Rita Ray of the BBC has dubbed him “Ghana’s rapper supreme”; City Pages has described him as an artist with “an incredible gift” (the run off groove) who possesses “the kind of assured, joyful, ruminative voice that made Mos Def into Hollywood’s favorite conscious-rap star” (City Pages). He has also been described as “a rapper from Ghana who’s as smart as Talib Kweli and as funky as Kanye West”. M.anifest or “Manifest with a dot” as I call him was born Kwame Ametepee Tsikata and is an award winning Ghanaian rapper and songwriter. He spent ten years in Minnesota growing musically and now he spends his time in between Ghana and Minnesota. That has helped him to have a transnational experience, which is very prevalent in his music. His grandfather is Professor J.H Nketia, one of the leading ethnomusicologists (someone who studies music), and composers in Africa. Out of all the rappers we have listened to in class he is my favorite thus far.
His versatility is clearly illustrated in the adeptness of his lyrics and by his use of various languages in his music. Another example and also something else I love about his artistry is his ability to collaborate with a range of different artists. Throughout his career, M.anifest has lent his talents to many tours, and albums. He has also collaborated with the likes of Kindness (UK), HHP & Proverb (South Africa), Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), Camp Mulla (Kenya), and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (U.S), Erykah Badu (yessss!!!!), Damon Albarn (Gorillaz), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tony Allen, and many many more. In fact he was featured on a few songs on both the Rocket Juice & the Moon album, both were collaborative efforts from Tony Allen, Damon Albarn, and Flea. Collectively he has released four solo projects “Manifestations”, “The Birds and the Beats”, “Immigrant Chronicles”, and “Apae the Price of Free” EP (my favorite one). My favorite song is “Someway Bi.”
In Someway Bi, he talks about the weird occurrences that happen in life. He uses a variety of languages including Pidgin and English.
Up early no sleep, e be someway bi
Boys abrɛ all week e be someway bi
Price of living no be cheap, e be someway bi
But thank God its Friday, me bɛ aye me ni
Dum sɔ dum sɔ e by someway bi
Ewia bɔ nsuo tɔ, e be someway bi
My woman bore, wa dogai me, e be someway bi
But thank God it’s Friday, me bɛ aye me ni
He is very profound and brings a fresh perspective different from all the other artists we’ve listened to. I believe that it’s his lyricism, originality, social consciousness, creativity, flow, and his versatility that make him such a successful artist. Combine that with his unique way of putting his life experiences over hot beats and rhythms, in a way that is relatable to many and you have an artist who will be around a long time.