|Birth name||Kwame Ametepee Tsikata|
|Also known as||M Dot, M Digidi, god MC|
|Born||20 November 1982|
|Genres||Hip hop, Hiplife, R&B, Afrobeats|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, public speaker, entrepreneur, occasional lecturer|
|Instruments||Vocals, Pro Tools|
|Associated acts||Rocket Juice and The Moon, Damon Albarn, Flea, Tony Allen, Burna Boy, Brother Ali, Erykah Badu, Richy Pitch, A.R.M, Ko-Jo Cue, Efya, EL, Sarkodie, Brymo, Paapa, G-Mo, Jayso, Worlasi, Cina Soul, Dex Kwasi, Nomisupasta, Tumi Molekane, Evil Twin, Wanlov the Kubolor, Checkmate, Desdamona, Coptic, Samahra Daly, eLDee the Don, HHP, Bisa Kdei, Camp Mulla, Obrafour, Blackway, Kid Konnect, Dj Mic Smith, MzVee|
M.anifest (born Kwame Ametepee Tsikata, 20 November 1982) is a Ghanaian rapper, singer and songwriter.
He won Best Rapper and Hip-Hop song of the year at the 2017 Ghana Music Awards. He has worked with Damon Albarn, Flea, Tony Allen, Erykah Badu, and is featured on five songs on the Rocket Juice and The Moon album. He is the grandson of one of Africa’s foremost ethnomusicologists and composers J.H. Kwabena Nketia. In 2012, BBC’s arts program The Strand tipped him as one of four acts to look out for in 2012. In 2015 M.anifest's single "Someway bi" earned him a third-place honour in the International Songwriters Competition (ISC). In the same year, The Guardian named M.anifest as "the foremost rapper on the continent.". M.anifest currently lives in Accra (Madina) and Minneapolis.
Personal life and education
M.anifest is the son of Ghanaian lawyer and academician Tsatsu Tsikata and Reverend Dr Priscilla Naana Nketia, a lawyer and pastor. His maternal grandfather Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia was a composer, professor and ethnomusicologist. M.anifest migrated to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St Paul, USA) in 2001 to attend Macalester College, where he graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.
M.anifest went to high school at SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College in Tema. He was the entertainment prefect of his school known as Amet Tsikata. He has had artist residencies and given lectures in St. Lawrence University, University of Ghana, and spoken to several classes in Hamline University, Macalester College (his Alma Mater), Penumbra Theater's Summer Arts Institute, Ashesi University.
In his time in the Twin Cities, M.anifest learnt to adopt the do-it-yourself credo and the know-how in becoming an independent musician. He released his first solo album, Manifestations, in 2007 funded by royalties he received from lending his voice to a Pepsi jingle that played nationally on U.S radio. Manifestations earned him Songwriter of the year Honors in the City Pages as well as top five albums of the year recognition in the Star Tribune. In 2009 he released a free album, the Birds and the Beats, to raise awareness and funds for the work of a non-profit, Young Entrepreneurs Africa.
In 2010 M.anifest linked up with Africa Express and played gigs in France and Spain with them in the same year. He caught the attention of Africa Express co-founder Damon Albarn who thereafter invited M.anifest to be a collaborator on Rocket Juice & the Moon in 2011. In September 2012, M.anifest joined the Africa Express train touring the UK. He wrote for The Huffington Post about these experiences.
He released his sophomore album Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America in September 2011, which included the singles "Suffer", "Asa" and "Blue (Chale What Dey Happen)". It marked a decade of his life in the U.S. and the beginning of his transition back to Ghana. In 2012, M.anifest began making major inroads in Africa performing on The Big Brother Africa stage as well at the Channel O Music Video Awards in South Africa. The video for his single "Makaa Maka" also got him nominated for Most Gifted Hip-Hop Video at the 2012 Channel O Music Awards and won him Best Hip-Hop Video at the 4syte Music Video Awards.
M.anifest produced and co-wrote an independence mini Hip-Hopera for Channel O and also performed a piece, at the first-ever Ghana Music Week, detailing the history of Ghanaian music. M.anifest is the co-founder of Giant Steps, an interactive conference for entrepreneurial creatives and creative entrepreneurs. He is also included in the feature-length documentary We Rock Long Distance by filmmaker Justin Schell.
On 30 June 2016, M.anifest released a diss track to fellow rapper Sarkodie titled "god MC". Sarkodie replied within two days with a diss track of his own called "Kanta", which was a Panda cover. M.anifest's god MC went on to win Hip Hop Song of the year in the Ghana Music Award the following year. Two years later on 24 December 2018, the two officially squashed their beef with Sarkodie performing at M.anifest's yearly Manifestivies concert in Accra. On June 18, 2020, the two cemented their friendship with Sarkodie featuring M.anifest on his politically conscious track, Brown Paper Bag. The song was met with mixed reaction, with popular music critic, Gabriel Myers Hansen, bemoaning its lack of dance rhythm.
"Bereft of hooks, the instrumentation of the song is crafted with chords that fend off dance; instead inducing a frightful, contemplative atmosphere complete with doomy humming and the blast of gunshots. Insofar as this facilitates the discussion it hosts, it is fit for purpose. After all, this is not a forum for the fainthearted."
2016: god MC and Nowhere Cool
On June 30, 2016, M.anifest released "god MC", a diss track aimed at Sarkodie. The song was a response to Sarkodie's "Bossy" track on which the Tema-based rapper threw subliminal shots at many of his contemporaries. At the end of the track, Sarkodie said:
"M.anifest meserɛ wo lemme just use your “dor dor dor ti dor” to end this verse."
“Dor dor dor ti dor” is one of M.anifest's many taglines. M.anifest said he felt disrespected with the way Sarkodie used the tagline to sign off of a track on which he had thrown shots at his colleague rappers. On god MC, the Madina rapper said: "Go to the market, buy yourself some manners; don't use my name in vain, that's just for starters." Sarkodie then replied with Kanta but M.anifest never replied to that diss track. When asked about why he didn't respond, M.anifest replied that he had already said all that needed to be said. He added that his god MC track got more people talking about the content of songs than they were doing before. god MC also talked about the state of Ghana's pop culture, with the rapper bemoaning our "move from Inspector Bediako to Kunkum Bagya," a reference to the country's departure from creating real authentic Ghanaian productions to dubbing foreign films into local languages. Many listeners thought M.anifest had used the rap beef with Sarkodie to hype his own upcoming album, Nowhere Cool which dropped a few months later.
On July 14, 2016, M.anifest dropped another single called 100% which some took as a continuation of his conflict with Sarkodie. Though he denied it, many caught the part where he said, "You dey beef with uh, nah I'm chilling." 100% featured and was an instant hit. It's groovy rhythm and infectious hook was a departure from M.anifest's more thoughtful singles and elaborate verses. Despite its simplicity, M.anifest still managed to enrich his lines by using alternating antonyms in his verses. "I'm an expensive guy, you want cheap side/ can't strong arm me with a weak vibe/ if I decide to let the beat ride, it's a major move to over the minor dudes/Everyday some hater dey write love song..." Unlike most of M.anifest's songs, 100% was a banger of a song that didn't require much analysis to understand. Worlasi echoed the sentiment in the bridge of the song when he said: "Normally, some deep things/ but now, we dey ease things/ me den M.anifest 'bout to move things/ raise things y'all n-word better rethink."
On September 6, 2016, M.anifest dropped the Nowhere Cool album trailer on YouTube, following up with the releases of both B.E.A.R. and Sugar as lead singles. Nowhere Cool officially launched on September 8, 2020 to positive reviews. It had a rich roster of local and international artistes including Ghana's Worlasi and Cina Soul, as well as South Africa's Tumi Molekane and Nomisupasta. Dex Kwasi was tapped for Palm Wine & Whisky while Nigeria's Brymo featured on Sugar and Good Bye. Paapa whom M.anifest featured on Right Here off his Apae: the Price of Free EP album, also featured on Ozymandias.
The Nowhere Cool project is a conceptual album. The album opens with a titular track, Nowhere Cool, which talks about the uncertainty of being a creative in Ghana. On Good Bye, the album's final track, M.anifest and Brymo take turns to sing about the loss of a loved one, signified by the fact that the album is now out of their hands and in the care of their fans.
Between the two tracks, the album is filled with songs that talk about the invisible man and his struggles (Invisible) and the aspirations of a poor man (Rich People Problems). Despite the verses about human struggles, Nowhere Cool includes the promise of a brighter end, which is captured on Now Here Cool, an anagram to the album title.
M.anifest has described Nowhere Cool as his best project yet. Its title came from a short story of the same name by foremost Ghanaian author and poet, Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo. On Now Here Cool, she is heard reciting a piece from the same story:
"Nowhere cool sister, ain’t nowhere cool. Therefore let me hide here among the thorns while I dine on wild desert green. And if they should ask you of me, tell them the name of the game was life, and I never learnt the rules."
- Songwriter of the Year (2008) - City Pages
- Minnesota Emerging composer Award (MECA) (2010) - American Composers Forum
- Best Hip-Hop Video - 4syte Music Video Awards
- Hip-Hop Song of the Year (2013) - Ghana Music Awards
- Best Rapper of the year (2013) - Ghana Music Award
- Best Special Effects Video (2016) - 4syte Music Video Awards
- Best Individual Style (2016) - Glitz Style Awards
- Hip-Hop song of the year (2017) - Ghana Music Awards
- Best Rapper of the Year (2017)- Ghana Music Awards
- Midem Best Artist (2017)- International Midem Awards, France
- Best artiste in African Hip Hop award (AFRIMA 2018)
- Known to his fans as the Greatest Rapper of All Time
- Manifestations (2007)
- The Birds and the Beats (Free Mixtape, 2009)
- Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America (2011)
- Apae: the price of free EP (2013)
- Nowhere Cool (2016)
- The Gamble EP (2019)
- "Babylon Breakdown" (2007)
- "Gentleman" (2007)
- "Coming to America" (2011)
- "Suffer" (2011)
- "Asa" feat. Efya (2012)
- "Makaa Maka" (2012)
- "Blue (Chale What Dey Happen)" (2012)
- "Ebei" (2013)
- "Mind Games" (2013)
- "Someway Bi" (2013)
- "Jigah" feat. HHP (2014)
- "No Shortcut to Heaven" feat. Obrafour (2014)
- "W'ani Aba" (feat. Bisa Kdei)
- "Forget Dem" (2015)
- "god MC" (2016)
- "100%" (2016)
- "Sugar" feat Brymo (2016)
- "Do My Own" feat bigBen (2017)
- "Me ne woa" feat King Promise (2017)
- "Azumah Nelson Flow" (2017)
- Be my woman feat M.I Casa (2017)
- "Don’t Follow Me" feat. Bayku & Yaa Pono (2018)
- "Okay" feat.
- Feels feat Kwesi Arthur
- Rapper 101
- Big Mad feat. Simi
- "Rapper 101 (Prod. by MikeMillzOnEm)" (2019)
- "No Long Talk (Prod. by MikeMillzOnEm)" (2020)
- "Camp Mulla" feat. M.anifest - All in (2013)
- "E.L." feat. M.anifest - Hallelujah (2013)
- "Lyricalwaanzam" feat. M.anifest - For sheygey reasons (2013)
- "Bodi" feat. M.anifest & Team Dharma - Hercules (2013)
- "Kindness" feat. M.anifest - 8th Wonder (2014)
- "Proverb" feat. M.anifest - Proverb's Manifest (2014)
- "Dee Moneey" feat. M.anifest, Ice Prince, Paedae(R2bees), JTown, Reminisce - Finish Line (Remix) (2014)
- "Sedem" feat. M.anifest - Falling in Love(2014)
- "Obrafour" ft. M.anifest - Odasani (2014)
- "Sarkodie" ft. M.anifest - Brown Paper Bag (2020)
- A.R.M (Budo, Krudid, M.anifest) ft Brother Ali - Heaven Only Knows (2009)
- S&M (Sarah White & M.anifest) - Losing My Religion (2010)
- A.R.M (Budo, Krudid, M.anifest) - Two Africans and a Jew EP (2011)
- Burna Boy ft M.anifest - Another Story (African Giant, 2019)
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- "Damon Albarn, Flea, Tony Allen share more details of Rocket Juice and the Moon".
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- "The sound of Africa in 2015". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
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- Toledo, Manuel (2012-09-09). "BBC News - The Africa Express rolls into London". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
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- Sedode, Pilot (2019-12-18). "#Manifestivities19: Check Out The Artistes Who Will Perform At The Event". Kuulpeeps - Ghana Campus News and Lifestyle Site by Students. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
- "#BrownPaperBag: Where Sarkodie and M.anifest Fail Us". Proudly Ghanaian! | Enews. 2020-06-22. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
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