Originally from Ghana, Manu Crooks moved to Sydney, Australia shortly before high school where he set about growing his musical career. Faced with the unique set of cultural, linguistic, and mental challenges that come with moving from one continent to another, Manu has come out of his youth as an inventive and exciting talent.
Manu’s ability and drive gained him notoriety, and he quickly became a standout figure in the Australian hip-hop scene. More than just his fellow countrymen began to tune into him; Crooks linked up with Stormzy, YG, and Danny Brown when their tours hit Australia, opening shows and exchanging notes with all of them. With experience, raw energy, and an eye catching single “Ridin’” under his belt, Manu has built up to his debut EP titled mood forever, which is unsurprisingly a hit.
Manu teams up with producers Miracle and DOPAM!NE on the six-track EP. He leads with “Day Ones,” an 808-heavy thank you to his long-time fans. For the quintessential Manu Crooks tune, he combines his impressive lyricism with stellar production and lets the track grow into a life of its own. Fellow Aussie vocalist JOY links up with Manu on “Touchdown,” a slower, more broken down track that bears a different side of Manu and his skill set. The hooks on “Romeo” and “All the Way” are of a quality that few could expect from such a young artist. Manu’s hit single “Ridin’,” a cornerstone of the album, gave listeners a taste of how clean Manu is with musical motifs—mood forever is more convincing evidence of how cold he can be.
The production is a stand out feature on the project. Miracle and DOPAM!NE work well together to create swirling beats that wax and wane, allowing Crooks to weave his vocals within each song. While both the vocals and instrumentals could stand alone, they merge to push each other further. The result is the cohesive and sleek sound that Manu has been cultivating since long before the EP.
Manu is more than capable of letting his bars speak for themselves. Songs like “Under Pressure” feature verses of lyrical onslaught that showcase his pen game. Perhaps as a result of his multilingual background, however, Manu is strongest when he is able to shape his bars with the instrumentals. He has a striking ability to know when to attack the beat and when to lean into it. “Ridin’” is perhaps the most succinct example of this off the EP, but each song makes a different case for Manu’s skill set.
With the hopes of a continent on his shoulders, Manu and his debut delivered in a big way. Already with some big shows and hit songs under his belt, Manu will look at the EP as another success to build on as he continues his grind. Stream mood forever below.