What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is rapper, MANNJ. MANNJ reps Houstonand his southern trap style paints a vivid narrative of his life.We can definitely see MANNJ performing on major stages all over the world. The rising MC has been on our radar for a while so we had to tap in with him. Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up, MANN J. Your music is dope! When did you start making music?
MANNJ: I started in music as a freestyler/battle rapper when I was like 14 or 15. I've been making music like recording my own original stuff since I was 17. But I didn't start taking it super serious until I was like 22 finna be 23. Before then it was just another hustle I had in a big bag of hustles I have. Me being 24 now this is probably the most serious I've taken my career in music up to this point, with me really developing my business correctly finally and really giving literally everything I got every time.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! What city do you represent?
MANNJ: Houston, Texas. Northeast side born and bread.
Westleaf Staff: Shout out to Houston! So how did you create your stage name?
MANNJ: It's funny! Don't judge me for this. But my name is an acronym Me, All, N, Now. And the first initial of my first name Jason. It sounds backwards at first before you get used to it, but at the same time it's hard to forget. I came up with my name when I was first battling years and years ago, and I just never changed it even when I transitioned into being a different type of artist because it works. It's unique, and I promise it ain't another me on this Earth.
Westleaf Staff: That's a dope name change. So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
MANNJ: I grew up around music, all types of music. I always had an interest whether it was free styling over old beats with my brother riding in the car, or my mama and old school classics. Or me forming like a lil rap group with some of my old friends and we'd like write lyrics on other people's beats. Music has always been there. And when I developed my own style musically of what I liked. Music really helped me through a lot, so I've just been in it ever since.
Westleaf Staff: Cool! Stay on your grind bro. So who is your biggest Musical influence?
MANNJ: I have a few that definitely impacted me starting, and still impact me today as I continue to develop and work on my versatility as an artist. Lil' Wayne, UGK, Young Dolph, Three Six Mafia, Outkast, Gucci Mane, T.I., 2 Chainz. I'd say those are my biggest influences.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! I feel that. That's a unique perspective. What's been the defining moment in your music career thus far?
MANNJ: I've had a few defining moments. What I would say my biggest/most recent moment is getting signed to my first full major distribution deal. Before I had a single distribution and marketing deal before with someone else, but the one I just got into this past September is a full one that I can do whatever I want in. Plus I've never received the type of support I'm receiving now so it's just helping with a lot.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! Congrats on the deal. So what makes you a unique artist?
MANNJ: I'm not afraid to say what I want or what's on my mind. A lot of rappers and just artists in general are and they hold back or water it down. Me, I'm not doing that and I will NEVER do that. I'm coming in hard, and I'm coming as trill as possible every time. That's me. That's what supporters know me for, and love me for. The way I do it is a change of pace from majority of the rest of the industry right now.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! So what does art mean to you?
MANNJ: Art means expression to me. That's entirely what art is. Art is an opportunity to get whatever you're feeling in your head, in your heart, or wherever you're feeling it in your body out of you.
Westleaf Staff: That's deep! Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
MANNJ: I see my career developing into bigger stages, bigger projects, bigger deals, bigger everything. I see it, I know It's attainable, and I know how to get it. I just have to do what I know to do. I also see my label Imperial Committee Entertainment growing with more artists committed to doing everything I'm doing and then some. Maybe get more into acting because I have a small background in that too. I want to do whatever I want to be honest. Whatever come in my head ima find a way to make that happen.
Westleaf Staff: I wish you much success! Before we go, describe music in three words.
MANNJ: Expression, Release, Relief.