There are few who are blessed with Manafest's natural ability to spit lyrics effortlessly. Fewer still whose lyrics carry true, life-changing meaning with its listeners. But being a crafty wordsmith can only get you so far and the fastest rising hip-hop artists in the country are also the hardest working ones. Chris Greenwood, a.k.a. Manafest, is not an exception to this rule, but rather a measure to which others are compared to. Spare moments were always lent to writing lyrics, perfecting flow patterns, weekends were devoted to local concerts and "home" was spelt "s.t.u.d.i.o."
At the age of 18, Chris "Speedy" to his friends, and MC Jusachyl ("Just-A-Child") formed the group UnderOneKing. Continuing on that mission to bring the Gospel to his friends, Manafest spreads his own message as a solo artist through his unique mix of hip-hop and punk styles, playing shows at churches, prisons, and all points in between.
On his underground debut EP, "Misled Youth", Manafest expresses his views of the world from the perspective of a teenager growing up in a cynical urban environment. Experiencing a life filled with false hopes and empty promises ("What's Goin' On") - it leads him on a search for fulfillment and ultimately, a divine revelation ("Freedom","Soul Searching").
"Epiphany", a CD that combines great lyrics with a great style, was released in 2005, followed up with "Glory" in 2006.
Blending both urban influences with suburban energy, "Glory" is a rock-oriented hip-hop record that is an authentic presentation of rock-solid faith amidst uncertainty and trial.
"I wanted to allow all of my influences show on Glory. Musically, I wanted to blend the appeal of Linkin Park, Sum 41, and the Beastie boys. Vocally, I wanted to merge that with popular hip-hop a la Eminem and Kanye West. But beyond musical influence, I wanted to reflect on the issues around me in the most positive way possible. And whether I am talking about the loss of loved ones and abuse, or break-dancing and skate culture, its all for the glory of heaven. In the end, my prayer is that people would not simply bob their heads to this, but feel a very real sense of healing from the words. However, this record is not all serious. Some of my favorite tracks are the most lighthearted ones."
"The song called “Run Away” on the album is about a girl who ran away from home because sometimes life always looks better on the other side or “the grass is always greener on the other side. Then all of a sudden you get over there and you’re like, “whoa, I had it better where I was!"
The first single on the album, Impossible, a song co-written by Thousand Foot Krutch frontman Trevor McNevan, promises to be a rock-radio staple this fall. Its subject matter, true to Manafests form, deals with encouraging healing in children who have been abused at home. His hop-hop single, Bounce is a b-boy party anthem which guarantees to make heads bob. As Glory hits multiple formats with its unique niche in the industry, it will be exciting to watch Manafests sphere of influence grow.
"Citizens Activ" was Manafest's next release in 2008.
"On the new record, the whole idea is people coming together with a common vision." Chriss continues, "We all have goals and we all have dreams and it’s just about encouraging people to go for those goals and dreams. As a kid I always had my dreams stepped on or was told I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that. The whole message of the album is pursuing those dreams and to unlock that dream and go inside of you; make it happen, make it manifest."
With “Citizens Activ” even people who are not fans of the rap genre may find themselves hopping on Manafest’s band wagon.