8and9 Exclusive: Interview With Mann
Ryan K : First and foremost thank you for joining us and taking the time out to do this exclusive interview with 8and9.com For those who might not be familiar with MANN please tell us a bit about your background, where your from and what you represent.
Mann: My name is Dijon Shariff Thames aka Mann. I’m from West LA. I have a lot of city pride so I alway say where I’m from whenever I get a chance to. I love making music and performing. I’m kinda just a performing arts cat, was never into sports , or anything of that nature. I think a lot of young LA is like me in that sense, the city is so creative so it birthed a lot of creative people, which is why there are a lot of west coast artist coming out of the woodworks. I’m also a thinker. That’s me in a nutshell.
Ryan K: Your first single “Buzzin” feat 50 cent was a huge success and caught fire all over radio stations nationwide very quickly, were you surprise by the response the reord got so quickly.Tell us a bit about the song and about how you and 50 cent got together to colloborate on such a huge hit.
Mann: The record was kind of my first real authentic Mann record I’ve ever made to a JR Rotem record. I kinda had a chance to finally go in and record a record I genuinely liked because I was so young on the label , I was kinda just going in the direction they wanted me to go. Buzzin’ was the perfect combination of me an Jr’s strengths, and that’s why I think it got so big. So I wasn’t surprised it got big, but I didn’t expect 50 to get on the record. That took me 100% by surprise. That man was a blessing to my life, imma always have a lot of respect for him.
Ryan K: Tell me a bit about the def jam situation and how did that situation come about. I’m aware you are managed by none other than Steve Lobel how does it feel to be fairly a new artist but be backed but one of the biggest hiphop labels ever as well as a manager with so much experience? Does it make your job easier as an artist being being backed by a power house label or is being signed just a small factor in your day to day grind as an up-n-incoming artist.
Mann: Honestly, Steve Lobel is the best manage in the business. If it wasn’t for him, I would not be where I’m at or going where we are about to take my career. Steve got me my first record deal after 2 weeks of knowing him . The deal at Mercury/ Def Jam is my second record deal (First one was with Epic) , and I have been signed there since I was 17. Labels are labels, if you’re hot they love you, if you’re not they just cool. You just gotta stay hot!
Ryan K: Your new video “Gold Herringbone” off your new project “Mann’s World” which is set to be released in just a few weeks is already being spoken about heavily in the hiphop community. Tell me a bit about the video and what the fans can expect from your new release.
Mann: “Gold Herringbone” is definitely a real close record to me. After “Buzzin'” dropped, me and JR went back in with a new perspective on my music because I finally got my point across about being true to myself. “Gold Herringbone” was the first record we made that kinda broke down my life. It was done completely organically.
Ryan K: Your brand new single ” Get it Girl” which features T-pain is starting to burn up the airwaves, how do you think this single differs compared to “Buzzin” and how was it like working with TPain on this song?
Mann: I think the new record is just like even more of a mix of what me and JR do best. He creates big radio friendly records and I just be swaggin like I love to do. T-Pain has been one of my favorite artist in the industry as far as a performing. I really just wanted to perform with T-Pain on the same stage so I had to get a record with him. I put that energy out there to get him on a record and it happened. And he’s hella funny.
Ryan K: What do you think separates you from other artistin today’s music industry?
Mann: I think honestly my humility will. I finally have an answer for that. I think the fact that i practice being humble and just am really self conscious about how people recieve me will give me a interesting perspective. I’m not really a cat who fronts, I try to keep it true and down to earth.
Ryan K: If you had to describe your style of rap music what would it be?
Mann: My style of music is a mixture of two. On one hand I represent being young fly and flashy. Party music and music people can really feel good listening to. On the other hand I have these records that I make that are really true to what I genuinely believe in. I am a thinker. I’m also a cancer. So that side of me is definitely shown in my music. It balances out very well I think.
Ryan K: Who are some of the artist who have inspired you in your music career?
Mann: Ma$e was an early influence. He inspired the style and swag of Mann. Like Mase was with Harlem and Harlem World is how I am with West LA. I represent being young fly and getting money. That’s why I really fuck with ASAP cuz he represent what Harlem has always represented to me. Tyler the Creator has been a big inspiration lately. He kinda showed me that being a real artist is possible. Playing by your own rules is possible, that’s dope to me. We probably will never make music together because we represent two different sides of the spectrum but I respect that dude.
Ryan K: Besides music is there any other business ventures you wish to establish or dabble in the near future?
Mann: I plan on getting into fashion some how. Not sure if I want to create clothes or find and help one of my friends do it because all of my friends are creative. I also plan on getting back into acting, which is really my first love. I want to find artists as well and put them out. Be like a Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Kanye West mix.
Ryan K: What’s next for MANN?
Mann: Next is the blowing up part of my career. We are finally at the stage where I have the clearest vision of where I want to go with my music. I have full support from my team, and when we want something we get it. So now we are going to continue to prep the people with music videos after music videos, then we are dropping the independently made project, FreshMan On Varsity. After that, I think I’ll be in a great position to take over the industry. Thats what’s next for me. – RyanK
The mixtape FreshMann on Varsity featuring singles “Get It Girl” with T-Pain, ”Gold Herringbone,” “Shaded Up Chillin’,” and more drops May 7, 2012