In M.I.’s YXNG DXNZL, he couples the most candid rap project. It is correct to consider it a critical self-evaluation of his career as Africa’s top rapper. The development curve of a decade long career is expectedly intriguing.
I think that YXNG DXNZL gifts insight into the person called Jude Abaga and his struggle with depression. Again, we are reminded that artistes are people like us before they are stars, icons and selfie goals. Again, we are reminded that we are all we need in unbearable times, confidence wins and loyalty is key. From his lows, MI gifts us highs—truth, depth and inspiration.
Perhaps the peak of the depth is the epilogue to Do You Know Who You Are? Take Some Time and Meditate on You that seems to be a dialogue between MI and his attentive therapist. He expresses a sad realization—that the world hates him (a black man). Amongst other things, she responds with the following words that I consider profound:
There is a more insidious world against you which has to do with the socialization process. The expectation of men to be the strong one is a hell of an expectation. It’s actually terrible—because what do you do with all the real human vulnerability?
You have to become the superhero, the big muscled man. And yet you’re just a person—some of you is strong and some of you is weak. You’re just a person. And a full person has all the vulnerability in the world.
We need men’s liberation—to liberate men from the shackles of having to be a warrior, and perfect, and a soldier, and a killer, and a big muscled man, to just be a person.
Tambourine was Chris Rock’s first stand-up special in 10 years. But it was deliciously similar to the others—direct, quick and explicitly funny. The best comedians draw from their real-life experiences and the icing on this very cake was Rock’s talk about his divorce proceedings. He begins the chapter with,
You don’t wanna be in family court. And you don’t wanna be a black man in any court.
He proceeds to share some “man lessons”,
There is coldness you have to accept when you’re a man, especially a black man. Its like the world’s cold as a motherfucker, ok? Only women, children and dogs are loved unconditionally… A man is only loved under the condition that he provides something.
Happy International Men’s Day.