In anticipation of Nowhere Cool we decided to have an Unorthodox Review of M.anifest’s most recent compilation release, Apae: The Price of a Free EP. Enjoy!
Now a centre a critical acclaim, M.anifest was largely underrated until quite recently. He made an introduction on the mainstream Ghanaian music scene with his 2011 album release Immigrant Chronicles which almost instantly positioned him as a hip hop powerhouse with certain notable singles such as Asa, Over and Under, and Makaa Makaa.
Immigrant Chronicles thus marked his transition from an independent Minnesota based rapper to a mainstream a Ghanaian artiste. It was however his third studio album, Apae: The Price of a Free EP released in 2013 which marked the completion of this transition cementing his stature as a true Ghanaian hip hop heavy weight.
Apae is an 11 track album with features from Blackway, Paapa and legendary Ghanaian rapper Obrafour. Production credits go to Yung Fly, G-mo and Jayso.
Driving in the storm how I fit see ahead, weather forecast a bit nippy ahead, beggars can’t choose but be picky instead, 9-5 blues kick me I’m dead.
Somewaybi samples the song Merua from Umalali Garifuna, a Caribbean women’s musical project and was produced by budding producer Yung Fly. The listener is serenaded by the lushness and authenticity of this rich African sample over which M.anifest glides seamlessly to point out a number of societal imperfections and illogical occurrences in the typical Ghanaian life, and the need to keep things light and have fun regardless.
M.anifest made it appoint to whet our auditory appetites, giving us a foretaste of what to expect from Apae with Ebei, which was the first single to be released off the project. Ghanaian super producer Jayso was the one behind the boards on this one. M.anifest raps over a thumping beat to deliver a motivational message of rising above adversaries and proving critics and dream killers wrong.
On Debi debi assumes the role of a social commentator – a role he has become well known for I must say. The hook which is sung in Twi and Pidgin English translates ‘one day one day it will be well, but when will this one day come.’ M.anifest addresses everything wrong with our society on this joint. From corruption, the issue fraudulent ‘men of God’, the state of our educational system, our regressive mentality as Ghanaians to the deplorable state of the creative arts industry.
Mind games give migraines what I for do, in this war of roses nobody wins its true. On this tune M.anifest raps about how his lover is driving him crazy with the constant bickering and mind games, reflective over his lover’s attitude and how he is being taken for granted when he is the best she’s ever had. This joint was produced by G-Mo, long-time collaborator Jayso also lends his voice on this piece.
Never feel is a personal favourite and one for the hip hop heads. This joint was produced by G-Mo and features promising rapper BlackWay, son of ace Ghanaian comedian Kwaku Sintim Misa. If you love M.anifest’s singles Keep Shining andGodMc (which in my opinion are different chapters from the same book) this is a must listen. PS: Apparently GodMc wasn’t the first time M.anifest hinted his adversaries using his name in vain.
No shortcut to heaven undoubtedly has all the makings of a classic. An epic beat produced by G-Mo, a legendary collaboration with Obrafour, and M.anifest himself lyrically in the rarest of forms. This is another conscious tune where M.anifest tells the story of the contemporary African youth, the struggle to make earns meet, and the craze for materialism and the fast life. A beautifully written piece indeed and arguably the most successful tune off the album.
Other songs on the tape include Singitdamnit, Right here which features Paapa, Big Sixes, Post Azonto Blues and Someway bi refix. Twi skits he fused into the close of quite a number of the songs did not only serve as a comic relief, but also gave context, making the project more relatable to the ordinary Ghanaian.
True, M.anifest’s previous works have always been heavy on Ghanaian influences and references. Apae is however more of a home grail than any other one of his previous works as M.anifest himself describes it as his first album to be completely made in, inspired and provoked by Ghana.