Michael Manasseh “Gradient Skies” Review

I first heard Michael Manasseh as a guest on the Sev Statik “Golgotha” and the dude killed had kind of a 2mex sound to him. After that I did a search for him on the sphere of hip hop forums to see if he had any material. Lucky for me, he released his debut album “Mike Stands” for free. I downloaded and I liked what I heard from him from a lyrical standpoint, but I felt the production was something to be desired. A couple years later, I learned Manasseh was a graphic designer and was part of a duo with Adam L. I knew in the back of my mind if the Manasseh rapped over some better production he’d be a hit. Enter his sophomore album “Gradient Skies”.

Manasseh really knows how to hold his own on the mike and it all starts off with “Release” the single for the record. I think this song was Manasseh’s coming out party, it was him saying “I’m hot you’re not…..oh by the way you know I can rhyme right?” Manasseh killed the beat and lets the listener know that this is only the beginning and he has a lot to show you on this record.

Moving to one of my favorite tracks on the album “Bully Raps” is just that, raps that show you how to rock the mike right. Now I can’t lie Playdough outshines Manasseh on this one but the duo still bring the heat on this track, with a beat laced from none other than Harry Krum!

Fast-Forward a couple of tracks and we get “Flawed and Beautiful” and “Reflections” two of the reasons that this review took so long to write. “Flawed and Beautiful” is something that we all need to believe, we’ve all made mistakes and we all have flaws, yet God still sees us as beautiful. Manasseh lays it all down, here’s a line that strikes me every time I hear it:

“I’ve cried my eyes dry finding my faith again”

Every single one of us should be able to relate to this song. “Reflections” is an amazing track dedicated to Manasseh’s wife. The beats for both songs are nice and fit well with Manasseh’s voice.

“Dedication” is a track featuring Sev Statik and both emcees cover the dedication to Christ that each emcee has. Now I thought “Flawed and Beautiful” was going to be that track that really sits with me as the best overall track, but I was wrong. “Life Moves” is a track that has a kind of dark sounding beat with Manasseh just talking about his life before Christ. The second verse is all about how he struggles now, but he makes a very interesting point towards the end of the song: He’s done wrong like we all have and all he wants is to show love to people, doesn’t matter what we do, he says he has no right to judge anyone.

This was the album that I really wanted to hear from Manasseh, very nice production with a couple songs kind of falling by the wayside for myself. When it’s all said and done fans of Manasseh will enjoy this album, fans of true hip hop will enjoy this album. So stop reading you sucker ducks and buy “Gradient Skies” plus it’s only $5 ARE YA KIDDING ME!!!

Rating: 4/5 (Great Album, Buy It)

If You Can’t Buy The Album Download These Songs

  1. Life Moves
  2. Flawed and Beautiful
  3. Bully Raps feat. Playdough
  4. Kick Rocks
  5. You Today feat. Jabee

~ by Michael Stover on April 3, 2011.

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