When Mano was asked the question “who are you?”, he replied, “I’m a phenomenon”.
Mano is the Chicago born producer, DJ and artist whose love for soul samples and synths has formed the basis of production for the biggest names in hip-hop. From Kanye to 2Chainz, or MIA to Travie Mccoy, Mano’s worked with the best, and most recently The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West) as their tour DJ.
However, what struck us most about Mano was not his musical success, but his undeniable passion for his ‘Treated Crew’ and for the city he was born in. For Mano, the music and the crew he associates himself with are based around creating a sense of identity and honour. Mano states: “It’s the only way something works; everybody is for their brother or sister in our crew and that’s how it should be.”
What sound can we expect from the forthcoming ‘Treated Crew’ album? The Treated Crew sound is dope because it actually is a sound. It’s blending samples per choice heavy square bass John Carpenter type synthesiser and heavy tr 808, 909, 606 drum kits.
What’s your favourite track at the moment, production wise? Production wise hmm… I like a lot of shit that my homie Mike Jaxx makes, he’s a beast. “Nez & Rio” got a really dope sound and my dudes “Da Internz” are killing the charts.
What is Chicago like? Man, Chicago is a juxtaposition of anything and everything that is something. It’s a melting pot of so many cultures, so many races and so many different walks of life. That’s why I feel like I’m an awesomely well-rounded person. If you have the Chicago hustlers spirit… in any other city, a Chicagoan will have the upper hand advantage in my opinion cause there is no industry in here and it forces us to work harder.
What artists have you produced for recently? I did a joint with the homies 2Chainz feat. The Weeknd, “Like Me”. I’ve got some joints with Mac Miller and Big Sean, Tyga, my homie Mickey Rocks, the Hollywood Holt album, Gzus Piece album and most definitely Treated Crew album, I produced the whole thing, plus some other things I can’t mention yet.
What message would you like to communicate? That you can do anything with the people you believe in and who support you. We started something from the ground up and we gonna take it to incredible limits, there is no limit.
Who would you like to see live this year? Probably Die Antwood *laughs* because them motherfuckers crazy as hell. I think their live performance would be dope.
What does the Treated hat mean? I heard you refer to it as a crown. This crown, it means a lot and I made this for something, not only for my Chicago family that I identity with but I made it for honourable people to identity with. A lot of people would think that the design just came from the Old Compton hat but it’s way beyond that. A lot of people don’t know that in Chicago in the 90’s, the beauty supply stores had all black snap backs with white stitching and Old English crown letters that said South Side, West Side, all the parts of Chicago that people were from. I’m from the South Side so I had a South Side hat, even though it was from the beauty supply store it was still dope *laughs*. We made these hats so legitimate people can have something fresh to identify with. Life, Honour, Love & Power! That’s Treated Crew!
Text: Amelia Dimoldenberg
Photography: Dexter Navy