Finally, we can breathe a sigh of relief because there is hope in this crazy loop we call Hip Hop.
Filled with different vibes, sounds, and characters, Hip Hop has become a fixation of many. Even in its many faces, Hip Hop still has its artists that rely heavily on connecting with their audience through their lyrics, skillfully making sure that their words hold meaning and substance and most importantly, speak the truth. Feast your eyes and ears on Kwami Tsikata, better known as M.anifest, the future of Hip Hop.
A Hip Hop artist that hails from Ghana, Africa -- the motherland of riches -- but now is building his career in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, M.anifest brings to us something that is more valuable than diamonds and gold, good music for the soul. Though M.anifest may source the origin of his name as being a “freak accident yet having pine meaning,” the name, the man, and the music speak volumes and make for a perfect mistake.
Some of us who have resided in the US all of our lives, take for granted the beauty of simply walking out of our homes and walking to a record store to pick up that most anticipated album we’ve been waiting so long to get. M.anifest, though an introspective and devoted artists, didn’t have it that made.
“Nope. No Virgin [Megastore], no Best Buy, no Target just the same album going around the whole neighborhood,” he says while laughing when asked if he had any record stores in Ghana. “That was the beauty of it. When you really wanted music, you actually pursued it.”
This might just be the cure for all new artists coming out. Having to pursue their music may allow new artists to have more gratitude for it like M.anifest, and really invest themselves and their souls into the recreation of their own sounds that can and will touch others.
Relying on albums that were bootlegs and compilations of numerous songs from various artists allowed M.anifest to develop a love for the art form and to one day become that artist that people look wide and far to hear.
“Hip Hop was the first music I felt a real connection with" says M.anifest. "I heard it on the radio a lot. It was the excitement of Naughty By Nature, KRS One, you know? U.N.I.T.Y. Queen Latifah, MC Lyte.”
He chimes in, adding “Through Biggie's music, I felt like I knew Brooklyn before even going there”.
M.anifest emigrated from a country that also holds controversial, demised Los Angeles rapper Tupac Shakur in high esteem for his lyrics, which tell a familiar story. So it should come as no shock that M.anifest would travel the route of creating and recording socially and politically conscious music that allows you as the listener to vibe and think while taking in the music’s rhythmic energy. This is especially evident when he raps, “Why they wanna hate cause’ the sun ray’s kissed me” off of his song “Babylon Breakdown.”
If you’re expecting an artist that is looking to fit the stereotypical rapper draped in jewels and rapping lines that were written for him, then search elsewhere because unlike other rappers that are after the money in your wallet, M.anifest is after your musical heart.
When asked how he would describe his music during a phone interview, M.anifest responded confidently with one word, “Inspiring; music that comes from inspiration and is meant for inspiration.” He rounded it off by saying “soulful music that comes from an internally inspired place.” Now that is like music to one’s soul.
In September 2007, M.anifest made his debut with his first album Manifestations. With such singles like the previously-mentioned, thought-provoking “Babylon Breakdown” and the African tinged “Sweet Low,” Manifestations cures the urges for persity and variety in music and most importantly, contains composition that puts the mind to work.
Not many artists are known to emerge from Minnesota, but M.anifest informs that the Hip Hop scene is alive there, characterizing it as an “independent-minded atmosphere.” Putting out their albums as opposed to shopping them around for record deals is the name of the game and is probably the best idea for all new Hip Hop artists and artists in general.
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