Manu Crook$ sets higher standards on ‘Buddy Buddy’
2017 was a crowning year for Ghanian-born, Sydney-based artist/rapper MANU CROOK$, dropping his debut EP, Mood Forever, and capping it off by performing his first hometown headline show. It all served to position him at the head of an imminently breaking wave of first-generation Australian immigrants and refugees reshaping and revitalising the hip hop scene through their antipodean lens.
As a consequence, if you weren’t paying attention you could be forgiven for mistaking that Manu’s music, heavily indebted to the Atlanta trap scene, comes out of America’s Deep South instead of Sydney’s western suburbs. He pulls off this illusion again on his latest single, ‘Buddy Buddy’, another collaboration with regular producers Miracle and DOPAM!NE and his first since the release of his EP.
Manu Crook$ knows he’s doing the most to re-envision what hip hop can be and do in this country, boasting on the track in a mixture that’s part braggadocio and part self-confidence, but always completely justifiable: “I’m on a wave / I do not need you to tell me what’s up / I’ve been out here for days”.
Manu’s flow weaves itself into a dark, woozy beat built around some sticky keys and spacious, booming percussion. But an impressive beat switch halfway through the track offers Manu the perfect platform to showcase his all-round versatility, moving the focus to his tight lyricism as he seamlessly raps over a sophisticated, complex beat.
The hook, which taps into the kind of phonetic repetitiveness that has made Young Thug, Playboi Carti and more so popular, conjures up dank scenes of packed, sweaty underground clubs, water spraying across the heaving crowd as the beat hits on Manu’s lazily elongated pronunciation of “wave”. It’s his catchiest hook to date, and demonstrates why he’s positioned now to take this new wave of Australian hip hop on to higher standards in 2018.