Award-winning Ghanaian rap artist and musician M.ANIFEST has released his highly anticipated fifth studio album Madina To The Universe (MTTU), bolstered by a series of lead singles unveiled over the summer, including ‘Scorpio Flow’, ‘La Vida’, the Juls-produced ‘Confusion’ and ‘No Fear’ featuring Vic Mensa, that have seen the Ghanaian star garner further international acclaim from the likes of Complex, Earmilk, Crack Magazine, The Native, Flaunt Magazine, OkayAfrica, Nataal and PAM Magazine, among others. He spoke with Wonderland Magazine about the album and much more.
With frequent collaborators such as MikeMillzOn’Em (Busta Rhymes, Sarkodie, DarkoVibes), Drvmroll (Burna Boy, Frisco, Sway DaSafo) and Rvdical The Kid (Tems, Amaarae, Kojey Radical) handling majority of the production on the album, and guest appearances from the likes of Adekunle Gold, LADIPOE, Tiggs Da Author, Patoranking and Vic Mensa, Madina To The Universe (MTTU) simply reveals M.anifest at his very best. Driven by captivating lyricism and rich global sounds, the album is bold, transformative, and makes for his most creative and expansive body of work yet.
From the opening statement of intent ‘MTTU’, which sets the tone for the rest of the project, the highlife-influenced ‘Confusion’ about the beautiful chaos of living in Accra, and the head-bopping chest-thumping rap track ‘Scorpio Flow’, to the poignant ‘Best For You’, which sees M.anifest and LADIPOE penning love letters to their mothers, the vulnerable yet celebratory ‘Weeping Clouds’, and the unapologetic love song and future wedding classic ‘Game Over’ with Adekunle Gold, Madina To The Universe makes for a glorious and enthralling listening experience from start to finish.
Not only is Madina To The Universe a resounding body of work that will be met by rave reviews from fans and critics alike, the 15-track album is also a genre-blending afrofusion masterclass from M.anifest, as he excellently merges the Ghanaian jama soundscapes he grew up on, with his hip-hop foundations and modern afrobeats sensibilities to create a project that is truly one-of-one among the current global music landscape. Whether it is ‘Clean And Pure’ with Patoranking or ‘E No Easy’ with Tiggs Da Author or the life-affirming album curtain call ‘Blessings’, M.anifest has put together a collection of songs that will stand its own as one of the best African albums of the year.
An icon with six acclaimed projects, countless awards and over three million fans on social media, M.anifest is one of the most revered figures in African music. Described as one of the foremost rappers on the continent, his musical reach extends well beyond Africa, with collaborations that range from Damon Albarn, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Flea and Erykah Badu and Tiggs Da Author, Kojey Radical and Burna Boy. His fifth studio album Madina To The Universe – stylised as MTTU – arrives on November 18 to further solidify his iconic status within the African music landscape.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the Madina To The Universe (MTTU) album, M.anifest says, “I came into my own artistically on my last full length tape. I was genuinely eager to answer the question ‘what next?’ Truthfully, it’s been noisy in my head sometimes, and my creative output has on occasion lacked the coherence and laser-like focus my vision requires. Amidst the uncertainty that was 2020 I went back to my essence. I began daily sessions on my dining table with a basic recording set-up and a consistent clarity enabled by seclusion. My reflections drowned out the noise and sounds of the panic that gripped the world.
I fell in love with my process, and the music I wrote during this period became the foundations for ‘MTTU’. Madina is my ‘village’ within my city. A formative place for me as a child. Beyond memories, it is where my Mom and Grandma still live, alongside colorful people and places that have shaped the window through which I see the world. This album is a reflection of life’s journey as well as a statement of ambition. The journey to its release has been fraught with last minute challenges. Fortunately, it was better for it. I hope this body of work allows you to see yourself and your universe in ways you haven’t previously, as it has done for me”.
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