Diving into the mind of M3nsa

Originality is defined as the ability to think independently and creatively. Oftentimes artists are forced to compromise originality in order to follow trends or conform to societal standards. Finding artists who refuse to conform within music as well as with their personas oftentimes can be an anomaly.

I remember being introduced to M3nsa when I stumbled upon the film Coz of Moni. Known as the First Pidgen Musical Film in the World, Coz of Moni is a film and album produced by the FOKN BOIS and directed by filmmaker King Luu in 2010. The film highlights the plight and struggles of Ghanaian youth in Ghana. I was captivated by the sheer creativity coupled with comedic undertones, lyrical wordplay, as well as the depth of the content. Coz of Moni is one hundred percent original content that was relatable to the masses. Since I have become an eager fan who fell in love with the works of M3nsa.

M3nsa is a rapper, songwriter, producer, and creative who exuberates originality and authenticity within his works. Known for his eccentric blend of beats and fusion of genres, M3nsa is a pioneer in urban Ghanaian contemporary sound. With catchy melodies and vibrant samples embedded in his work, M3nsa is an independent artist, a member of the FOKN BOIS duo, as well as a member of the band Red Red. From releasing his debut album No.1 Mango Street ten years ago, M3nsa has managed to develop a dynamic fan base and body of work which speak to his longevity within the music industry.

I engaged M3nsa in a conversation about his music, the importance of originality, and his thoughts on social anxiety and imposter syndrome.

What does the word originality mean to you as an artist and creative?

For me, originality is tapping into yourself, being able to identify who you are and translating what is around you or what you want to do in your own very honest way. So, it is about being honest with yourself, and then putting that into your art.

Your content is very original, how did you find your sound and your voice within your music?

It took a lot of observation, both of myself (introspection) and also external observation, and understanding how that affects me. Looking for ways to push myself, really seeing things my own way and being able to compose and put structure to my art.

I understand how other producers work, I try to see how to achieve that and in the process of achieving, you always discover things; if your intention is not to replicate but to also create your own discoveries. For me creating music is about making discoveries. If it is your own discovery it is bound to be original.

Have you ever had experience with imposter syndrome? Has it ever affected your craft/music?

Yes definitely! I think anybody who cares about what they are doing experiences that. No matter how successful you are, or how gifted and talented you are.
At the end of the day, there is a certain ego we all have to tackle. That ego comes from how the world received your work. Sometimes it is like why is this not connecting or why is this not happening, why am I not able to achieve this thing I am imagining, or am I not good enough. These are things that come with it; it can happen within the smallest and trivial things, like your personal relationship, people, family, loved ones, or even with your career. This is sometimes necessary, to have these imposter syndrome tendencies, at times it allows you to be careful of what you are doing in your efforts to achieve greatness. Every artist deals with that, it is about overcoming it and understanding you have a purpose.

When you experience imposter syndrome or even fear/doubt how do you overcome it?

It is almost like artists who have been performing all their lives and still experiencing the first five minutes of stage fright. It is perspective, you have to always have a good perspective. I have come this far, I am accepted this far why do I doubt myself. You kind of have to give yourself reminders. Know you are on to something this is meant to be difficult. It is meant to be a challenge. I always approach these things as challenges, challenges I am meant to overcome.

How do you maintain your individuality/ originality when Society wants you to conform?

These things can always get to you especially if you want something so badly; we all want a certain level of acceptance. Just keep in mind who you are and why it is important for you to do what you want to do. For me, it is two things. One, it may not be for the person or the people in this room. You can’t force the relationship or force people to like it. Secondly, as an artist, you must have a certain level of intelligence and pride to know that, if you don’t push this, you’re stopping others coming after you to create in the same form or having a space in a room. Most of the coolest things have had resistance behind it. It is about standing behind it and making sure you deliver.

Is the album name Bondzie? Tell us about the name?

Bondzie means speak up let your voice be heard. I felt like now was a good time to speak up on things, not just social commentary but things that have been boiling within me and everything I am experiencing. It was really fun making the album. I enjoyed making it and all the collaborations that came with it.

When should we expect the album?
Hoping the album comes out by spring. It is really dope music. It is very contemporary and very now. It feels like maybe if No.1 Mango Street was made in 2020 or 2021. It is really something special.

What is your latest release?

It is a small EP; a really short EP called Kickin’ N Startin. You can imagine where the name comes from. Basically, I put together three songs that give you a slight idea of where I am with the music. Some of the songs have very interesting features; there is a song with Pappy Kojo and a song with Red Red actually, which is mind-blowing produced. There is also Fante Auntie, that I produced, recorded, and mixed myself. The song (Fante Auntie) just shows my prowess speaking Fante coupled with how funky the beat is. This three-song EP is so beautifully produced.

Support M3nsa’s new project by donating to the Kickstarter Page “BONDZIE -“SPEAK UP”: Mensa Ansah new music project and film.

Be sure to also check out M3nsa’s latest release entitled Kickin’ N Startin’

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