M.anifest - the Birds and the Beats Liner Notes
1. Born Free ft. Sarah White (Prod. Budo)
how this eventually came out is a tribute to patience and the competence of my co-conspirators. Wrote this intro in 2005 to my favorite P funk song. I let it marinate till '09. Sent Budo my vocals and he crafted a beast of a beat around it. I re-recorded, Sarah did some amazing backups which i loved so much i used as the main vocals. My voice and hers blend so well together especially on the lows- at times u don't know who's singing the low melody. Look out for our S&M project.
2.How I Used to be (prod. Budo)
If you listened to my first record, manifestations, you can easily tell I'm heavily inspired by Fela Kuti. As famous as this sample of his is, Budo definitely killed it with the additional horns he layered. Plus the groove bumps like acne! It also happens to be the first song i did with ultra-talented Budo since i met him - circa March '08. Mandi is a great co-conspirator. She's always so patient with me as i create quirky hooks, and she eventually adds her own sultry creativity to it. Much love sistren.
3.Golly Gosh (Prod. G Mo)
G Mo is the best producer you only just heard of! 17 years old he produced a 1/3 of my first album when he was between the ages of 13 and 14! he's the lebron of this art form. He made this beat live @ at a big quarters cd release so effortlessly. His talent is scary and exciting to watch evolve! He's in Atlanta competing @ the Red Bull Big Tune National finals as i write this. This track is basically me lyrically stunting on fools to elicit a response such as the title. Just cause i have meaningful content doesn't mean my skills ain't unfuckwittable chale.
4.Get Away (Shafiq-Husayn Re-fix)
O-D put me onto Sa-Ra. Them dudes are dope and dope chale. Check for them. A friend recently hipped me to the Shafiq Husayn(part of Sa-Ra) solo album, Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka, which absolutely affected me deeply. Spiritual Soul! I got onto pro-tools and committed a sacrilegious act: looped different parts of one of his songs to make a beat so i could vent. A friend had just called me in the custody of immigration too so i needed this for catharsis.
5.2nd Coming PSA (Prod. Katrah-Quey)
Katrah-Quey - another Ultra talented part of the 4shades production collective. They are the backbone of the music I've been pumping to y'all. He's the most likely to make a beat that makes you wide-eyed wondering how he thought to try that! His beat making style is daring, organically unique, and I'm always sure he won't conform to whatever bullshit is poppin' @ the moment. He's G Mo's uncle as well. Runs in the family! The way he flipped this Manu Di..(well nevermind)...it bangs so hard! First used it @ a show at which i opened up for K'naan. worked
6.Hubris (Prod. M. & Budo)
Donny Hathaway loop meets live horns and synths by Budo, meets stream of consciousness from yours truly. We did this on Halloween, a day or so after the mpls A.R.M. Listening party which was very well received. Inspiration and Jack Daniels get recognition for being part of the process. I do tribal soulful music. Songs like this with congas, horns, and synths – i could live on. Shouts to Budo and all those Africans @ Kilimanjaro partying it up below the studio.
7.Still Hungry (Prod. G Mo)
when i. You're low on resources, ii. your last album was released 2 years ago, iii. you're self employed, however i. you're rich in ideas ii. and music - u end up writing a song like this. G Mo is like a one-man-band with some of his beats. He does non-sampled beats just as good as sampled ones. Kid is a beast. Boom bam.
8.Walk Away ft. Sarah White (Prod. Dee)
Every time i go to Ghana there are some folks i make sure to get up with cause I'm inspired by their boundless creativity. Dee is one of them. We sat in Reggie Rockstone's studio whiles he and M.A (2 of the best prod in Ghana) hit me with dope beat after dope beat. This one tickled my fancy and i ended up writing one of the hooks I'm most proud of. Song's also extra special cause 'twas the first time Sarah and i had a creative collision ... and it was magic. She's extra talented and sultry... and oh don't sleep on her emceeing skills.
9.My Lady Oh (Prod. G Mo)
In high school chemistry, we were taught all these mind-numbing and complex formulas and derivations, but none can aptly help us figure out the chemistry between women and men. Bet. If you've ever been in a serious relationship, not just casual “situationships,” this song will register. Dodi Phy is easily top 5 emcees in MN without a doubt – his parents are from Sierra Leone. He's made me re-write verses on a couple of occasions. The hook is loosely in pidgin english - my west Africans should dig it.
10.I love it PSA (Prod. G Mo)
Another G Mo gem! I begun this joint and never really got to finishing it tho i had a second verse to it. Budo helped me executive produce this project and he suggested that we make this a second short song/PSA on the album. It's a very self-explanatory joint: sh*t's not rosy and the struggle is tasking... but i'd have it no other way! pow.
11.just like a lion (Prod. Budo)
stadium status right here! one of those songs that made me knock myself in the head and ask if i was really giving this out free! Budo and I work well with rudiments. He's a dope instrumentalist, and his playing ability stunts on most of the producers out there. Hooks are one of my strongest musical attributes. I go full throttle, soul first, with hooks and Budo always ups the ante on how epic sounding it all is after we are finished with it! Boom bam chale.
12.Pardon Me (Prod. O-D)
i can make joints like this all day. Introspection mixed with splashes of social commentary is my bread and butter. O-D has been a very good friend since college. He is responsible for a good amount of my musical growth (and vice versa) cause we've been on this journey together since day 1! He's a quiet assassin on the beats! He makes some of the most soulful and monstrous beats on the planet. We were roommates for a minute and this is one of those joints where i was writing as he was banging on the mpc and doing his thug thizzle in logic. My half-frican brother with roots in the Seychelles – an African country most know nada about. Google it! He's the final part of 4shades collective.
13.Ghana, 52 (Prod. Budo)
March 6th 1957, Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, ushered us into a new era of self-government. Bye-bye queen, bye-bye absentee British landlords. Every year we make merry on this day back home. Truth is, we have little to celebrate and a lot more to reflect on since our leaders have failed us since '57 and keep throwing dirt in our eyes. This is one of those joints where i show my ambivalent feelings towards such celebrations. On one hand its good to remember those that fought for us to be free, on the other its harmful to act as if everything is heavenly now that the British packed up and left. Budo does his thug thizzle on the instrumentation for this beat!
14.The birds and the beats (Prod. Weedy of 40 winks)
I have to credit weedy of 40 Winks cause he titled this beat “the birds and the beats” and sparked the idea for the album. 40 winks is a dope instrumental group from Belgium: consisting of Padmo' and Weedy. I love their sound so much! We have a free EP out there - Google it!. My musical approach is on some global-express-crossing-borders type thang. And my work with 40 winks, is a reflection of that.
15.Slow Your Roll (Prod. O-D)
Krukid and I are here to carry on tradition. Hes one of my favorite rappers easily – no jokes! Together with Budo, we have a frightfully potent triage called A.R.M. that I'm deeply enchanted with. It begun with this song which was prophetically the first song i ever did with Krukid. In his verse he prophetically and unknowingly proclaimed “This is the African Rebel Movement.” In the beginning was the word right? O-D is killing it with this beat too! Whoa. He lost the original session files :( when someone stole his laptop. Mr thief thief, we see you oh. Thumbs down to crack heads breaking into cars in broad day light.
16.D'angelo Said (Africa Re-fix)
The weight of having talent and meaningful songs in a world sometimes so cold and superficial can torment a tortured soul. D'angelo remains one of the most inspiring musicians of our generation, and hopefully he forgives me for this eh. But i couldn't find a more fitting way to cap off this album. Every time i listen to voodoo i can't wait till when i can say “Africa is my descent!” I'm unapologetically Ghanaian, and so African that at the slightest provocation i burst into vocal mannerisms – eish chale!. I had to loop parts of “Africa” and commit one final sacrilegious act.