M.anifest’s Roots Connection to Music

The 2011 article, “M.anifest, continent drifter” was feature on StarTribune right before M.anifest’s second album release. In the article M.anifest accounts how he read Maya Angelou’s All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes and ran into his maternal grandfather’s name in the book. This discovery was a huge surprise to him, but it allowed him to see the musical connection that he had with his grandfather and Ghana. It was such a great influence on him, because his grandfather actually employed Maya Angelou when she lived in Ghana in the 1960’s.

Reading about his grandfather pushed him toward reclaiming his West African roots. This also played a tremendous role in his latest album “Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America” M.anifest was quoted saying, “It opened my eyes to that music connection I have with my grandfather, and with all of Ghana.” This discovery helped him get personal on his latest album and it served as a defining point in his music career. Although he had previously only seen his grandfather as “a man that he and his mother lived with when he was growing up” his mind changed and through the novel he was able to see that there was a more depth connection that he had with music through the influence of his grandfather. It’s amazing how small discoveries can lead into a greater recognition and acceptance.

The article tells how M.anifest was far out of the rapping scene when he first moved to Minasota in 2001 when he came to the United States to attend Macalester College. Despite his unfamiliarity with the rap scene in the Twin Cities, he soon learned that they accepted him and he was able to do what he loved to do with full reception. He hit the scene in a major way when he dropped his first album in 2007, and was acknowledged internationally. One of his songs was even featured in a Pepsi commercial. The article points out how M.anifest is able to survive in the rap game effectively, because he never tried to fit in to a certain category, he simply defined his self by being original. As a result he has been recognized by influential artist like Flea, Damon Albarn, and Blur.

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