Blowin’ Up: Getting to know Manu Crook$

If you’ve been anywhere near the music industry over the last few years, you would’ve heard of “the new wave.” This new wave represents the massive shift in the hip hop scene, from “Aussie Hip Hop” to “Hip Hop from Australia.” Gone are the days where Hilltop Hoods and the slew of white male rappers reigned supreme, as a new generation has emerged to shake things up and make their voices heard.

Artists such as SAMPA THE GREATREMIBRIGGS and more were some of the first notable artists to break through with their new sounds that were entirely their own, and simultaneously opened the floodgates for new artists coming through with something to say in their own, unique way.

One such artist that has forged his own path is MANU CROOK$. Coming out of the Western Sydney, his music fits more in the streets of Atlanta than the Sydney suburbs, and yet he possess a flair that makes his music stand out from the rest, rather than another copycat imitator. From the release of his EP, mood forever, to his now legendary live shows that have shared the same stage as the likes of YG and STORMZYManu Crook$ has long been heralded as the next big thing – an overly used cliche that actually holds truth when talking about him. Sharing a studio and regularly collaborating with the likes of DOPAMINEMIRACLE and JOY. among others has forged a collective unit of unstoppable artists, each honing their own music while helping each other to achieve a bigger picture – one of a global sound.

After standout performances at BIGSOUND earlier this year, Manu Crook$ is now set to take to the stage at this year’s The Plot, as well as a few of his own shows to celebrate the release of his EP. We got to know him quickly before he well and truly blows up, which is not a matter of “if” anymore, but “when”.

You’re inspired by the likes of J. Cole, what is it about this music that inspires you and motivates you?

Cole is the truth. His music speaks to a lot of people, including me.

Speaking of inspiration, you’ve also supported the likes of YG, Stormzy – how has it been sharing the stage with these established acts while you were still emerging? Was there anything you took away from these shows to bring into your own?

The energy they brought to every show!

Your live performance has been largely talked about due to your highly infectious energy and the way you can control the crowd to get everyone really into it. Are there any things you set out to do to make it as entertaining and exciting as you do, or is it one of those cases of once you’re out on the stage, you take on a new persona to give it your all?

I get out there and with each song I perform, I try to bring the vibe or energy to the atmosphere, depending on what song it is. If it’s a slow song, I wanna get you in your feels. If its an up-tempo, energetic song then we turn up and things can get rowdy for sure! 

You’ve spoken about how exciting it is that the new wave of hip-hop is making music that can now compete on a world level, how important is it to you to not focus on a local level but to keep your sights on that global sound?

Good music is good music, no matter what genre. I don’t focus on a wave or sound, local or international, I just wanna make heaters/bangers that will last forever!

From working with Dopamine and JOY. to your general community, it seems like Manu Crook$ is a very collaborative project. How important is that collaborative aspect to your music and what do you get from working with others?

Dopamine and JOY. – that’s family. I value their opinion and working with them is always dope. I learn so much by just being in sessions with them.

In saying this though, you’re also a producer yourself. Do you prefer being in control and in the driver’s seat so to speak, than to collab in ways where you might be working with someone you’ve never met in real life working over email?

Sometimes you gotta take the backseat in a session and navigate. It really depends, most of the time, I’m recording by myself over beats Dopamine or Joy or Blessed send me.

You spoke with i-D about how, when you realised this was what you wanted to do, you were in the studio every single day making beats. What was it that made you come to this realisation that, “Hey, this is for me”?

I just love to create, I genuinely enjoy the process and to be able to create and inspire people, motivate people in whatever aspect and so on, that’s crazy to me!

You’re playing a few great shows coming up including The Plot, which is in Parramatta near where you grew up. How important is it to you for events in Sydney to be branching out away from the city to engage with communities like Western Sydney? Do you think it has a special effect on the young community there to motivate them to engage in the culture you’re involved in?

Yes, definitely.. Not many people know I grew up in western Sydney, it’s exciting to be in the city I’m from!

This year was obviously building up to the release of mood forever, but now that’s out and has been doing extremely well, what can we expect next from you?

More music / shows

MANU CROOK‘mood forever’ TOUR
Tix here

NOV 3 – ‘GOOD FRIDAY’ @ JACK RABBIT SLIMS – PERTH *HEADLINE*

NOV 11 – COPRESENTS – RMIT UNIVERSITY, MELBOURNE
With Remi, Slum Sociable, Willaris K and more. 

NOV 18 – THE PLOT FESTIVAL – PARAMATTA PARK, SYDNEY
With Northeast Party House, Confidence Man, Alex The Astronaut and more. 

NOV 24 – THE TBC CLUB – BRISBANE *HEADLINE*
With Travy P, Erik Sanders + guests. 

NOV 26 – ALISON WONDERLAND SCAREHOUSE – LOCATION TBA, BRISBANE
With Alison Wonderland, A$AP Ferg, Lido, Young Franco and more.

DEC 7 – HUDSON BALLROOM  SYDNEY *HEADLINE*
With special guests 

DEC 9 – ALISON WONDERLAND SCAREHOUSE – LOCATION TBA, SYDNEY
With Alison Wonderland, A$AP Ferg, Lido, Young Franco and more. 

Image: Connor Langford

Interview by Emma Jones

READ MORE INTERVIEWS HERE

SEE ALSO

MANU CROOK$ IS ‘BLOWIN’ UP’ WITH HIS NEW SINGLE
THE PLOT DROPS THE HOTTEST FESTIVAL LINE UP OF THE YEAR

About:

Three-time uni dropout who just can’t stop telling people about this great new song she’s found.