A rapper, singer, producer, songwriter, and filmmaker originally from Ghana, M3NSA is known as a solo artist as well as a founding member of hip-hop group FOKN Bois and, later, RedRed. His first solo album, No. 1 Mango Street, appeared in 2010, the same year FOKN Bois debuted with the comedic musical film and soundtrack Coz Ov Moni. More albums and live appearances with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and the Roots followed before FOKN Bois paid tribute to Afro-pop with the EP Afrobeats LOL in 2019.
The son of Tumi Ebo Ansah, one-time guitarist for British Afro-pop group Osibisa, Mensa Ansah comes from an extended family of artists. His uncles are film director Kwaw Ansah and fashion designer Kofi Ansah, and his cousin is actor Joey Ansah, who appeared in films such as The Bourne Ultimatum and Mission: Impossible - Fallout. M3NSA's mother started teaching him piano when he was eight. His first band, the short-lived hip-hop act the Lifeline Family, put out one album, It Was All a Game, in 1999. At the time, he was rapping under the moniker Shyne (not to be confused with the Diddy associate). As M3NSA, he collaborated as co-producer and featured rapper on Reggie Rockstone's 2004 album Last Show.
He formed FOKN Bois with Wanlov the Kubolor in the late 2000s; the one-time Glastonbury headliners went on to draw comparison to acts ranging from OutKast and Fela Kuti to Flight of the Conchords. Named after his street address, M3NSA issued his solo debut album, No. 1 Mango Street, in 2010, the same year FOKN Bois presented "the first Pidgen musical," the film and soundtrack album Coz Ov Moni. They followed it with the albums The FOKN DunaQuest in Budapest in 2011 and FOKN Wit Ewe in 2012 before the sequel Coz Ov Moni 2: FOKN Revenge appeared in 2014.
M3NSA next teamed up with Hungarian DJ ELO (Élő Márton) to form RedRed, and the duo released the song "Ghetto" featuring Sarkodie in 2015. A year later, FOKN Bois rapped to the instrumental hip-hop album Ode to Ghana, resulting in FOKN Ode to Ghana. Incorporating Afro-pop, they returned with the seven-track EP Afrobeats LOL, in 2019. ~ Marcy Donelson