“Is he from Australia? Oh I thought he was from London,” says Outkast’s Big Boi. He’s commenting on a music video he’s watching on an iPad, a bit for an MTV Australia spot. If you don’t know the rapper he’s referring to, it’s Manu Crook$, the Sydney rapper who has recently dropped the visuals for his latest hit, Different League.
What Big Boi articulates in an unassuming question is the global vibe and sound that is defining Manu Crook$ as Australia’s next superstar in the making, and watching the new clip leaves no questions as to why.
Much has been said about Australia’s shifting Hip-Hop landscape, with the global dominance of trap opening up new sonic avenues and stream-topping journeys for this country’s future elite.
Since 2016, Manu has lit up Spotify and Apple Music playlists with every single release. Currently, Presence, Everyday and Day Ones are all sitting on over 1 million Spotify streams.
Likewise, the latter two songs, as well as Blowin’ Up (featuring Miracle), are all clocking in healthy stats, obliterating the million view mark on YouTube. It’s this explosive trajectory that lays the foreground for the dark and introspective visuals of Different League.
The sinister synths and lurking hi-hats produced by fellow Sydney talent, Miracle, find the African-Australian mogul-in-the making skulking through a picturesque backdrop, and you understand Big Boi’s confusion for a moment; until Manu’s sleepy but playful tones roll in, then all comparisons stop.
If the crisp visuals of French director Aden Gauthier juxtaposed with crisp retro colour grading of Berko & Titan’s editing chops don’t paint a clear enough picture, the lyrics do:
“I was plotting in my room just last year / now I’m overseas and the vision is so clear”
The sounds and the sights echo the title perfectly. Manu Crook$ has been dominating the local and overseas market. On Different League we hear from the man himself exactly what the view is like from the top, “Overseas, we flyin’ just to follow what they dream…”