“Suffer” is a 2011 song by 33-year old internationally respected Ghanaian hip-hop artist M.anifest. According to his official website, M.anifest, whose government name is Kwame Tsikata, hails from Accra, Ghana. Music is in his lineage, as his grandfather is one of Africa’s most famous composer. M.anifest spent the first decade of the 21st century, his 20s, living in Twin Cities, Minnesota. It was here in the US that he first honed his talents. It was upon his return to Ghana in 2011 that his career as a hip-hop artist took off. M.anifest’s lyricism and rhythm make him a very engaging and enjoyable artist. He is able to simultaneously deliver a message and be catchy. In this respect his music reminds one hip-hop’s “golden age,” the era which occurred prior to the wholesale commodification and degradation of the art form.
“Suffer” is a gorgeous example of M.anifest’s style. It was released as a single of his sophomore album, “Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America.”. The song’s themes are very political. It engages topics such as poverty, migration, and tribalism and corruption in Ghana. M.anifest also shares some of his personal problems, including the ways in which society can harm his self-esteem. As one can imagine from the song’s title, “Suffer” is about suffering and yet still offers a great deal of hope and strength. Its beat is strong and uplifting, and its hook ends “You’ve never known joy if you’ve never had to suffer.”
Another thing I like about this song is its music video, which can be viewed HERE. The video is very personal and minimalist. M.anifest is simply walking through a typical neighborhood for most of the video and delivering his lyrics. I greatly appreciate how M.anifest minimizes his presentation down to the essence of the MC.