M.anifest has an interesting way of handing titles to his songs. These titles aren’t chosen for fanciful purposes. They are to highlight his position and pedigree within the music space. Song titles like ‘godMC’, ‘Bear’, ‘Ozymandias’, ‘Damn You Rafiki’ all have inherent messages embedded within them.
So is the case with ‘’Azumah Nelson Flow’’, the latest video released by M.anifest; which he began teasing out a couple of weeks ago via tweets and a short trailer video. “Azumah Nelson Flow” is a homage paying title to the greatest pugilist Ghana as country, Africa as continent and the world has seen ramble in the ring. It also doubles as a toast to the 60th birthday of the man we know as ‘The Boxing Professor’.
The song has M.anifest drawing parallels between his rap abilities and the boxing talent of the much beloved boxer, Azumah. ‘’It’s the return of the god so press record/I speak my piece I’m a beast no peace accord/ The pen is a sword I’m a samurai of course/ Sum it all up I dey job, be rest assured’’, he raps, making a forceful point about his talent and gift of standing unscathed even when the danger seems ominous.
The video for “Azumah Nelson Flow” bears resemblance to many from M.anifest’s visual vault: a snapshot of the activities of ordinary, everyday people within the city of Accra, like was the case on his heralded ‘Someway Bi’ track. Directed by Makere Thekiso, the video combines footages from ‘’Me Ne Woa’’ and ‘’Simple Love’’; two videos that Makere Thekiso directed for the rapper.
The video begins with the famous victory speech of Azumah Nelson after knocking out British boxer Pat Cowdell. The fight took place in 1985. Azumah mentioned how the West doesn’t want Africans to win despite their efforts and ‘want to prove to them I’m the best in the world’. With this as the backdrop-a statement M.anifest identifies with- the video cast scenes from the beaches of Tema and from the banks of the Odaw river. The director, Makere artistically juxtaposes some of the scenes with M.anifest’s lyrics for effects. (Watch from 0.45 seconds and 2: 17 seconds where he makes the wavy and Paris references). Included in the video are scenes of boxing gyms were both the young and old are training and sparing with one another.
Finally, M.anifest is joined by Azumah Nelson inside a boxing gym. Outside the gym, the two pose in front of a canvas with images of three famous sons of Jamestown -Azumah Nelson, Floyd ‘Klutei’ Robertson and Arthur Wharton. (Floyd was a featherweight champion of the 50s & 60s with a total fight record of 51, winning 31, 13 loses and 4 draws. Arthur Wharton, a Ghanaian goalkeeper is considered the first black to play in the British Football League). The producer of the song, Rvdical The Kid also makes a cameo.
No Ghanaian sportsman has received the same kind of love from his fellow citizens like Azumah Nelson. This level of love was reciprocated by the Boxing Hall of Famer whenever he stepped in the ring to fight; not for personal glory but to defend the good name of Ghana. For those old enough to remember, the whole nation woke up during his fight nights to watch him step into the ring. The nation is always thrown into a state of euphoria whenever he wins. And when he loses, the somberness that surround the country is usually telling. For ten years, the ‘Zoom Zoom’ Nelson ruled the Featherweight division like his kingdom. By comparing himself to him, M.anifest isn’t selling his credentials but honouring the name of the legend.
Watch ”Azumah Nelson Flow” video below