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The Purge: A brief history of M.I Abaga vs Vector and its importance for Nigerian Hip-Hop

A day ago, a beef that had been brewing for years finally came to a head with Vector’s ‘The Purge.’
In 2006, M.I. Abaga released ‘Crowd Mentality.’ The video was shot in Abuja. A short while later, he signed with Chocolate City.
Around the same time, Vector was becoming a staple of Nigerian Hip-Hop. Like M.I, he was sell-able and likeable as an English speaking rapper. But unlike M.I, he was already being thrust into the spotlight and was farther along in his development and mainstream relevance than M.I. Most gamblers would have placed bets on Vector to become the new king.
Vector was in Lagos doing bits while M.I was in the North making the rounds. He only moved to Lagos permanently after he signed with Chocolate City. Vector was also promoted as a freestyle rapper. As you know, Lagos is the bigger market. You own Lagos, you own it all.
MI Abaga – Safe ft. Djinee (Official Video)
But then something happened; it’s called ‘Safe‘ featuring Djinee. M.I not only took the lead as the top dog, he sealed it with a classic album in Talk About It and two awards at the MTV African Music Awards in 2009. Vector began to take a backseat. At the time, he hadn’t even released his debut album. State of Surprise was to drop a year later, 2010.
While M.I. was already making waves, Vector still had fans who felt he could usurp M.I and he also believed it. Why wouldn’t he? He hadn’t even dropped his debut album yet. As a Lagos boy who grew up in barracks and with a larger than life appetite, he also felt he was more talented than the Jos transplant.
VECTOR – KILODE feat. Emmsong (Official Video)
The proof came on track six of his debut album, State of Surprise. It was the Samklef-produced, Emmsong-assisted song titled, ‘Kilode.’ On it, Vector rapped, “Kilode? What the heck do you want from me, asking if I could kill M.I. Why would I? He’s a cool kid… Ain’t got no reason to be on a metaphor clash with him. He’s him and I’m me…“
An OG before IG tells me the track was recorded at least 18 months before State of Surprise was released.
Vector used the word, “Kid.” It might have been mainly harmless on his part, but it was passively condescending. Even on ‘Sha Ma Wa Lo,’ Vector thought he was the greatest. He says, “GOATs don’t play around at ramadan…“
With the word “kid,” seeds of this beef were planted. At the time, he still had a chance, but even clairvoyant people couldn’t predict what was to come. M.I went on to stake a legitimate claim as one of the greatest. Vector has since remained a polarizing character at best and a pretender at worst.
The actual beef starts…
Vector expresses displeasure over MI’s sentiments on the Nigerian rap culture.
On August 30, 2018, Vector directly responded to M.I Abaga on Cool FM’s ‘Midday Oasis.’ He thought M.I was wrong for recording ‘You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives.’ Before then, they’d appeared on songs together, but never featured each other.
Tha Suspect ft M I Naeto C illBliss Sound Sultan Vector Mi Fliss Ghetto P I No Send U All Star Remix
A few months ago, word on the street was that Vector was planning a major diss track that will be directed at M.I. Abaga. Industry ITKs waited for it, but it never happened. Yet, we salivated at the combustible prospects of a rivalry that had been brewing for 10 years. Life always seems to have a way of pitting M.I and Vector against each other.
Hennessy Cypher 2016 – VECTOR x DREMO x AO x OBADICE x BLAQ BONEZ
Lucky for us, M.I. Abaga and Vector Tha Viper have grown into brand ambassadors for two of the biggest liquor brands in Nigeria. Vector is behind the Hennessy cyphers that have been highly terrible in recent years. M.I. has only done two highly commendable episodes of the Martell Cypher.
But there’s also one problem; Hennessy is bigger than Martell and M.I. is bigger and more successful than Vector. Cypher was always going to be the ‘Manila’ for this ‘Trilla’ of a Hip-Hop rivalry.

Everytime the Hennessy cyphers flop, M.I. fires shots via his Twitter account. He has never been silent about his desire to take Vector’s place as brand ambassador. He feels he could do a better job.
In a way, you would feel that it’s M.I’s ego as arguably the greatest Nigerian rapper of all time working its number – it’s fair. As the big dog, you want to be at the helm of the biggest things. Hennessy is the bigger brand with the bigger bag. It’s only natural that M.I would want that space, especially when a contemporary he is greater than is fumbling the job. 
Inspired by diss tracks and cyphers in 2019
2019 has been the most eventful year in Nigerian Hip-Hop since 2014 – 2017 is a close second. 
On January 10, 2019, M.I made his biggest claim yet to Vector’s throne. He orchestrated the highly pleasing and enjoyable Martell Cypher and called on his 100 Crowns brethren, AQ and Loose Kaynon to send messages to Vector. Loose Kaynon was the first. He rapped, “Washed up rappers turned pop want to son Hip-Hop artists…”
A-Q – Ginja ft Vector, Baseone, X.O Senavoe & Terry tha Rapman
AQ has a history with Vector. At first, Vector featured AQ, Terry Tha Rapman and X.O. Senavoe on the 2011 song, ‘Ginja.’ Then In 2012, both rappers teamed up for ‘Distractions,’ a diss to Reminisce.
What’s Up with A-Q? He Speaks on Vector ‘diss’, Son of John Mixtape
However, when Vector rapped that, “Somebody please mess with me, I need a new distraction. Damn A-Q, I bet that crazy n***a laughing…” on ‘Where is Vector,’ AQ went at Vector’s head with a remix of the same song.
Vector – Where Is Vector (OFFICIAL AUDIO 2014)
On the first Martell Cypher, A-Q rapped, “How are you taking shots with a supbar album? Those joints ain’t strong enough, you need calcium…” Vector’s 2016 album, Lafiaji tanked both critically and commercially.
For his part, M.I. who also bragged about the impact of his 2017 track, ‘You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives,’ had a verse littered with shots at Vector.
He rapped, “There’s no rapper I can beef with, I son ‘em all… The cypher that matters… I’m the head, always the head… Loose and AQ we should make this episodic, open for rappers who deliver product. And that other cognac (Hennessy), this is how to spend your budget…”
As if that was not enough, the video ended with an explicit shot at Hennessy, “Don’t do cyphers that won’t pay you, come to us instead.” While rappers were allegedly paid in 2019, it made the rounds that rappers were not paid for previous cyphers.

When the 2019 Hennessy cypher rolled around, it again flopped. The video was much better and so were aesthetics, but the raps and beats were just terrible. M.I. again fired shots when the organizers billed Boogey, Teeto Ceemos and a few rappers, ‘underground.’
ALSO READ: Opinion: The bashing of South African rapper, AKA by Nigerians on Twitter is ridiculous
Then on September 3, 2019, South African rapper, AKA became the scapegoat for Nigerians – celebrities – to discipline. Fellow rapper, YCee misconstrued AKA’s tweets after South Africa’s July 11, 2019 loss to Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt. M.I made it a point to support AKA. But on Twitter, Vector attacked M.I for it – boiling point was coming.

Meanwhile in between, another ‘beef’ happened. Blaqbonez, who had been on the 2018 Hennessy cypher with Vector was at the centre of it. It happened because Blaq named himself the ‘Best Rapper in Africa.’
Blaqbonez – Best Rapper in Africa (Official Audio)
Although the beef seemed cooked and half-done, rappers, Ten-Tik, Meji, Payper Corleone and Vader most notably came for Blaqbonez. In the middle of it all, M.I weighed in with a video of Ghost and AQ arguing just before he dropped a video for ‘Playlist’ about a 18 months late.

In the middle of this, AQ pulled Blaqbonez out of an interview on Douglas Jekan’s, PGM show. He spotted Vader in the crowd and felt it was a set-up.   
Then, another “seismic” event happened. On September 10, 2019, Martell Cypher II: Purification dropped. Blaqbonez stood behind claims on his track, ‘B.R.I.A.’ Loose Kaynon fired shots at people gossiping in their 30’s and AQ fired shots at a lot of people, most notably, Douglas Jekan.
Martell Cypher 2 (M.I Abaga Blaqbonez, A-Q, Loose Kaynon) {Official Video}
For his part, M.I fired heavier shots at Vector in a verse that really started with, “Hi hater, I hear you talking…” and continued with, “When you’re ready, it will be a seismic event, I think you chicken though ‘cuz chickens only lie with their hands…” He also called the Hennessy cypher boring and likened it to an economic event or an oil drill.
But before then, on the ‘Headliners’ segment of the 2019 Hennessy cyphers on August 16, Vector strategically features M.I’s brother, Ice Prince who left Chocolate City in 2016.
Hennessy Cypher headliners
He rapped, “I’m here to rap, you scared to die, you p***y… I’d rather lyrical bars over Sarz killing the things, over trying to trade bars over alcoholic drinks. Your period of drought, this is your summer days.
“We know the sun dey hammer you now.. And the whole world has heard you subbing me in other ways, but we all know you shading me won’t keep your sun away…”
The drought he was referring to is M.I’s lack of a mainstream hit and possibly the vacation of his seat as CEO of Chocolate City Music.
Boiling point
Now, it’s all come to a head. Direct shots are being fired with dedicated diss tracks. Vector picked two ‘enemies’ of the TASCK/Chocolate City/100 Crowns clan in Payper Corleone and Vader for his beef track. Also noteworthy is that Vader is an affiliate of the Hennessy clan. He won the Hennessy VS Class Season IV in 2017.
Vector, Payper, Vader – The Purge (Official Audio)
On September 20, 2019, social media went mad after Vector released ‘The Purge.’ Vader cleared the air on what happened on the PGM. He also calls M.I., AQ and Loose egomaniacs.
Payper Corleone fired his own shots. Vector then came for M.I asking how he went from a two lettered name to a Chairman and shamed M.I’s height. He also bashed AQ, Loose Kaynon and Blaqbonez before addressing M.I’s desire for the Hennessy job.

It must also be noted that M.I. thwarted that release – sad.
It had to happen
Beef and diss tracks are either evidence of mutually assured respect or deep-rooted condescension. Sometimes, it’s a mix of both – one of those situations is M.I. vs Vector.
M.I. Abaga and Vector Tha Viper are two of the most recognizable rappers of their generation. They’re also pretty close in age. The conversation about greatness will definitely favour Mr. Abaga. He is arguably the greatest Nigerian rapper of all time. On the other hand, Vector was hailed as a rapper to carry to the torch of Nigerian rap.
His discography will betray any arguments you want to make about his greatness, but he does have a part in the history of Nigerian Hip-Hop. He has two Lyricist on the Roll awards at the Headies. You might argue against the relevance of the Headies, but artists live off recognition and awards.
Jay Z Talks Grammy Snub
It’s like validation for them. They deny it, but awards are only immaterial when artists don’t win. Jay Z said as much during his speech at the 2018 pre-grammy party. So for Vector, it’s something.
They both have grounds on which to be mad at each other. It’s only normal that their egos clash. Vector is a good rapper who must feel hard done by when conversations of greatness rightly ignore him. Also Hip-Hop is a highly competitive contact sport. Vector must hate how M.I has gone from the underdog to the top dog.
On the other hand, M.I hates how Vector got the biggest bag in the cypher business and consistently messes it up. Also, he probably still hates Vector’s guts for the “kid” description in 2010. It’s normal and it’s only fair that they don’t like each other.
Vector – King Kong [Official Video]
It’s competition and competition is human nature. The best entities in any field are fueled by competition. It’s basic human nature to want the top and body the competitor into your rearview.
It’s how the best can stay the best and the underling can become the best. You have to be on your toes, you have to be hungry and you have to respond whenever you’re called out. It’s why Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, friends who play for the same team are still competitive with each other.
It’s why every tech company in the world rushed to invest in self-driving vehicles circa 2012 when Tesla started knocking. It’s why every automobile company in the world has invested in lithium-ion batteries when Tesla started cracking it.
It’s why every major tech company is investing in digital streaming platforms for music and movies, artificial intelligence and so forth. You don’t want to get left behind.
The Evolution Of Diss Tracks [1986 – 2018]
Hip-Hop is no different. From time immemorial, the game thrives on beef and diss. It’s how the best spar and prove themselves. Some will call it simple vanity contest of hyper-masculinity and they will have a point. Hip-Hop is the quintessential ground for vanity and hyper-masculinity in music, but that’s just one version of the truth.
The women in Hip-Hop also compete. Competition is why Jay Z has remained the best for over 20 years. Competition is why Kendrick Lamar is the best of his generation. His ‘Control’ verse was his calling card.
Big Sean – Control f. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica
Beef and diss tracks will never leave Hip-Hop because the game is a cultural movement built on a fabric or DNA. You’re either in it or you’re not. You either get it, or you don’t. Beef might also be a disruptive tool that promotes disunity and a lack of collaboration in the Nigerian music industry.

…..Read directly from source

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