.M.anifest, a rapper and Twin Cities transplant from Ghana, released his first album Sept. 11. “Manifestations” might prove to be one of the best local hip-hop releases of 2007, with a strong vocal presence, creative lyrical content and musical aspects not often heard in these parts.
“Manifestations” mixes rapping, singing, traditional African instruments and traditional hip-hop sounds. The songs are upbeat and catchy, while not jeopardizing the message M.anifest is clearly trying to relate: He’s different from the other rappers around here.
From the way he dresses to his lyrical content, his outlook on life to his perspective on the music industry, M.anifest brings a fresh feel and approach to hip-hop.
At his release party Friday at the Fine Line Music Cafe, M.anifest also demonstrated his ability to rock the crowd through his commanding and energizing stage presence.
The Daily recently talked to M.anifest about his new album and his new home, his history and his future.
How did you end up in the Twin Cities?
I came because I got a full scholarship to Macalester, but mostly I came to get away from (Ghana). My grandparents lived in the States, but I officially left-left Ghana in 2001.
When did you get into rapping?
The careful use of words has always been part of my culture. Rapping was a natural extension of that. As a kid I used to write a lot, but I was afraid of sharing what I had to say. I didn’t start rapping until I was like 14.
How did growing up in Ghana shape your musical style and personal viewpoint?
You have a more worldly perspective. I am not boxed into the same musical conditions as people making music here. We didn’t have MTV, BET, mainstream or underground. It helps me to be more grounded. Life here is so excessive and extravagant. These lessons show in my music because I can only talk about what I know. There’s just too much reality to speak on so I’m just speaking my truth.
You just released your first full-length. What are you most proud of on “Manifestations?”
I’m pretty happy with the musical connections I’ve made in making this album. Just through the process, I’ve been connecting with different people through business and music. I just met a lot of great people with different ideas.
What’s your favorite track off “Manifestations?”
“Gentleman.” It really defines what I represent. That is my reality. I’m not a gentleman, I’m an African.
What do you think makes your music stand out in the Twin Cities scene?
First up, I come from a different perspective in terms of content. I come from an African perspective. There’s a different aesthetic to my music, too. I like combining different sounds. I like to dance so I like using sounds that I can dance to.
What’s next for you?
Musically, I just want to break ground. I want to reach more people. My next album is called “Coming to America.”
Anything else you want to talk about?
Shout out to my mom.