After Maanu’s last set of releases, I wrote that Maanu’s style had settled enough to stand up in front of great producers and that his acoustic roots suggested there was room for further stylistic expansion. After his latest release I am more confident that Maanu’s ability to hop genres is amazing to watch. Instead of going back from hip hop to acoustic though, Maanu pushes into dance music.
In collaboration with producer Arhum Sameed, Maanu cements the effortless nature of his signature verse delivery. In particular, what stands out to me is how subtle the differences are between the verse and chorus in many of Maanu’s recordings. This is done by the low vocal range in which most Maanu melodies seem to function, and that the melodies do not switch too dramatically between sections of the song. In traditional musical terms these would be limitations, but here they are definite strengths. The effect is of letting you flow slowly with the song regardless of the energy the beat pulses at underneath. In the end the song comes out layered, letting you experience it over and over, finding a slightly different energy to attach to.
On his debut album Yain City, Maanu’s vocal appeared to reach a little more. That may be an artifact of the production or the vocal delivery. The resulting feeling is of an artist that is eagerly establishing the myth of his alter ego Chotus, of Yain, and of himself. On these last few recordings the voice knows exactly what it is doing. It is no longer trying to get somewhere, it is simply reveling in the exhibition. That this transition has occurred in just about a year makes it even more impressive. If you had any doubt whether Maanu had arrived, you shouldn’t now.