I first saw M3NSA perform at a spoken word event in North London, several years ago, and thought this guy is good. Today, I can't get No.1 Mango Street off repeat (no exaggeration, ask my partner)! It's funny, it's funky, it's soulful, it's clever. An eclectic melting pot of Hip-hop, Afro beat, High-Life and soul, the album is an excellent showcase of African ingenuity and, reminds me just why I'm so happy to hail from our colourful continent. I am excited to share with you this interview the Mobo-nominated MC, producer and actor.*
What's your passion?
Food! I like to cook it! and I like to eat it! I love many things but I get bored easily too…But food? Food (cooking it and sampling it) is definitely as fulfilling as being an over imaginative creative! Yes, M3NSA is weird.
What inspired you to be a musician?
I don’t think any real musician ‘becomes’ a musician; you either decide to pursue it completely, or master your musicianship. But I believe it's always in there somewhere. So for me, the inspiration came from me being able to express myself wholly through writing or creating music. And the journeys I made in my mind whilst sat in my little bedroom, with a stereo on my lap, listening to stolen tape cassettes from my brothers’ room. I knew I had to pursue it.
What has been your greatest obstacle/challenge?
I guess we all are our own demons chale – I’m the reason I’m where I am, and also I’m not where I’m supposed to be… If that makes any sense. But I wouldn't say there’s a particular physical entity that's been a hindrance or obstacle in the way of my progress! I Suarez my self!
How have you dealt with/overcome it?
Learning everyday to follow my heart with a sprinkle of tact, poise and reason in everything I do chale. Be it being a creative professional or just the Accra boy walking about. Being honest and complete in everything I do.
What has your greatest achievement been?
I kinda like the result of this album – No.1 Mango Street is a very uncompromising project. I set out to make it really lighthearted and bring along a certain level of quality in the production and, the result has been everything I wanted. I’m quite happy with myself. Though that does not come anywhere close to becoming a father!! ahaha!!
Where will you be in 10 years?
Hopefully relocated to another city where English is not the main language spoken, for my daughter’s sake. And also, still as inspired about everything as I am now! That and good health! This is what’s important to me chale.
How does Africa inspire you?
Wow! Where do I begin? It doesn't take much to realise that everything is coming into the full circle. It's all headed back to where it all began; in Africa.
The Dark Continent is actually the beaming light guiding this godforsaken planet. And we as musicians have a (honorable) duty to represent its greatness! And of course I’m inspired by the women … of Africa (the real truth. Everything else was just a futile attempt to sound intelligent).
Anything else you'd like to share?
Apart from my Facebook link? Umm … well … Michael Jackson is alive and I’m producing his next real album … And everything I touch is a reaffirmation that the African man is the coolest man ever to walk the face of the earth.
Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/year?
Random music videos! Even more random interviews. Random appearances, shows! tours! The FOKN BOIS! And maybe even Coz Ov Moni Part 2!!
Previous M3NSA posts
Win a M3NSA CD!
Thanks to M3NSA and Boda Boda Media, I have two No.1 Mango Street CDs to give away. To enter the draw, leave a comment to this blog post stating the name of the film that M3NSA starred in with Wanlov the Kubolor. Make sure to enter your email address when leaving the comment (it will not be made public but will help me to contact you if you're a winner). Last day to enter: Wednesday 1st June, 2011 – draw will be held the following day.
FOKN Bois artwork by Corey Payne