18th May,2013. That Saturday was no ordinary Saturday night for music in Ghana. It was the night of the VGMAs,arguably the biggest music awards show in the country. Tema based duo R2Bees undoubtedly shadowed all other winners on the night with a whopping six awards. So much so that nobody seemed to noticed a new king of Ghanaian rap music had been crowned that night.Kwame Ametepee Tsikata commonly known as M.anifest.His recent release the extended play Apae : The Price of Free ,is the follow up to the Madina bred rapper’s rather impressive effort Immigrant Chronicles. It might be too early in the year but this record has earned its place on my end of year review. Judging by the quality of this release the rapper has no intentions of relinquinshing his Rapper of the Year crown to another. Here is a track by track review of the EP
Singitdamnit : M.anifest “celebrates his elevation” with a grand opening to the EP which sets the mood for the whole album with drums and horns accompanying M Dot’s flow. A necessary opener for the reigning rapper of the year in Ghana
Someway Bi: “Driving in a storm, how I fit see ahead.Weather forecast, a bit nippy I heard
Beggars can’t choose, but be picky instead, 9 to 5 blues, kick me I’m dead”. Magnificent indigenous production slightly reminiscent of my personal favourite on M3nsa’s No. 1 Mango Street “Anaa”. A true workers’ jam. After the frustrations of waking up at dawn just to avoid traffic so as to make it to work early, a stressful week, and the all too frequent dumsors who won’t TGIF and punch the clock at exactly 5 to chill out at Verbs (a local pub at Madina Rawlings Circle)?. The album also features a refix of this song with a more danceable production for those of us who’d want to dance the frustrations of the week away on Friday
Ebei (Dreamkillers) : “Undisputed champion who am I?”.It’s such witty double entendres from this Madina bred rapper which set him apart from the throng of Ghanaian rappers. He expresses his desire to be the alpha male of the Ghanaian rap industry despite dreamkillers conspiring to retract him from his aspirations on the first single from the EP.
Right Here ( ft. Paapa) : The first song on Apae which features another artiste. The featured artiste Paapa delivers an excellent hook with superlative Miguel-esque vocals. The standout of this record has got to be either the hook or the second verse from M.anifest. Bars on bars. Definitely one of the best verses on the EP which validates his claim on this song about the legacy he will leave for posterity.
Debi Debi : A thought provoking song which asks pertinent questions about the Ghanaian status quo. Might raise a few eyebrows in our extensively polarised political arena but from a disinterested view all the questions asked by the rapper seem justified.
Mind Games: M. Dot laments on this record from a guy’s perspective about a relationship which seems to be giving the rapper migraine. Relatively the weakest track on this album by his high standards could easily pass as the best song on most Ghanaian rappers’ album.
Never Feel (ft. Blackway) : A track which explores a similar theme as Ebei and has the second feature on the album.
Post Azonto Blues: M.anifest tells the story of an azonto girl who’s only assets seem to be her vital statistics and her only aspiration being to bag a rich dude who drives a C class. Innovative
Big Sixes: Benjamins or Big Sixes? Call it what you want but you gotta admit, “every blessed day mind dey on the Big Six”.M.anifest explores the concept of the picture of the Big Six ( who fought for Ghana’s independence) found on the Ghanaian currency, the Cedi here. While his colleagues in the rap industry keep chorusing the “Cash Rules” refrain , M.anifest strikes a healthy balance between “A good name is better than riches” and “Cash rules” on this track. Impresive
No Shortcut To Heaven (ft. Obrafuor) : This promises to be the biggest hit from the album not only because it has the biggest feature on the EP ( hiplife legend Obrafuor sings the hook) but also because M.anifest competently tells how hardwork is needed to make it to one’s dream since there’s no shortcut to heaven.He even displays his broad musical knowledge as he alludes to Donny Hathaway’s Young,Gifted and Black in the first verse