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Manaz began rhyming in highschool in 2003. After that he started seriously writing and recording music in 2007 as a part of a local crew by the name of Ill Vibes. In 2008 they put out a demo, soon after they worked on a mixtape and album throughout 2009.
In 2010 Manaz took out first place in a bunch of freestyle comps around Adelaide and have since gone on to win multiple Got Beef? battles. In 2011 and Manaz released a solo EP with QLD producer J Quest and also begun work on his solo album which is to feature production from local and international beat makers.
Manaz is a real up and coming legend in the battle scene, serving out hard hitting blunt blows to his opponents he is most surely ready to take his talents to the world stage. If you haven't had a chance to hear his latest track Ray Charles (Chiddy Bang Remix) you're missing out.
Recently we spoke with Manaz Ill on a few subjects, in relation to his career in the battle scene, who was his most challenging opponent and what motivates him. He's an amazing artist with a solid future ahead of him.
How does Hip Hop influence your life, what got you involved with the music?
Hip-hop has had a strong influence on my life since I was about 12 or 13. There was no hip-hop scene where I grew up, so I just used to freestyle in class and battle random dudes at lunch or out at parties on the weekends. I pretty much started writing rhymes from there.
You've exploded into the battle scene with an overall strong support; did you expect this and what made you want to get into the battle scene in the first place?
I watched all the Battle for Supremacy DVDs when I was younger and also followed the World Rap Championships in 06 and 07. That’s what got me into it. I used to watch all the battles and want to battle the dudes I liked.
Even at school I used to love to debate and argue so battle rap just seemed like a natural progression. I always thought I’d be good at it, I don’t think I ever thought I could get to where I’m at now though.
What goes into your preparation for an upcoming battle?
It really depends on the opponent. Generally I’ll start by watching their other battles so I know what angles and lines have been used, and then I’ll start writing. Normally I’ll start prepping about a month before the battle and I won’t be done til the day. In that time my rounds undergo a lot of variations.
Of everyone you've battled so far, who would you say was the most challenging and why?
Definitely Illmaculate. The dude has been killing it for years and he is on another level so far as battling is concerned. When you’ve done that many battles you can’t keep doing the same shit over and over, and he’s been able to step his game up and keep things fresh.
Who would you most want to battle and why?
360, simply for the entertainment value. I think it would be hilarious.
You had guest appearances on Gravity Ponds 'Prequel to Pain' how did that come about and what was it like working with Gravity Ponds?
I’ve been down with Vampts for a few years and the GP lads had always been supportive. Peeps reached out to me about doing the ‘Beat Abuse’ track with Ev after we met at some freestyle competition, so he hit me with the beat and I went to the Gravity Ponds studio to record my verse.
The other possie track on the mixtape came together randomly one day at the studio. Peeps, Remz, K21, Lariken, my homie Tracker and I were chilling so we jacked the beat and just started writing.
I find working with the GP lads really easy because we’re pretty similar with how we like to get things done in the studio. We’ve gone on to do a bunch of collaborations and Peeps is currently recording my upcoming EP at the GP studios so you will hear a lot from us in the future.
You've got a fund-raiser for getting you to Canada, how did the idea come about and how do you feel the response has been so far?
Basically Dwizofoz who runs Real Talk hit me up saying he’d been talking to Organic from King of the Dot about getting me out to battle, the idea being that Real Talk would run the fund-raising and I would represent them at the KOTD event. I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve been receiving.
You have an EP in the works, what's it called and what can we expect from this release?
I’m writing and recording the ‘What it Look Like’ EP at the moment which will be entirely produced by Mdusu from Tas, so you can expect some banging beats and dope rhymes with at least one big name feature.
What else have you been working on lately do you have any more features have installed for fans in the future?
I’ve been pretty hard at work with prep for my upcoming battles. Aside from that I’ve been working on the EP. There are plenty of colabs coming up with local and international artists so the fans won’t be short of things to look out for.
Being blind did you think you would come this far in music, how have you turned what others would consider a disadvantage into where you are today?
I think I’ve come this far in music because I’m blind. It has been a great motivation and has given me the drive I need to push myself as well as serving as an endless source of inspiration.
Whose music have you been listening to lately?
I haven’t really been keeping up to date like I normally would because I’ve had so much on the go at the moment, but I’ve been bumping Lowkey - Soundtrack to the Struggle, Reks - Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme, and a bunch of old Boot Camp Clik.
What inspires you and who do you have to thank for being where you are today?
I’m inspired by life. I have to thank anyone who has supported me as well as the people who have fucked me over for motivating me.