M.anifest Manifestations (2007) Album Review

When I first listened to the album, I didn’t know what to expect, because the only artist from Africa that I had ever listened to was Akon. I had no idea what to expect and I wasn’t even sure if I would like any of the music that was on the album. I noticed that he represented where he was from on the very first track and made sure that people knew he was from African. What I also noted about a few of the songs was that the drums stuck out which gave his music a very Afrocentric feel, this something that separated him from Akon who is more of a mainstream artist. I also noticed that he spoke on issues that were going on in the world and his album flowed because each track related to one another, and this is something that made me want to continue to play his music instead of skip each track after a few lines of every song. I also noticed that there was dialogue on the album which gave it a Miseducation of Lauren Hill type of vibe. The dialogue at the end of the songs showed me that this artist had something to say and actually speak about instead of having a bunch of tracks with upbeats filled with fluff lyrics. M.anifest album was like a book and each track was a chapter of the story he wanted to tell.

I found myself bobbing my head to the beats of the songs and all into the lyrics before I knew it. I’m not saying I’m his number one fan, but some tracks did stand out to me and made me want to put them on repeat so I could grasp the content of the lyrics. I liked the song “Swing Low” because of the African drums, I felt like he was an African artist embracing his roots when I heard this song and made me feel like I was listening to an African song instead of a rap song. In the song he said “If I die when I go to America/ Make sure bring my bones back to Africa/ Made in Ghana/ Be laid in Ghana” which shows that even though he’s resides in America his heart and soul will always be in Africa.  He also speaks in his native language on this track and it really says something about his connection and homage to Ghana, because he is very vocal about representing where he is from. The chorus of the song “Swing Low” is an old “Negro Spiritual” that was sung by slaves which also makes me believe that his songs are not only created for African Americans in America, but he also wants to reach out to an audience in Africa.

The track “She lives” happens to be one of my favorites, because he personifies R&B, Hip-Hop, Blues, and Gospel music. It’s a real unique song because all of these genre of music were created by black people. He’s makes it clear that he’s speaking on Hip-Hop, because this is a genre that has lost touch with its origin. This particular song also pays a tribute to music and how Africa is the central of music and how black people created so many genre’s and style of music. The last verse says “Teach her history/ Tidbits to add to the stew/ Bebop, Grandfather hated like you/ Jazz your uncle, older cousin rock n’ roll/ Gospel the reason you got so much soul/ Africa your true original home/ So don’t forget blackness is all in your bones/ I miss you.” These lyrics are full of depth because it’s calling our all artist to stay true to the origin and history of the music and never forget where it came from.

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