Whilst still a relative newcomer for the UK circuit, the African-Australian rapper has a cult hip-hop following and has previously been highlighted by i-D, The Fader and Pigeons & Planes, all raving about his incredible potential as an artist. 2017 proved to be a whirlwind year, which included the release of his debut EP ‘Mood Forever’, Australian tours with both Stormzy and Tory Lanez, and Manu’s own headlining Australian tour sponsored by Noisey. His music has been spreading globally with the video for his breakthrough single ‘Everyday’ closing in on 2 million views on YouTube and the video for ‘Day Ones’ also passing the 1.5 million mark, whilst Spotify streams for both records soar beyond 1.5 million each. Manu Crooks closed out 2017 by teaming up with close friend and collaborator Anfa Rose for the double drop of ‘Presence’ and ‘All I Need’, which have since amassed over 1.2 million streams respectively.
Earning a reputation for his “raw lyricism and seamless flow” (The Fader), Manu has been gaining fans stateside including ASAP Ferg who brought him on stage during a recent Sydney performance. With recent profiles from the likes of Highsnobiety and The Coveteur, and consistent support from Zane Lowe, who debuted ‘Assumptions’, ‘Buddy Buddy’ and supported ‘Blowin Up’ on Beats 1, Manu Crooks is bridging hip-hop hemispheres and proving that he “might just be our best hope for Aus hip hop to make a significant impact on the international scene.” (Complex)
For his new release ‘Different League’, Manu Crooks is draped in a designer puffer jacket, teaming with accessories and raps about his on-going success and the women he’s met along the way. His eyes are covered by gold-framed, designer sunglasses, reminiscent of Master P, as he cruises through the streets with a beautiful lady. The subtle special effects enhance the visual vibe and overall aesthetic, whilst the heavy bass line and rhythmic keys create an ominous feel as he spits bold lyrics with his foreign flair and trap-tinged sound, about lust, success and unclear intentions. French directors Aden Gauthier, Hitsu Film and Berko & Titan‘s colour grading and keen editing sets the visual apart and stamps both class and business all over ‘Different League’, which amassed 50,000 views in its initial hours online.
When asked about the music video the Parisian directors said: “Our goal as directors for this music video was to bring an overseas artist to the hidden parts of Paris, far from the Eiffel Tower, and in the heart of the suburban projects least visited; while paying close attention to retaining a clean aesthetic. This collaboration is an artistic project destined to break down borders.”
The exploration of borders goes beyond just that of the record and the visual for ‘Different League’ as alongside his latest release, Manu Crooks has also announced his debut ‘Mood Forever’ World Tour, which will see him perform dates throughout April to June, across Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and France, demonstrating why he is leading Australia’s hip-hop movement and “sees him separating himself from the lower divisions.” (Clash Magazine).