Mani the Mogul, 23, says she’s thankful she had a mom that was more down than most; she may not have fallen in love with music otherwise.
“I grew up mostly around my mother’s side of the family,” the artist born Imani “Mani” Hall told REVOLT TV. “So my grandmother had my mom young. The music [my grandma] was listening to was Marvin Gaye. It transferred to my mom. She was growing up as well while my grandmother was still growing up. That’s how she was able to get in contact with that music. And [my mother] had me kinda young, like 21 [years old]. So it was the same kinda cycle. My mother put me on to Snoop Dogg['s] ‘Ain’t No Fun.’ Her and my aunt, we were driving to North Carolina, my aunt sitting in the back, my mother driving; all you hear is: ‘If I ever gave a f--k about a bitch, I’d always be broke.’ They was blackin.’ Playing all the cusses. My mom was in. The coolest one.”
Mani says as much as she loves Snoop, it was listening to her mom play the other world famous "dog" that inspired her to be a rapper.
“And Then There Was X… DMX. Changed my life,” Mani, who also sings, reflected. “Then I saw him in concert. I got a chance to open up for him last year. If you ever seen me perform, I’m like [a] jumping bean. I’m all over the place. That night I learned how to use my spirit with it. He literally left his spirit on the stage. He couldn’t do nothing but live in the moment. He knew he was just a vessel. I thought that was amazing. X is amazing.”
Since recently graduating from SUNY Buffalo State, Mani gives back to her community in Brooklyn, mentoring and teaching music and arts to elementary school aged kids by day. At night, she’s pursuing her own dreams of stardom with the help of her mentor Chaz Williams, who owsn Black Hand Entertainment and has worked with artists in the past including Foxy Brown and Grafh. Mani has been performing in and out of state on such stages including BET’s “106 and Park Freestyle Fridays” the past few years and, at the top of this year, she released the record “Wired Up” to acclaim. She recently dropped “Charlie,” on which the hard-hitting bassline reminds you of the mumbled speech adults spoke in the Charlie Brown and “Peanuts” cartoons.
“It was a vibe,” she told. “I was at my producer‘s house, he started playing the beat. He said, ‘You are the only person who can get on this.’ I got on it, it was just smooth. It was a vibe. ‘Charlie Brown,’ you don’t wanna hear too much nonsense. You just want to do you. Something to get dressed to, something to party with. Pretty much embrace the love. Embrace the vibe.”
“Wired Up” and “Charlie” both appear on Mani’s upcoming EP Say No Mas, as does “M Factor,” on which she sings and flips Lauryn Hill’s “X Factor” classic.
“Say No Mas, it means ‘say no more,’” Mani described. “Listen to it, it’s a vibe start to finish, [from] every place where I was on this journey to where I’m able to talk to you right now. All the people I’m able to meet. The whole project is just the come-up.”
Mani won’t be satisfied with just coming up though, she wants to fully flourish.
“I feel like handling business is the top priority, always,” she explained. “’Mani the Mogul’ comes from sitting in my dorm room, trying to find something catchy [for my moniker]. And I said, ‘I’m a boss, I aspire to be a boss. I want to have labels, I want to have business, an abundance of things. In order to have that, you must speak that to existence as well as work for it. That’s what I am.”