A-Q & M.I Abaga – The Live Report (EP Review) – Hip-Hop is not dead!


EP RATING – 9/10

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What happens when two OGs of the Hip-Hop game come together to drop a project? What happened when Kanye and Jay Z dropped a collab project? or when Lil Wayne and Birdman came together in ’06? What would happen if Drake and K. Lamar did a joint project? – Yeah, an explosion of Hip-Hop Bliss is what happens.

It seemed far fetched when M.I jokingly teased A-Q for a collab project on Twitter. Far fetched because it’s just April and they’ve both released successful, individual 2020 projects of their own. M.I released ‘Judah the EP‘ which is still doing well on streaming platforms while fellow MC, A-Q dropped ‘God’s Engineering‘ who although is running the numbers as well too, claimed it to be his last Album ever. So How was a joint Collab going to materialize in less than 7 days amidst all these?

Best Believe the Joint Project we thought wasn’t going to happen is the reason this article happened. ‘THE LIVE REPORT‘, a joint project between A-Q and M.I Abaga dropped one week after they agreed to do it. Yes, you heard right, this whole EP was done and dusted in a week!

There has been a recurring notion in the country recently about the Hip-Hop culture being in a regressing state, about Supposed-to-be rappers joining the mainstream community – about rappers not going hardcore and raw like they should. While this notion has got some truth in it, enough credit hasn’t been given to rappers who have kept the Hip-Hop Culture alive, rappers like M.I, Vector, A-Q, Paybac, SDC, Jagz, Boogey, Terry, Alpha Ojini and others I might have forgotten to mention.

The Live Report is more than just a joint rap project, it’s about keeping the Hip-Hop game alive and running, it’s about retaining the culture for the upcoming rappers to see and learn from. For M.I, it’s been about retaining his ‘Best Rapper‘ title and making sure he’s not caught slipping, while for A-Q, it’s been about getting the flowers he deserves, getting more recognition and respect for his amazing style of Rap/Hip-Hop . While both sides were unified on this EP, a whole lot of other things made this project stand out.

One of the most important factors when cooking a project up is its Production and Sound Engineering, you could have the best punchlines in the world, and it just wouldn’t sound right if the production is inadequate or isn’t in sync with the style of rap technique. The 6-track EP is produced by BeatsByJayy and Engineered by Jude Abaga himself, so you just know the production aspect of this project is impeccable with that kind of combo.

We’ve had joint projects where both artists try to outdo each other, this wasn’t the case here and I feel it’s amazing. Instead of competing with each other, AQ and MI complimented each other instead. This unison was significant for the EP’s direction and purpose.

Hardcore rap at its best, amazing production that syncs perfectly with the Hip-Hop flow, enough Punch-line/Bars filled verses, Strong Theme to go with a fine album structure. Everything just clicks on The Live Report and we all love to see it.

Track-by-Track Review

I’ll do a Track-by-track analysis because it’s an EP.

The Intro track is the best intro you could ask for. ‘Tone of the conversation‘ literally set the perfect tone for this them of work. It starts with an interpolated protestive speech, then goes on with a hard mid-tempo early 2000s-esque production. This is the most streamed song off the album on Apple music, it’s for a good reason. Then it transitioned into ‘The Live Report‘, the song with the album title is centered about debunking conspiracy theories majorly about the pandemic COVID-19 and the fact that the answers to most questions are in our midst. Brought to you by MI and A-Q, the live reporters.

Then the most sensitive track, ‘Jesus said use your head‘, like its title suggest, targets fake prophets and religion extremists that tends to be purposely ignorant to the truth that is in front of them – the truth that their pastors are not gods. A-Q delivers a sublime verse on this one while spitting hard truths.

i probably know more than whats in your Pastor’s head

A-Q on ‘Jesus said use your head’

BeatsByJayy is severely underrated for all that he does in the production department of the Hip-Hop genre in Nigeria. He’s been very vital to the re-incarnation journey of the rap culture. He shows how much of a genius he is yet again on the next track ‘Clap for yourself‘ in which he also got a feature credit for additional vocals on the chorus. This one focuses on the Prolific liars Geng both in real life and social media, tells them to clap for themselves for living perfectly crafted fake lives(lies).

When i’m gone (feat. Nawe)’ is probably the song with the slowest tempo on the EP with soft recurring bass fused with an RnB feel that provides an amazing template for Nawe’s smooth chorus, it talks about leaving a legacy before leaving this world, M.I and A-Q drops bars of wisdom on this one. Finally, the outro track ‘Braveheart‘ is a correct representation of saving the best for the last. The production on this is amazing too, the interpolations by BeatsByJayy on this project is really impressive. They ended the way they started with enough bragging word plays and bars, A-Q’s rap technicality on this is pure flames while M.I might have thrown a not-Subtle diss at someone trying to “affect his mindset”. You know who he’s referring to? I’ll let you guess.

cause i could never let you affect my mind state

have a sign that says you rhyme good, but i rhyme great

i diss you, i make you famous. so what have i gained?

M.I on ‘Braveheart’

In conclusion, it will forever be a mystery as to how M.I Abaga, A-Q and BeatsByJayy have dropped arguably the best hip-hop project out there this year in less than 7 days!!!! If anything, it’s further proof that Hip-Hop is well alive and healthy!

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