On the 24th of August 2018, Nigerian Rapper Jude Abaga, popularly known as M.I Abaga, released his 4th studio album and his 8th body of work titled; A Study of Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl. The project which “The Chairman” admitted to have been complete and ready since August 2017 went through a lot of album postponements. He teased the project in February before dropping his rendezvous playlist and promised to drop it in May.
Fans, however had to wait till July when Mr Abaga announced that Yxng Dxnzl will be dropping among a trio of albums he will be executive producing this year which were Loose Kaynon and AQ’s “Crown” and Budding Rapper Blaqbonez “BadBoyBlaq”. The release was tagged the LAMBAugust series which is the acronym of the first letter of their names.
I must admit that Yxng Dxnzl album took a lot of time and was one of the most anticipated albums of 2018, but it was definitely worth the wait.
The Yxng Dxnzl album, is an introspective and insightful body of work that dwells on different topics regarding our self-worth in the society we find ourselves today. From themes on self-meditation, loyalty, self-belief, depression and many others MI takes the listener on a journey of self-discovery.
MI Abaga (Twitter)
Here are some lessons we can pick out from the Yxng Dxnzl album
1. Do You Know Who You Are? Take Some Time And Meditate On You: On the first track on the album, MI touches on our self-worth and identity as Africans and black people in general. With the assistance of Tay Iwar, he implores the listener to take some time and meditate on his/her self. The black man has been through a lot from slavery to colonialism and to an extent, we as Africans don’t hold ourselves in high esteem. We don’t know our value. Most times we look down on ourselves as a continent and we bring each other down. MI lets us understand that the only way we can rise is by building each other up and if this is done right then the growth will reflect in our economy and we won’t need to depend on the West for survival. We therefore need to be culturally committed to ourselves as a people in order to grow.
2. Spread Your Wings and Fly: We are all full of potential to conquer the world and we have certain dreams and fantasies that we wish to accomplish in life. But most times we spend a lot of time dreaming, hoping and moping instead of just spreading our wings and flying. On “Last Night I had a Dream about a Hummingbird” MI uses the metaphor of a hummingbird to drive his point home. The hummingbird in the song spends its time sitting, full of pity and singing all the sweetest songs. The bird has the potential to venture and conquer the world and its cage has been open. All it needs to do is ignore the mockingbird and fly. This applies to us too. We need to learn to ignore what the naysayers and gossips around us are saying and venture into the world to make a difference with our lives.
3. Loyalty Is An Important Trait In Life: the 4th track on the project is titled; Another Thing! Do Not Be A Groupie. MI dwells on the importance of loyalty on this track and on how it is important to stick to your family at all times. He highlights on how issues of money and the hunger for fame play a major role in making people exhibit groupie behaviour. Groupie behaviour can be seen everywhere not only in the entertainment industry. In the Nigerian political space for example, there is a high level of groupie behavior as you see a lot of politicians cross carpeting back and forth between parties when things don’t go their way. He also talks on how some people beg for a record deal then as soon as they are signed they quickly move on to go and join whoever is popping. We are to stay away from such people at all times. Loyalty also applies to other areas of our lives. We must learn to stick with those we consider to be friends and family at all times. When things are tough we need to be around because most times that’s when those we consider friends and family need us the most. Don’t be the person that jumps on trends or comes around only when things are popping. In essence, never be the makeshift nigga switching sides. Make sure loyalty means something to you.
Yxng Dxnzl (Twitter)
4. You Don’t Need The Opinions Of Others To Validate Yourself: there are times when we bother a lot about the standards that society has set for us. We spend a lot of time seeking validation from people out there, instead of just being whom we are. “Stop! Never Second Guess Yourself” is the message on this track. Carry yourself with a high sense of self-esteem at all times and be proud of who you are. With lyrics like;
“You just so amazing have you met yourself
No one can ever make you reject yourself
Only you b, you shouldn’t stress yourself
It’s really important you protect yourself
Sometimes you over dissect yourself…”
Mr Incredible helps us to understand that we have the power to uplift ourselves so we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves, spending time on the opinions of society about us. Self over haters that’s the recipe. With the help of Cina Soul, we are led to understand that we don’t need the opinions of others to validate ourselves so we should embrace ourselves and love ourselves for who we are.
5. Positive Vibes Only: staying positive in the society we find ourselves these days can be a daunting task with everyone trying to have an opinion on every matter both on social media and in the society at large. This has discouraged a lot of people from pursuing the task ahead of them because people around them are moving with negative energy and doubting the potential of their dreams being great. On +- MI talks on how he always goes through with his dreams and plans. According to him; when he started rapping, a lot of people were watching to see if he would flop but he kept persevered and he stayed positive. Today he is one of the most successful rappers on the continent. The vocal presence of Lady Donli is felt on this track as she encourages us to honestly seek out positive vibes. If you don’t feel the energy or the spirit of the people around you and if you don’t have synergy with the people you vibe with, then you need to earnestly seek out positive vibes. Being positive is necessary for us to attain success in life.
6. Believe In You: Yes!!! Believe you are great, believe you can be the best at what you do and believe you can conquer the world in your own special way. MI has believed in himself most of his career and on “I Believe In You, You Should Too, Believe In You” he hammers on that message. Back in 2016 during the build-up to the release of Illegal music 3, MI admitted to be greater than or as great as 95% of American rappers and that led to a lot of controversy and backlash on social media. MI still maintains this stance and he raps
” I don’t know Pusha-T but if he ever heard about me then he should be honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as an African myth, a legend, living king of the mic now shouldn’t he?”
This shows how high MI rates himself and he is not letting the opinions of others cloud his judgement. The bottomline of this song is to believe in yourself no matter what anybody tells you, no matter your skin colour, your country or continent, believe you can succeed. Believe In You!!
7. Depression Exists Among Superstars: On “The Self Evaluation Of Yxng Dxnzl” MI takes us on the journey into the mind of a superstar. He uses himself to explain how depression is a hidden trait among many famous people in the entertainment industry. They are scared to speak about it because it might divide their fan base and people would approach them differently. This depression is as a result of the pressures that come with being a superstar. The worry that they might not have another hit record or they wouldn’t be relevant in the future. Therefore you find celebrities using any means necessary to cover their inner feelings. This might be through spending a lot of time partying or flaunting their wealth on social media in order to soothe their ego. MI admitted this on twitter when a fan asked him if he battled depression. We as people need to understand that celebrities at the end of the day are mortal beings like us just trying to get by. So we should be mindful of the expectations we place them on and when they don’t meet our expectations, we should not be too hard on them.
The Yxng Dxnzl album stuck to its theme of a study of self-worth. It focuses on introspection, asks a lot of questions concerning self and provides a lot of gems on how to get by in the society we find ourselves today. It is a self-empowering album and it’s going to be around for a long time.
You can stream the album below