers of M.I's autobiography. In the album's opener "The Beginning/Nobody", M.I plays the role of a crazy teacher with his voice. In the Chigul-assisted "Monkey", M.I raps with a gospel flow over a Highlife instrumental. In "Human Being", he reminds listeners that celebrity is not all its hyped up to be. In "Rich", M.I narrates his grass to grace story. In "Brother", he enlists Nosa to help him depict the cracks in Chocolate City. "Shekpe" is a song that celebrates street life and low-cost highs. In "Enemies", M.I and Patoranking tell listeners that the world of celebrity is a land filled with haters. "Yours" is an ode to his core fans who supported him from day one. In "The End/The Chairman", M.I tells listeners that the real chairman is God.[11]

Promotional singles[edit]

The Chairman was supported by two promotional singles. On March 19, 2013, M.I released the first promotional single "Chairman", which was initially announced as the album's lead single. The song was produced by E.Kelly, Chopstix and M.I. It was launched via a Google Plus hangout, which was streamed live on Google Plus and YouTube.[12] On May 13, 2013, the music video for "Chairman" was uploaded onto YouTube.[13] It was shot and directed in Los Angeles. According to Saturday Beats, M.I spent ₦10 million on the video shoot.[14]

The second promotional single, titled "King James", was released on August 21, 2014.[15] M.I describes the song as a non-profit project designed to create awareness and inspire social change. "King James" received generally mixed reviews from music critics.[16]


"Bad Belle" was released as the album's lead single. Its music video was shot and directed in Nigeria by MEX. The video features cameo appearances from Basketmouth, Mode 9, Sound Sultan, Yung6ix and Show Dem Camp, among others.[17]

M.I released "Monkey" as the album's second single on March 26, 2015. Its music video features comedian Chigul and was self-directed by M.I.[18] "Bullion Van" was released as the album's third single. Its official music video was shot and directed by Mex.[19] Kemi Adetiba shot an unreleased music video for the song at Koga Studios.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Pulse Nigeria4/5 stars
Nigerian Entertainment Today4/5 stars
TooXclusive2.5/5 stars
The Breaking Times7/10

The Chairman received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Toni Kan of Thisday newspaper described the album as a "chockfull of hits" and further stated that it is an "autobiography and memoir, manual and manifesto, pure fiction and drama, as well as poetry on an epic scale."[11][21] Oscar Okeke of Lobatan gave the album an A rating, concluding, "The chairman album sounds like the result of an extended period of anxiety, overweighing thoughts, pressure, and other deep seated emotions that can only manifest through music."[22] Ayomide Tayo of Pulse Nigeria gave the album 4 stars out of 5, concluding, "On Jude Abaga's third studio LP, he repays for his sins, and less than stellar releases within his barren spell. Chairman is an inspiring, entertaining and a brilliant body of work from a master who has regained his magical touch."[23]

Dayo Showemimo of Nigerian Entertainment Today also gave the album 4 stars out of 5 and described it as "legendary". In addition, Showemimo commended the album's production and technical detail.[24] Reviewing for NotJustOk, Tola Sarumi gave the LP 6.5 stars out of 10, concluding that it has something for everyone.[25] Jim Donnett of TooXclusive gave the album 2.5 stars out of 5, stating that M.I's decision to feature 26 artists brings into question his sole abilities.[26] Wilfred Okiche from YNaija believes the album's defining experience came from its subtle songs.[27] Henry Igwe, another YNaija writer, said the lyrics and production on "Human Being" are nonpareil, when compared to "Shekpe" or "Bullion Van".[28] The Breaking Times gave the album 7 stars, concluding, "On Chairman, M.I. shows he hasn’t lost much (in terms of song crafting and ear for beats), and therefore, has nothing to prove to naysayers".[29]


The Chairman won Best Rap Album and was nominated for Album of the Year at The Headies 2015.[30][31]

Year Awards ceremony Award description(s) Results
2015 The Headies Best Rap Album Won
Album of the Year Nominated

Track listing[edit]

The Chairman
1."The Beginning/Nobody"Jude AbagaAbaga3:13
2."Monkey" (featuring Chigul)Abaga
3."Rich" (featuring Koker)
  • Abaga
  • Koker
  • L37
4."Mine" (featuring Wizkid)
  • Abaga
  • Ayodeji Balogun
  • Ugo
5."Shekpe" (featuring Reminisce)
  • Abaga
  • Remilekun Safaru
6."Bad Belle" (featuring Moti Cakes)
  • Abaga
  • Moti Cakes
7."Wheel Barrow" (featuring Emmy Ace and Bennie Man)
  • Abaga
  • Anthony Davis
8."Brother" (featuring Nosa and Milli)
  • Abaga
  • Nosa Omoregie
  • Milli
  • Erica
  • Reinhard
  • L37[b]
9."The Middle" (featuring Olamide and I.J)
  • Abaga
  • Olamide Adedeji
  • L37
  • Will
10."Enemies" (featuring Patoranking)
  • Abaga
  • Patrick Okorie
  • MI Abaga
  • L37[a]
11."Bullion Van" (featuring Phyno, Runtown and Stormrex)
  • Abaga
  • Azubuike Nelson
  • Douglas Jack-Agu
  • L37
  • Stormrex
12."Always Love" (featuring Seyi Shay)
  • Abaga
  • Deborah Joshua
13."Millionaira Champagne" (featuring Ice Prince, Sarkodie and DJ Lambo)
  • Abaga
  • Michael Addo
  • Panshak Zamani
14."Yours" (featuring Milli and Debbie)
  • Abaga
  • Milli
15."Beg" (featuring Morell and Loose Kaynon)
  • Abaga
  • Morell
  • Loose Kaynon
  • Abaga
  • Reinhard[b]
16."Human Being" (featuring 2face Idibia and Sound Sultan)
  • Abaga
  • Innocent Idibia
  • Sound Sultan
  • Pheelz
  • Abaga[a]
17."The End/The Chairman" (featuring Oritse Femi, Frank Edwards and Nanya)
  • Abaga
  • Tosin Martins
  • Oritsefemi Ekele
  • Frank Edwards
  • Abaga
  • VSTOL[a]
  • Frank Edwards[a]
Total length:75:00


  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • "Monkey" and "Bad Belle" contain additional vocals by Milli
  • The skit performed on "Enemies" was done by Erica
  • "Bullion Van" contains additional vocals by L37 and T-Soul
  • "Millionaira Champagne" contains additional vocals by Reinhard
  • "The End/The Chairman" contains additional vocals by Jade Abaga


Credits adapted from M.I's website.[32]

  • Jude Abaga – primary artist, executive producer, production, writing, mixing
  • Yahaya Maikori – executive producer
  • Audu Maikori – executive producer
  • Paul Okeugo – executive producer
  • Innocent Idibia – performer
  • Ayodeji Balogun – performer
  • Deborah Joshua – performer
  • Panshak Zamani – performer
  • Olamide Adedeji – performer
  • Azubuike Nelson – performer
  • Remilekun Safaru – performer
  • Oritsefemi Ekele – performer
  • Patrick Okorie – performer
  • Douglas Jack-Agu – performer
  • Michael Addo – performer
  • Nosa Omoregie – performer
  • Anthony Davis – performer
  • Sound Sultan – performer
  • Koker – performer
  • Moti Cakes – performer
  • Morell – performer
  • Loose Kaynon – performer
  • Debbie – performer
  • Stormrex – performer
  • Ugo – performer
  • Milli – additional vocals, performer
  • Frank Edwards – performer, production
  • I.J – performer
  • Nanya – performer
  • Chioma Omeruah – performer
  • Emmy Ace – performer
  • Jumar – performer
  • DJ Lambo – performer
  • Jade Abaga – additional vocals
  • T-Soul – additional vocals
  • Reinhard – production, additional production, additional vocals
  • Sarz – production
  • Pheelz – production
  • Sammy Gyang – production, additional production
  • L-37 – production, additional production, additional vocals, mixing
  • VSTOL – production
  • G-Plus – production, mixing
  • Wilson Alao – mixing
  • Erica – skit performer
  • August Udoh – photography
  • Blackchild – album design
  • Tunde Ahmed – album design

Release history[edit]

Country/Digital platform Date Version Format Label
  • Nigeria
  • iTunes
October 30, 2014 Standard


  1. ^ "The Chairman by M.I Abaga". iTunes. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  2. ^ Kan, Toni (19 October 2014). "M.I SHEATHES HIS SWORD IN NEW ALBUM". This Day. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  3. ^ Showemimo, Dayo (24 October 2014). "M.I's unreleased album sells 30,000 copies". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  4. ^ Eze, Chidinma (13 October 2014). "Jesse Jagz leaving Chocolate City affected me – M.I Abaga". Daily Post Newspaper. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  5. ^ Oogbodo, Oseyiza. "AIRWAVES LINK: MI states intent with Chairman" (23 March 2013). National Mirror. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Nigeria: M.I Abaga the Chairman – His Burning Desire for Greatness". Leadership. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  7. ^ "MI Abaga's "Chairman Album" available for Pre-order Now! #ChairmanSeason #IMMI #ChairmanAlbum". MADC. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  8. ^ Opeoluwani, Akintayo (30 October 2014). ".I's 'Chairman' Album Out!". Daily Times of Nigeria. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Has MI Abaga Outdone Himself With His Latest 'Chairman' Album?". Fuse. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Exclusive Pictures: From M.I 's Chairman Album Release Industry Nite". Lobatan. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  11. ^ a b Kan, Toni (26 October 2014). "'M.I's new album is an incredible delight'- Toni Kan". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  12. ^ "MI returns with 'Chairman'". The Nation. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  13. ^ "M.I Drops 'Chairman' Video". Channels TV. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  14. ^ Olonilua, Ademola (25 May 2013). "Olamide and MI's N10m chairman song". Punch. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  15. ^ "M.I Abaga – King James / Lyric VIDEO". NotjustOk. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  16. ^ Akan, Joey (23 August 2013). "M.I's 'King James' Not On Upcoming Album". Pulse. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  17. ^ "New Video: M.I Abaga featuring Moti Cakes – Bad Belle". Bellanaija. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  18. ^ "VIDEO: MI Abaga – Monkey ft. Chigurl". NotJustOk. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Bullion Van: Hot Music Video By M.I feat. Runtown, Phyno And Stormrex". Express Nigeria. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  20. ^ Akan, Joey (26 January 2015). "Rapper shoots video for 'Bullion van' with Phyno, Runtown, Stormrex". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  21. ^ "M.I (JUDE ABAGA) Taking the Music Industry by Storm". This Day. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  22. ^ Okeke, Oscar (3 November 2014). "The mind of a bully VS the heart of a mere human: MI's Chairman album review". Lobatan. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  23. ^ Tayo, Ayomide (3 November 2014). "M.I Abaga – The Chairman". Pulse. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  24. ^ Showemimo, Dayo (6 November 2014). "M.I's 'The Chairman' is a product of technical and creative perfection". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  25. ^ Tola Sarumi (5 November 2014). "Album Review: M.I Abaga – The Chairman". NotJustOk. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  26. ^ Jim Donnett (5 November 2014). "ALBUM REVIEW: M.I – The Chairman". TooXclusive. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  27. ^ Wilfred Okiche (22 November 2014). "ALBUM REVIEW: THE TROUBLE WITH MI'S THE CHAIRMAN". YNaija. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  28. ^ Henry Igwe (10 November 2014). "ALBUM REVIEW: 'THE CHAIRMAN' BY MI ABAGA – PERFECT MONIKER OR A MISNOMER?". YNaija. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  29. ^ "ALBUM REVIEW: THE CHAIRMAN – M.I. ABAGA". The Breaking Times. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  30. ^ Adeleke, Shayo (30 September 2015). "The Headies Awards 2015– Full Nominees List". 36NG. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  31. ^ Abulude, Samuel (6 January 2016). "Olamide, Timi Dakolo, YCee Win Big At HEADIES 2015". Leadership Newspaper. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  32. ^ "The Chairman – Complete list of album credits #ChairmanAlbum". MADC. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.