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The Toronto-bred emcee Manafest is breaking molds with a style unique to him, effectively blurring the line between hard-hitting hip hop and edgy rock Manafest came onto the radar suddenly with his debut EP “Misled Youth”, and is now is in the lime-light with his praised LP “My Own Thing”. Manfest’s live performances are extremely powerful, armed with the scratches and cuts from DJ Versatile, the performances are simply magnetic to the truest hip-hopper or the punkest rocker.


You were called Speedy at one time, what made you change your name to Manafest?


Speedy was a nickname I was given from skateboarding and hanging out with my friends at high school.   When I started doing my own solo stuff that’s when the Manafest thing came about, but a lot of people still call me Speedy.  Manafest to me means shining light in the dark and expose what can’t be seen by natural eyes.  I try to do that with my music when talking about subjects tries to flip it in a way someone hasn’t heard it.


What influenced you to become an emcee?


One summer I hurt my foot skating, and I was sitting at home for a couple of months doing nothing.  I was chilling with some guy’s who rapped at the time, and they asked me to hype them up in concerts.  Eventually I started writing my own stuff, and than the rest his history. Of course this is something that I never would of thought I would see myself doing, it’s amazing how God works when your not trying to force something to happen.


Tell me about your LP My Own Thing.


The album was put together over about a 2 year span.  We released it last November 2003.  There’s a variety of producers on the record, which flips up the sound and the vibe of the cd, but maintains consistency.  I’ve also got a few rock/rap tracks on there to show a different style and to cross over to that genre of music.  It was recorded over a long period of time so I grew in my music through out the process. Oh yeah you can pick it up at www.cdbaby.com/manafest2


You are also a skateboarder, how did you get into skating?


Skateboarding has been a part of my life forever now it seems.  My cousin got me into it when I was 14, and have been doing it ever since.  Skateboarding just like hip-hop has it’s own unique culture.  It kept me out of trouble when I was younger, and now has just become a lifestyle.  I ride for Circa Foot wear and Zero skateboards they have been supportive hooking me up with gear.


How did you hook up with Tooth and Nail Records?


Trevor from Thousand Foot Krutch gave my project “My Own Thing” to T & N, and they loved it right off the top.  We’re still working out the final details with paper work and junk, but it’s pretty much solidified.  I recorded a new track with Trevor which is going to be released on the album once everything is sealed with T & N.


Your success seems overnight, what projects did you do before debut EP Misled Youth?


Overnight eh…  That’s funny I wish it was overnight, I was on a couple of mix tapes previously before the EP, and recorded some songs with my old group which never were released.  Well that’s not entirely true, “Child’s a light” off the new record was an Under One King track that we decided to put on.  There is so much involved in being an artist, the work you have to put in never stops. It’s totally worth it and I love it.  No matter how far you get, there always seems to be little more to learn or another step to take.


Your musical style is different then many of the emcees out, how would you describe your music?


I think the fact that I mix up the rock rap genre in my music switches it up a bit and makes me stand out more, but also because I do both genres with quality.  I’m not a battle emcee or write a lot of punch lines, but I try to write stuff that’s real emotional or stuff I’ve experienced.  That’s the biggest struggle for an artist is to set your self apart, but you always have to re-create yourself and dig for something deeper.


How did you hook up with other Toronto natives Thousand Foot Krutch?


We met at their CD release party when they just signed to DJ Dove’s label.  We were one of the opening acts for them that night and that was the first time we met.  Those guy’s are doing really well make sure you pickup there album “Phenomenon” its dope.


What can we look forward to in the near future from Manafest?


I’m going to be touring doing as many shows as possible this year.  We are doing a tour of BC this September.  We also just shot a music video for “What I got to Say”, and we’ll probably be doing another one shortly.  Other than that just in the lab making more music, and developing the skills.


Any last words?


Yeah big up my boys Relic, Nifty, Stacey, Promise, Lokey and all my family from Toronto.  To all the artists/musicians making music, keep doing your thing. Jesus is Lord, Peace >>>


For more information on Manafest check out http://www.manafest.ca


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