R&B singer and songwriter Manasseh just released his EP, Variations VI: I’ll Be, and it’s around 21 minutes of pure vocal crème de la crème.
The EP opens up ‘I’ll Be: Live Part 1.’ Full of buttery riffs, Manasseh fearlessly climbs sonic mountains with vocal ease. He builds on himself beautifully with a bass that hits you straight in the belly and a steady, hearty drum. Next we have the OG version of ‘I’ll Be,’ featuring vocals from Carlisha Denise. Carlisha and Manasseh’s vocals resonate with each other like yin and yang over grooving and grandiose guitar. By song 2, you begin to feel nothing but gratitude for hearing recurring lyrics and themes because they’re just that good.
‘Yup’ opens up with infectious laughter and inviting harmonies that show the true kind nature behind the artists who made the EP come to life while ‘I’ll Be Right There’ is a true r&b ballad in the way it gets those hips moving straight from the beginning. The captivating opening chorus hooks you immediately and around 42 seconds, Manasseh’s mighty and dynamic delivery gives certified chills. The bonus track, ‘Love 3.0,’ has a bouncy, psychedelic feel to it alongside motivating lyrics:
“We never love
What we have
Till it’s gone
Time slips away
But we are the same.”
The entire EP proves Manasseh knows how to be savvy with repetition, especially with its reiterated mantra: “I’ll Be” (in both the song titles and lyrics). Describing the phrase as true accountability similar to his trust in God’s answers, blessings, and tribulations, Manasseh shares, “[the phrase] ‘I’ll Be’ is the best way I can assure someone that whatever it is I said I was going to do…I’ma do it.”
Manasseh’s voice gives us something strong and steady to hold on to as we journey through his EP. He has a gospel-infused passion and freedom, but incredible discipline and control as well. To me, his music feels a bit like D’Angelo, DVSN, and Robert Glasper.
To spread his musical brilliance and positivity towards other artists’ music, Manasseh started his own production company with encouragement and partnership from his cousin, Martin Smith. Operating like his own record label, Dope Tunes Productions provides Manasseh the space and legitimacy to collaborate with musicians he considers brothers and sisters. The power and pride of the company is in the ease and trust of collaboration- Manasseh’s network loves to share and contribute to each other’s music and with his leadership, projects get finished and fulfilled.