Review – M3NSA at the Shrine

9 May

Friday 29 April, MOBO-nominated rapper, M3NSA headlines the Afrocentric Rebel night ‘The Shrine’ at Rich Mix.

Playing to an intimate crowd (already buzzing after having watched the pidgin language musical Coz ov Moni,  featuring M3nsa himself and his FOKN Bois collaborator and friend Wanlov) the Ghanaian musician and his band The Light Offs, showcase tracks from his latest studio album, No.1 Mango Street.

The set is engaging and the musical influences diverse: pictures of his friends and family are projected onto the screen while the artist raps and sings over infectious beats infused with hip hop, highlife and rock. He plays call and response games with his audience, catches eyes, throws smiles and has a young lady on the front row swooning as he raps a verse to her. When he eventually turns back to the band, still beside herself, the girl mouths to me: “Thank God black don’t blush!”

But it’s not just the girls who are swept up. As the rapper launches into Kelewele Pimpin, the party-piece of the night, a rather dapper looking man stood next to me looses all composure and starts doing what I can only describe as yelping. I’m convinced that by the end of the night,  people will be throwing themselves onto the stage.

And that’s what makes M3nsa an artist to watch and a perfect fit for a night that tries to evoke the spirit of Fela Kuti’s Shrine: he’s a master lyricist with charm to match, a rocking band and beats that transport you to a place where the only agenda is to party.

No.1 Mango Street is available on iTunes and Amazon

Review written by blogger and freelance writer Eliza Anyangwe. 

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