On Edge with Def Jam Recording Artist: Mann
Who are you?
I’m Mann. A musician. Signed to Mercury Island/Def Jam. 19 years old, out of the Westside of Los Angeles. I rep that hard. I’m a birthday boy, which means I live life like everyday is my birthday. That’s how WE live life; me and my crew, me and my people. That’s all I stand for: having fun.
Define your style.
I’m really cool. That’s the one word that describes me as a whole. I’m cool, calm, chill and confident. That shows in my music. I like to have a lot of fun. I like to smile. I’m not one of those artists who try to shy away from being a real person. I’m really a real dude.
What’s with the name “Mann”?
Mann is a family nickname. My real name is Dijon. I was always young but acted older, and I was always with older people; all of my friends were in college when I was a freshman in high school. So everybody used to call me “little man” and when I started rapping I just didn’t want anything “lil”.
What sets you apart?
I’m aware of artist stereotypes and how artists can be perceived in the media. It’s like you gotta be cocky if you’re artistic or you’re this or you’re that. But I’m just a regular person. I make music, I make GOOD music but I’m aware of who I am and I’m confident in who I am. A lot of artists put on this big act…I’m outspoken but I’m not rude, I’m not none of that. I’m chill, I’m just REALLY who I am. I think that separates me. It seems simple but it’s a big difference between me and a lot of artists.
What do you think is missing from hip-hop?
Hip-hop was missing originality and now it’s starting to come back. It was missing originality for so long that now if you are original, you’re amazing. Whereas back in the day if you were original, you were a new artist. Every new artist should be original but now being original is such a big deal.
What do you want people to feel or take away from your music?
I want them to get the birthday philosophy down. I want them to truly understand the blessing of life. I just want people to feel like they can really connect with me on others level besides music. I want them to love me as a person. I want them to love the way I live life. I know my life is stress free because of the choices I made.
Why are you an artist who deserves to “Be Heard”?
I have something to say. I have a message. I’m from LA and I’m not from Beverly Hills or anything, I’m from the hood of LA. But I’m not a gangbanger, there are kids in the hood who want to be heard and they’re not nerds per say or football players. There are kids out there who are really talented who have something to say and I have something to say. I just really want to show that, especially in my city.
Interview By: Iman Milner
Photography By: Ashley B. Nguyen
Click here to Download Birthday Philosophy Mixtape