Being part of one of Grime’s illustrious crews, Roll Deep, it can be difficult to stand out and be counted as an individual. So when Manga, now Manga Saint Hilare, stepped out on his own and started to make music, it was a chance to showcase his talent. From his first solo project which was released in 2010 (Obzokey Wranglings) to the present day, he has continued to be creative.
Man Roll Deep but I never rested on the name. I always kept working – Outsiderism
Manga’s last project saw him linking up with a young producer who curated the sounds for the entire tape. Lewi B has been working with Manga for a while and it seemed that the collaboration was successful enough for them to get back in the studio and create more heat. The result is the latest offering from the Grime duo, ‘Outburst From The Outskirts’.
Kicking off the project is somewhat of a foreword from Mikill Pane. A talented rapper in his own right, he eloquently describes the scenario of an artist who hasn’t been able to break the mainstream. Existing in a world where you’re appreciated by your supporters whilst simultaneously coming to terms with the apparent limits to the music’s reach. With Grime making waves in the mainstream markets with artists like Skepta and Stormzy, there still is a buzzing underground scene that is cultivating artists that are being played on internet radio stations serving the local community and beyond. It’s within this world where Manga is making moves and it’s interesting to hear Mikill speak about something that applies to them both and it’s a great way to start the project.
The first quarter establishes Manga’s ability to spray bars on varied Grime instrumentals sculpted by Lewi B. ‘Different Pattern’, which features JME & President T, has been on radio playlists since its release. But listeners are treated to a bonus verse from Mercston who is heard skipping all over the track. Lewi switches up the sounds slightly to make everything sound fresh.
One thing that’s not prevalent within Grime music is songs about relationships. One of the best examples is Kano’s ‘Nite Nite’ and that was released over a decade ago. Manga has never been shy to express his feeling through music and has songs about love and loss on previous projects. Carrying on the tradition, ‘Young’ featuring Jammz recounts memories of hardships within relationship whereas ‘My One / God Save The Queens’ describes the affection Manga has for his significant other and also gives a shout out to women as a whole in the second half of the track. The halves are split with a classic bar from Sharky Major’s verse from the remix of the Dizzee Rascal hit ‘I Luv U’. Manga even made the effort to get a fresh recording from Sharky using his phone instead of sampling the vocal. Lewi B scales back the production on this one. Taking it back to the ol’ skool, he removes the percussion, leaving only the melody, bass and synths which is also known as a Devil Mix.
There is a thread which exists throughout the entire project. Drawing from the title, there are 4 consecutive tracks named ‘Outburst’. Izzie Gibbs, Snowy and Maxsta laid their pain through their words on the individual tracks. The last Outburst is from Manga himself and when you listen to the song, you have no choice but to be drawn into his psyche and live vicariously through his bars. This song perfectly sums up the project title and also gives an insight to the life that Manga Saint Hilare has experienced. Grime was the result of frustrated youths who wanted to find a way to express themselves. These Outbursts sounded like Grime therapy sessions for these artists
Throughout ‘Outburst From The Outskirts’, Manga exudes confidence and positivity. Songs like ‘Far Away’, Shell’ and ‘Slew’ leave no doubt that he can hold his own on a microphone whether it be on a set or on a stage. He sets pace as Lewi B uses his varied styles of production to provide a platform for his lyrical onslaught. Speaking to Manga on my Focal Point radio show, he made a point that this isn’t an album. It’s a project. Well, if this is the project, it most definitely has helped to lay the foundation for an album in the future.