Mansa showcases his complexities on his new offering "Red Button" featuring G-Eazy, premiering on Billboard.
The 22-year-old singer from West Oakland, California, burst into the scene last year with the buzzy single, "Uncomfortable." Currently residing in L.A., Mansa's hometown roots are clear. Growing up, he listened to "whatever my mom was playing," which included Bob Marley and John Mayer -- "of course, hyphy movement was real in my section of the world. I listened to everybody. Like the people in the hip-hop community setting the foundation, E-40, Mac Dre, et cetera."
Mansa's love for hip-hop goes beyond being a fan. Long before he was crooning, Mansa recorded music as a rapper under the name Manny Phantom. "I was playing off of the Danny Phantom cartoon. I didn't really start singing until I was about 16. And then I was like, 'OK, I can play around with melodies.' I started writing songs," he recalls.
The suggestion to change his name came from his "Red Button" collaborator and fellow Bay Area native G-Eazy. "I'll never forget what he said, he was like, 'Coming from an artist with a bad rap name to another, you got to change your name,'" laughs Mansa. "Then I told him my name, and [G-Eazy] was like, 'Dude, run with that.'"
Mansa's early meeting with G-Eazy and staying in touch helped solidify the feature for "Red Button." He notes, "I met G when I was about 17, 18 and it was at one of his video shoots. I was able to play him some music of mine early on, and long story short, I played him my music and he was like, 'Yo, you got it.'" Fast-forward four, five years later and the two whipped up a collaboration. "After 'Red Button' was complete, we sent it to G and he was like, 'Yo, this song is fire,' and he just hopped on it," he says.
The inspiration for "Red Button" came from Justin Bieber's hit "Love Yourself." "I recently found out that it was written by one of my favorite artists, Ed Sheeran," Mansa explains. "I wanted to make something like that, my own relationship diss track."
Hit the "Red Button" with Mansa's track below.