M.anifest has proven to be, as Myers would put it, “the model rapper…” until you get into his lyrics. It is perhaps the reason why the title to this post should have read: “Ronaldo and Messi, Manifest and the rest.” By Ronaldo, I do not mean the real Ronaldo (go figure!).
The Portuguese legend has had a reputation for being self-centred, the sun within a solar system. His celebrations and their lack thereof have been postured to make him the main man regardless of what others do in the team, while Messi, on the other hand, is the good guy. But of course, we all know that there is no such thing as a good blond genius. Being quiet as he is, and being as effective in his game as to make one of the great coaching minds almost useless without him, the Barca legend conceals his passive aggression with nimble touches and record-breaking performances. He silently pushed the great Zlatan out of the Barca team, (justified, of course) and has cemented himself as arguably the greatest player of all time.
In much similar ways, M Digidy, the soft-spoken ‘economist’, laces acid vocabulary with a quiet demeanour. He throws shots at others, directly, yet you listen to his songs and all you can think of is how he manages such dexterity with the queen’s language. Few rappers would court such trouble as to mention judge Derry by name, refer to someone’s music as crap, and still leave you wondering what it means to be “…the man for so long had you questioning your gender.”
Forget that he calls whatever happened between him and Sarkodie a matter of ‘philosophical differences,” or that he sings on Keep Shinning thus, “See me in my best light; whee enfami ho.” Forget that he has called himself Ghana’s rap Moses, a description reserved for one who deems himself a saviour of the masses, the one with a golden staff, bars heavy on shots and so many shades between black and grey. There are no whites to this guy. The obvious fact is: there can’t be a legend without a villain, and the former Minnesota underground rapper goes on to declare himself the only quantifiable factor on the rap scene. “Only two rappers in Ghana: M.anifest and the rest.” Whoever you are out there, whether EL, aka King Without a Crown, or King Sark, aka I am feeling Bossy, ska Kanta Commando, the son of Tsikata no dey see you sef.
“Only five-ten, but the flow be tee taller.” Tyrion Lannister, y’all! Small, misunderstood, looked down upon by those who have made themselves kings by virtue of time and titles, but the Half-Man’s Song speaks of guile and precision; in the twist of his words, he cuts deeper than bear claws. You might not call him a genius, but what Amet does is not by accident. He spends time mastering his craft like a ninja whetting his daggers. He confesses to being a writer long before he took music as a profession, and it is evident in the sort of lines he creates and the songwriter award he won on his debut. He avoids cliches by taking your expectations and spinning them on their heads.
He is especially blunt on the the Nowhere Cool album than he has ever been. From the full-throttle Bear to bad boy anthem on Cupid’s Broken Bow, King Dot relates his position with pin-point coordinates. Though not worried about whatever shots would be fired at him – give him advice and he might heed it, or not – the descriptions he gives himself and his music are a painting of the others rather than himself: a way of rubbing paint on the dark side so that there is a shape that is formed in the end, a faceless image with uniquely undefined features.
M.anifest is an ideologue, the type of character who would make for a perfect leader in a communist party. If he were on the other side of the Cold War, he would stick to the letter and freeze Cuba and all those rappers out a million times over. Ask him about it and he would say, “We are having a conversation.”
More poet than singer, more Shakespeare than Alan Poe…no, godMc is not a ‘good boy’. (What a boring personality it would have made him.) There is no such thing among rappers, not Kendrick Lamar, aka K Dot, and certainly not Amet, aka M Dot. He has brazen wits and sinister jabs. If his music is not to your liking, well, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beer-holder.”
Note: This was first posted on my old blog, Ghana Motifs.