UNARGUABLY the hottest rapper Nigeria is blessed with, Jude Abaga, also known as Mr. Incredible (MI), is manning the affairs of the record label, Chocolate City, smoothly like his predecessor.
ENCOMIUM Weekly took him up on how he has been coping, his love life and life as one of the judges of Techno Own the Stage Karaoke competition.
How is it running the affairs of Chocolate City record label?
That is very difficult. It is tough and I have a lot of work to do. Sometimes, you don’t respect your boss until you have the opportunity to be in their shoes. The work has been tremendous. I go to the office every day. My phone rings and rings anytime I step out of the office. It has been good but it is a lot of work, very tasking.
What is the greatest challenge of being a Chief Executive Officer?
The greatest challenge is being optimistic always. Looking at the work ahead, checking the account balance and noticing that the two do not add up. You just have to keep smiling, keep working because everybody is looking at you. You just have to encourage them. Even if you are discouraged, you have to keep giving that word of encouragement to your followers. They are watching you, everybody is watching. The relationship between a label and an artiste is like that of a mother and child. Children are never satisfied with their parents. My father is this, my mom is that. Sometimes, when criticism comes, it could be hard on me. MI didn’t do this, he didn’t do that, it is really a tough challenge but we have to move on.
What are your plans for Chocolate City?
The first one is to stabilize the structure that Audu laid down. I think Chocolate City is like Lagos State, from Tinubu to Fashola to Ambode. Ambode once said that he will continue with what Fashola started. I will do the same thing. I will continue with what Audu laid down.
Also, we have new talents that are coming out. This year, we started introducing them to music fans. We will continue with that next year. I believe they are the best talents the country has to offer and they are coming from Chocolate City.
As the new CEO of Chocolate City, where do you think the record label will be in five to six years and what is your opinion on rap music?
We want to be number one every year. You should not compete unless you want to be the number one.
Talking about rap music in Nigeria, I think I became a little bit relaxed at a point as a rapper because the competition was not serious when I was coming in. When I came in, we had the likes of Ruggedman, Sauce Kid, Ikechukwu, Modenine and others. There was no way at first but at a point, I dropped African Rapper No. 1, it became a little bit very competitive because I was like the only person. But now, a lot more rappers are doing well. We see the likes of Ice Prince, Vector, Illbliss, Reminisce, Olamide. We have rappers everywhere.
What is happening to your music career?
MI has a lot of work. I am working on my next album right now. I have amazing ideas for my next album. I don’t want to share them now. Hopefully, as we work, things will take shape. We have started the work in earnest, it will soon be out there.
How soon should we expect that?
I don’t know if I can make it this year. If not, till next year and that will be early in the year.
If not music, what else would you have done well?
I would probably be playing for Nigerian Super Eagles or join Arsenal Football Club of England. I would also have something to do with music or advertising.
Aside doing music, what other plans do you have for your brand?
There is a plan for that and I will unveil it very soon. I also want to go into clothing and stuffs like that. I am willing to go into fashion but you know, you need to be very careful because fashion has its own attitude. In fashion, you have to be very careful but there is a serious plan for that. We will get there.
I also have interest in agriculture. I come from Taraba State. I know there is a huge farmland there. I would like to have a farm some day.
Nothing seems to be known about your love life?
I think it is important to be private as a public figure because it can affect one’s career positively and negatively. If I go to every place, have fun, relate with a lot of celebrities, it will affect my career positively but a day will come that it will be all over, you have to go back to your family, retire from social life and all that. I think it is important to protect your private life now because of the future.
Will you say you are in a relationship?
That is private. I am completely mum when it comes to such questions. I once learnt my lesson. I was once in a relationship. I spoke about it and it affected her really, her dad called and it was something else. So, every relationship I am in, I try to keep it dear to my heart.
How does it feel to be part of the judges of Techno Own the Stage Karaoke competition?
I am very excited. I have loved music all my life. I am always happy to be part of anything that will move music forward. This is an exciting prospect for unearthing talents that try to hide. People that go to work every day but come back to karaoke bar to sing. We will be blown away with the amazing talents that will come on board.
What would you say about the prize?
I think it is fine. This is the biggest karaoke prize I have ever heard of. $25,000, a chance to be in a music video. I think it is an amazing prospect. There are a lot of benefits to that too. Techno management is quite passionate about what they do. They have shown it with their level of growth in the market.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN