Manu Crooks has collaborated with BLESSED on the song ‘Top’, which will appear on his upcoming EP ‘MFII’ – watch the high-octane music video, premiering exclusively at NME today.
The video, directed by Maddy King, leans into the speed metaphors on ‘Top’, and is filled with scenes of Manu zooming down a tunnel with the top down and navigating a city at night with BLESSED – juxtaposed with a shot of the rapper as the last man standing in an fiery, volcanic wasteland. The thrilling clip was shot in central Sydney and the outskirts, including the Blue Mountains and Quarry.
Produced by Chandler Jewels, ‘Top’ is Manu’s latest release of 2020 following ‘Killing Me Softly’ and ‘Bastards’. It will appear on the EP ‘MFII’, which stands for ‘Mood Forever II’, marking the project as a sequel to his 2017 breakthrough ‘Mood Forever’.
Watch the video for ‘Top’ and read on for NME’s chat with Manu Crooks about working with BLESSED, how he’s grown since ‘Mood Forever’ and what fans can expect from ‘MFII’.
Congrats on the new song with BLESSED. We know you’ve collaborated before, but how did you end up working together on this particular track ‘Top’?
Been a while since we got in the studio together & our boy Dwight had T’d up a late night session with Chandler (producer of the record) & BLESSED, I happen to FaceTime BLESSED, went over shortly after and we whipped up ‘TOP’.
Both you and BLESSED are Ghanaian-Australian artists forging your own paths in hip-hop here. Is this shared heritage something you’ve bonded over?
For sure, we’ve had bare convos about classic GH [Ghanaian] tunes been played around the crib growing up, how to incorporate some of those into our own music, and wanting to take trips back to the motherland together.
It’s been three years since ‘Mood Forever’, and you’ve stayed busy with new songs since. What’s the biggest point of growth for you since that 2017 project?
Gotta be touring for me, esp coming from this side of the world where it’s not the norm for the kids to be pursuing that sorta path. I was able to break that and inspire a whole generation to sort of step out their comfort zone and go for it!
Your previous single ‘Killing Me Softly’ was inspired by the potential you saw in Australian hip-hop. What are some scenes or artists you’re particularly excited by?
Aus rap scene = massive potential! Aus hip hop artist, let’s get this shmoney!!! As a scene we’ve got a long way to go, & I feel we gotta have a lot of things in place to be thriving! But being smart can fast track a lot of things & we will be able to have something we can proudly say it’s our own. I believe there’s a coupla solid contenders I won’t mention, but if I’ve worked with ya, it only means that I believe you’re one of them!
You’ll be dropping ‘MFII’ next year. Where do you envision this project taking you and your career?
I don’t know, what I do know is that I got bare bangers on this from start to finish! Excited for people to hear the dynamics in the new music!