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M.anifest's '10 Things I Love About Ghana'

M.anifest lists his ten favorite things about Ghana, including food, films and even bold nicknames, ahead of his "Forget Dem" video release.


Ghanaian rapper M.anifest seamlessly blends guitar lines warm highlife guitars, multilingual raps and 808 drums in "Forget Dem." The soundscapes of his latest single dutifully showcase the MC's marriage of inventive wordplay, vim and an all-around Accra flavor. Following his cross-continental style, M.anifest's lighthearted music video for the Killbeatz-produced single was shot in in Cape Town, South Africa. It features scenes of M.anifest (hardly) working at a food stand and barbershop, as well as a cameo from Young Fathers. 

Ahead of the release, we asked the Accra-repping MC to list his ten favorite things about Ghana. M.anifest came back with a mixed bag of choices, from a number of culinary dishes to Ghanaian films and, even, bold nicknames. Read M.anifest's complete list and watch his latest video for "Forget Dem," directed by Garth Von Glehn for Film Fam, below. Follow and tweet at @okayafrica with #ForgetDem for a chance  to win the Dedo Azu-designed red jacket M.anifest wears in the video (seen above).

1. Shitɔ (Shitor)

One of the greatest Ghanaian inventions ever. Joy in a jar. Better than Sriracha, Tabasco and all of their cohorts.

2. Ghanaian movies

Just because they never end with part 1 or 2. At least 4 to 6 parts minimum. I rarely watch them but the trailers give me life.

3. Big breakfast for champions

Breakfast can typically be waakye (rice and beans), red-red (gari & beans), kenkey, and fufu for the starch die hards.

4. When it rains...

When it rains it's an unspoken holiday. Your workers might not show up. People coming to meetings on time is out of the question. Rain is our snowstorm, our earthquake, our great escape from work.

5. Kente

I don't really love kente. I get tired of it being overused. I just love the fact that like Adinkra symbols it's everywhere in the world and we invented it. *beats on chest*

6. News read in local languages

We have a penchant for drama. When I hear the news in local dialects it makes Shakespearean tragedies pale in comparison. We don't read the news, we make stories out of news. It's inspiring for my music.

7. Grilled tilapia

How food so gawdly and tasty can be everywhere is a mysterious pleasure. Tilapia and banku over jollof, sue me.

8. Irreverent nicknames for people and places.

We named a dance alkayida. We nickname our friends, Osama, Saddam, and ap3tw3 (a womaniser). And yes there is an area in Accra called Sodom and Gomorrah.

9. Everyone is into politics and football

Apathy is not a luxury we can afford in these parts. Our voter turnout is incredibly high, and for good or for worse everyone believes they know the right way the country should be run.

10. Candle light dinner... sponsored by ECG

So the term in Ghana for load shedding is dumsor. Nothing funny about it except the jokes we make on social media. Dumsor jokes are irresistible because of how badly we all feel the pain. So no there isn't a romantic angle to dumsor, but it's an indication of our wicked sense of humor.

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(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Ethic's Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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