Album Review: Mannyfornia – Black Josh


An electrifying statement of intent from the Mancunian rap hero

The album opens up with the new-school boom bap beat ‘Self Destruct’. Throughout the tune (and the entire album), Josh serves up odd samples and subtly strange production techniques that set him worlds apart from his counterparts. The bit crushed vocal melody sounds raw and gritty, but tied in with Josh’s bars makes the track sound huge. Josh articulates what it’s like to being young, black and talented in Manchester in this current day and age. My favorite line of the album: “Think you’re bad but you not. Soz. You’ll get sent to the shop.”
      Title track ‘Mannyfornia’ is just simply brilliant. Josh has an eloquent style of rapping and  intelligent word play. He leaves you having to pause the track and rewind to listen to the utter madness he has just spat. A good example of this is, “I’m an overthinker, that’s an understatement. I’m on the highway to hell and I’m undertaking. My demons in the back seat blazing, Had a long fall from grace still not touched the pavement.” To wrap it all together there is a very eerie siren sound that pulses all the way throughout and a huge boom bap beat to bounce your head too. No complaints. Big Tune.

      The track ‘Rage (feat Lunar C & Lord Apex)’ is a potent example of Josh’s West Coast hip-hop influence and ability to collaborate with other rappers. Sometimes, when listening to a song with features, you may find yourself thinking, ‘That’s a good tune but I’m not a fan of the other rapper’s verses’. That certainly doesn’t happen here. Lunar C And Lord Apex hold up and deliver. The track has a 90s-style hip-hop beat and wavy delayed chords which wouldn’t sound out of place in sunny California. The best part about this song is the unapologetic, energetic and witty flow that all rappers deliver.

  One honorable mention is ’Therapy’. It begins with a funky bassline and has shimmering synth chords straight out of an 80s film soundtrack. It goes on to see Josh talk about the lifestyle he’s living and why he makes music. The track ‘Demon’, deserves an honorable mention also. It features a Happy Mondays-like piano sample combined with 90s hip-hop beats. It feels like Manchester-meets-California – a theme that’s prevalent throughout the record. 

Overall, the album perfectly incorporates Manchester and California, using West Coast-inspired beats and an aggressively proud, talented Mancunian rapper crafting witty verses. It’s a record for anybody interested in UK rap, but also seeking something slightly different from the usual.