The Ghanaian “god MC” gears up to release his fifth studio album and seventh project overall, Madina To The Universe (MTTU), later this autumn. PAM spoke with M.anifest about his new release.
Produced by Ghanaian musician Øbed and mixed by Beninois producer Rvdical The Kid, “La Vida” is a carefree romantic song. The video, crafted by South African director Adriaan Louw, features M.anifest in a vintage Ghanaian setting where, on the beach or at the bar, he can truly express the recklessness he feels with his partner. Speaking about the inspiration behind the song, the “god MC” says, “it is a song I wrote with a mischievous grin. I imagined freeing myself and getting up to no good with a woman I dig with both of us having no care in the world about people, opinions, or rules. It almost felt like I was living vicariously through some of my own memories.” About the music video, he adds, “we shot it in Madina, which is the neighbourhood in Ghana I grew up in, and the essence was to tap into childhood memories and evoke a feeling of nostalgia.” The relationship to his home country is an omnipresent theme in the rapper’s work. In recent months, he has recounted typical Ghanaian tales on singles like “We No Dey Hear” or “We Dey Manage,” and has worked with his fellow countryman and producer, Juls. “It is a bit of a toxic relationship,” he tells us. “This country can make you proud and ashamed on the same day. But I am a Ghanaian and so what Ghana is, and will be, is my responsibility as well. So I speak about Ghana as an act of love. Whether it’s nostalgia, critique, or praise.”
A rap icon on the continent, with six acclaimed projects spanning over a decade and countless awards over his career, M.anifest is one of the most solid figures in the African rap scene. His fifth studio album Madina To The Universe – stylised as MTTU – arrives in 2021 to further cement his status. What will we learn about him after four intimate albums? “That I am a unicorn masquerading as a human maybe?”, he jests. “Jokes aside, I think I speak with a more vulnerable but confident voice on this album. I also low-key centered a lot of songs on conversations: conversations with my mom, stories about conversations with strangers, conversations with lovers,etc.” MTTU will arrive at an opportune moment: Ghanaian hip-hop is boiling, and the entire world is looking at the drill hardcore rappers from Kumasi (renamed Kumerica). Far from seeing this phenomenon as a threat to his own rap, which often dabbles in storytelling and social criticism, M.anifest seems quite enthusiastic about the future of rap in Ghana. “I love it all! It’s so fierce and vibely,” he says.“I love how they broke through with no co-signs. Asakaa also emerging from outside the capital is an important thing to happen in our scene. Ghana is not Accra. It’s an entire country (of 30 million plus beings) that can excel more creatively when different energies from different regions thrive. Asakaa to the world!” And Madina to the Universe.