Album Review: Feso “Manifeso”

For all those in Bloomington looking for some decent Hip-Hop, I can tell you, hands down, that FeSo is the real deal.

"Manifeso" Album Artwork by Alex Chesterfield (Click to stream album!)

Manifeso is the first full-length release from Naperville, Illinois native and recent IU-Bloomington grad Brandon Smith, musically known as FeSo. In his own words, his flow is “fierce like Chicago in the Wintertime”, and this guy seriously knows where it’s at with some killer beats, clever rhymes, and words that actually MEAN something. FeSo raps for life, meaning he writes with purpose and words that inspire change. From the top of the record with “Go Get It” to it’s closing “Exit Song”, Manifeso is the rap album I have been waiting my whole life to hear, and I couldn’t be prouder to see it not only come from someone I know, but from such a young mind.


Manifeso is an album deep with powerful messages that will leave you chanting “Wassup wit da O.N.S.?” In it’s 10-track glory, Manifeso covers everything from going for your dreams, being yourself, and inspiring active change, to appreciating the fun memories of the past and a clever track about shopping for a new pair of sneaks.

FeSo @ Live From Bloomington's NOISE
FeSo @ Live From Bloomington's NOISE

The freshest beats on the album are obvious in “For The Record” and “Untitled”, two standout tracks that make you want to blast them in your car stereo with the windows down and your head bumpin’ like there’s no tomorrow. Fun and catchy tracks “Be Me” and “Old’s Kool” are all about personal taste, the first about trips to the record store and shoe store to pick out some new favorites, and the latter about appreciating that old school sound.

The stand-out track in terms of message is clearly “Change” the album’s sixth track. With lyrics like “Instead of brainwashing kids to but ice on their chests, take that money to the bank and seek to invest” and “the pen is mightier than the sword” you know this guy has the right things on his mind. The track also name-drops inspirational speakers like Tavis Smiley and Michael Eric Dyson. Other change-themed tracks include a call-out to all those who consider themselves rappers in “I Forgot” and the cleverly designed “O.N.S.” that gives you a lesson in proper 21st century courting.

Pick any track on this album and you are introduced to a strong, young voice ripe with a fresh message to society and a flow like you wouldn’t believe. FeSo is well on his way to making his dreams come true as he opened for the IU Little 500 concert featuring Ludacris this spring (as seen in the video above)

Aside from dropping his first full-length, FeSo was also featured on the 24th annual Live From Bloomington compilation CD this year, performing two crowded shows for a Hoosier Hills Food Bank Benefit.

Spend a little time getting to know his music, and I am sure you will find yourself becoming a FeSo fan.

Here’s one of my old school FeSo favorites:

**Download FeSo’s “For The Record” FREE

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ManiFes Blog
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