My Cypher Was King: MI Finally Speaks

Ms. Anyiko Owoko | NEWS | 7 January, 2016


When the director of Coke Studio Africa Ernest Okeyo came to M.I with a proposal to have him Cypher on his first day of recording the show, it had all the markings of an explosive production.

M.I recalls; “Ernest said Yo! I have this idea of a Cypher – let’s record and see what happens. I had only 30 minutes, I was tired that day but I felt like it was something that needed to be done because Hip-Hop really needs to be represented in its glory – not just in a verse. Rap is more than just something in a song.”

M.I’s Cypher would turn out to be the illest among the other Coke Studio Africa features from artistes across Africa.

He says; “I really enjoyed the Cyphers and its something that has the power to be one of the bigger parts of Coke Studio Africa because the fervor for Hip-Hop is crazy around Africa. People love Hip-Hop.”

M.I’s Cypher beat was put together by his own producer, Reinhard. He confirms that he would like to do more Cyphers in the future. “I have a product called Fight Nights – rap battles. It’s so dope rap fans will love it. Next year I want to do more Cyphers to identify rappers and because you need no budget – it’s you and the mic – this levels the playing field.”

How to Identify a Rap GOAT

M.I dishes out his expertise on how to spot your Greatest Rapper of All Time, a constant topic of debate.

“Under the skill angle, there are lyrics, the writing and delivery. Understanding your brand and having courage is important to the game. Your career’s longevity and journey of where you came from also matters. When you put all these things together you get classic material.”

On his African GOATs he says; “The Hip-Hop story is starting. There are people who already are in contention. However, I choose Mode 9, HHP, Proverb and Sarkodie. Internationally my greatest rapper is Jay Z and I stand by that. After him comes Pac, Biggie, Nas then the rest.”

Of all the Cyphers on Coke Studio Africa, M.I says that his own bout is hard to top.

“For me and every other artiste, that’s a tough one to be better than. Nobody was on that level. For the ones I did with others, I was blown away! Big shout out to Bamboo – he came correct. The person that blew me away and then I did a song with him immediately after was Khaligraph. I think his skill puts him in the Top 5 of the continent. He’s amazing – his flow is like rapid fire and at the same time he stays on beat.”

Since the Coke Studio Africa recording, M.I says he is in deep conversation with Sauti Sol to do business together. He terms his Chocolate City signee Victoria Kimani as Africa’s next greatest female artist. “She’s from Kenya. Lives in Nigeria and does shows in South Africa as a headliner. I don’t know if anybody else can out those pieces together.”

He adds; “We are interested Kagwe Mungai. I am dope friends with Muthoni the Drummer Queen, we go way back. She’s not just talented but she’s an important person in the industry. I’ve talked a lot about Kenyans [because that’s the show’s recording HQ] but our eyes and ears are all over Africa. We are paying attention.”


Ms. Anyiko Owoko
Anyiko Owoko is a Media Personality. TV Host, Grapevine (KBC TV)/ Freelance Writer/Editor & Sauti Sol Band Publicist/ PR Agent.
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