Ghana artist M.anifest has become more than just an ordinary MC to the music industry today. In fact this man is said to be, “as intellectual as Talib Kweli with the flavor of Kanye West”. Personally, what attracted me to this African artist was his variety of famous collaborations, from Erykah Badu, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Damon Alborn from the Gorillaz M.anifest’s music without a doubt will make you “groove to the beat”. As if the collaborations are not enough, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata (M.anifest) was named after his grandfather J.H. Kwabena Nketia who is musically known for his classical and religious music. Currently, M.anifest has relocated back to his hometown Accra, Ghana where he continues to make music that incorporates the culture of Africa.
Kwame Ametepee Tsikata was born on November 20, 1982 in Accra, Ghana. Not a lot of accurate information can be found on African artists or underground artists of today. However, by analyzing the artist’s albums Manifestations (2007) and Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America (2011) I was able to come to an understanding of what this Ghanaian MC is all about. As stated earlier, M.anifest has always had musical inspiration surrounding him one being his grandfather J.H. Kwabena Nketia who was involved with African music and art from the gecko. From poems to becoming the author of the fundamental texts of modern ethamusicology it is only natural that M.anifest chose to wait until he was older to get involved in the music industry. However, his teenage friends soon became known as Blitz the Ambassador and M3NSA encouraged him to get on the mic and soon enough he did.
M.anifest moved from Ghana to Minneapolis on a scholarship if he never moved to Minneapolis his career would have never taken off the way it has. As M.anifest stated earlier this year in his interview “Manifest Returns to Ghana” by Craig Duncan, “…What made me stay after school is the strong independent music scene”. Mentally, living in Minneapolis helped get M.anifest’s career started but it also allowed the artist to appreciate his hometown. Therefore, M.anifest began to collaborate with jazz trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Budo and producers G.Mo and Katrah-Quey with the desire to change the ways of African and American hip hop music. In 2007, M.anifest released his first album Manifestations this album is loaded with African beats and lyrical messages about his experiences living in Ghana and America. This album was a milestone in the artists career that continued to progress as he developed into a musical idol.
In 2011, M.anifest released another album Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America; this was the official album that made M.anifest and his team a worldwide sensation. M.anifest’s first album, Manifestations showed what he was capable of in regards to talent and production. Where Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America showed the world what he wanted to accomplish as a MC. What I came to admire about M.anifest is that he flows for the people not for the music industry, guaranteed hip-hop listeners can expect lyrical quality messages from his music. However, there are a few tracks on the album that do not have quality messages but are still creative and catchy which we all enjoy from time to time. For this album alone M.anifest was nominated Best Rapper and Songwriter of the year at the 2012 Ghana Music Awards.
Currently, M.anifest is living back in his hometown Accra, Ghana. During his time back M.anifest held a “mini-hiphopera” for Africa-wide TV station on Channel 0 to celebrate Ghana’s 55th Independence Day. The artist also continues to visit the US to host cultural readings, discussions, and concerts. A term that would best describe M.anifest would be “linguistically”. The word “linguist” stands for a spokesman, in Ghana for a traditional naming or wedding ceremony. Therefore, someone of good wisdom, wit, and humor is chosen to speak on behalf of others due to their ability to say complex ideas in simple ways. That is exactly what Ghanaian artist M.anifest has continued to accomplish in his music career as a MC to be the spokesmen for his people as a musical idol.
M.anifest. (2012, April 24). Interview by Craig Duncan [Personal Interview]. M.anifest returns to Ghana. http://www.okayafrica.com/stories/interview-m-anifest-returns-to-ghana/