Singer/rapper/songwriter/author/skater Manafest pushes musical envelopes, creating an uplifting, seamless blur between the spectrums of rap, hip-hop, rock and pop while selling 300,000-plus albums, playing more than 1,000 events logged over four continents and garnering four Juno and five GMA Dove Award nominations along with nine GMA Canada Covenant Awards. After seven albums in the major label system, and anchored by a sea of tastemaking fans that fully funded his current PledgeMusic campaign, Manafest will return to his indie roots for his next groundbreaking album, Reborn, releasing Oct. 2 through The Fuel Music.
Inspired by a full-circle season that mirrors the hunger and predominant hip-hop flavors accompanying this versatile artist’s self-released debut a dozen years ago, Reborn is part of a creative surge that’s been churning in the performer’s mind for quite awhile.
“I’ve always rapped, even on the rock stuff, but I’ve wanted to do a more hip-hop influenced record for a long time,” says Manafest. “I started thinking about that just after Fighter came out, which was my second kind of more real rock record like The Chase, and then last year’s The Moment was a bit of a hybrid record. For Reborn, I decided to go back to hip-hop, but even the way I do hip-hop isn’t the traditional ‘boom, bap,’ stuff, so I don’t think the fans who like more of the rock stuff will be disappointed.
“The whole concept of my faith is always all about being reborn and starting anew,” continues Manafest. “I’ve done this for a long time, but at times I feel reborn because I’m basically starting over. And I say that as someone who’s not jaded or broke, but as someone who’s happy and stoked. I still have lots to say and lots to create.”
Joining Manafest in the process of creating Reborn are producers Seth Mosley (Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Sanctus Real) and Joel Bruyere (Thousand Foot Krutch), along with several eclectic guest performers. The signature rock vocals of longtime Manafest collaborator Trevor McNevan (Thousand Foot Krutch) lifts the chorus in “Shine,” a song about living each day to maximum capacity and ‘beaming your light’ along the way. Rappers Tedashii and Shonlock vibe alongside Manafest on “I Have A Dream,” a track that carries on the message of peace and unity that Martin Luther King, Jr. began. Former Family Force 5 lead vocalist Soul Glow Activatur (Solomon Olds) joins Manafest on the rhythmic party rocker “Stick To Your Gunz,” an all-out anthem for surviving the struggle and never going down for the count.
The album also features musicians like guitarist Jerry McPherson (Jewel, The Neville Brothers) and drummer Miles McPherson (Paramore), whose pop/punk rhythms propel lead single and video “Let You Drive.” The song is Most Added this week at Christian Hits radio and is about taking your hands off the wheel and knowing that God’s got everything under control.
That theme carries over into the hip-hop centric album’s title track, which is sort of a “Manafest meets Johnny Cash and Mumford & Sons” eclectic offering. (See lyric video at http://youtu.be/Gzsysud-fbA.)