“So that we know that we, too, are somebody.”
Ghanaian artist M.anifest is more than a rapper. As he will tell you, he is an artist with a broad vision for himself and his audience as evidenced in his latest album, Nowhere Cool. M.anifest left the capital city of Accra when he was eighteen and spent a decade living in Minneapolis, Minnesota; it was there he earned an economics degree and worked briefly in the nonprofit sector before choosing to pursue music.
His 2011 album, Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America, which explores some of his experiences during this decade, is easily relatable for many in the diaspora. M.anifest, who describes his move back to Accra four years ago as “an act of possession,” continues to make popular music that offers searing social commentary. He has worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz, South Africa’s ProVerb, and Kenya’s Camp Mullah and has played shows from Serbia to Geneva to South Africa. In a cross-continental interview, the artist and I talk America, music, identity and avocados.