GIBRIL DA AFRICAN A.K.A. THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE HUSTLER
Gibril Mansaray (November 27th, 1981 - Present), is an African hip hop artist based out of Jersey City, New Jersey. He is primarily known by his stage name Gibril da African a.k.a. The Foreign Exchange Hustler.
Born in Accra, Ghana, located in the western sector of Africa, Gibril entered the world at a time of great unrest within the country and government. As the youngest sibling of 2 brothers and 3 sisters, he was often left to fend for himself not only at home but also on the streets of Africa. He relied heavily on the positive influences of his father, a technology enthusiast from Sierra Leone, and mother, an English aficionado from Ghana, to guide him both spiritually and mentally through the everyday rigidity of life in a country that had already experienced constant instability over the years.
Eventually, the temptation, or “Babylon” as he regularly refers to it, of uncontrolled adolescence caught up with Gibril. He felt his talents and aspirations in life were being confined, and not enhanced, by the educational institutions attempting to instruct him on the ways of the world. This resulted in a nomadic attendance record across various schools throughout Africa, from Nigeria (St. Leo Ikeja), to Togo (I.S.L. Lome), to Ghana (Achimota and Adisadel).
Gibril first developed an obsession for hip hop music at the tender age of 12, largely in part to his older brother, when he lived in Lome Togo. Ironically, the record he remembers most affecting his affinity for music was “Cocaine Business Controls America,” the country he would later call home. As Gibril so eloquently put it, “It was different from the Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer I was listening to.” By junior high school, he was already writing and memorizing his own lyrics.
Known as “G -MacDaddy a.k.a. G-Macster,” he formed an artistic union with his childhood friend Rasta Bubu and the two recorded their first song entitled “The Microphone.” The song received highly touted regard and admiration throughout the Adisadel campus and became somewhat of an anthem for those students who wanted to use music as a form of release and self-expression. Dedicating the majority of his time to his new-found passion in life, Gibril allowed his studies to be negatively affected and began to lose focus of his education. He once again moved to a different locality of Africa (this time Cotonu Benin) to complete his last year of senior high school. Dedicating the majority of his time to his new-found passion in life, Gibril allowed his studies to be negatively affected and began to lose focus of his education. He once again moved to a different locality of Africa (this time Cotonu Benin) to complete his last year of senior high school.
Upon completing senior high school in 2000, Gibril made a decision that changed his life forever. With the economic turbulence of Ghana’s banking system in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s due to the substantial losses from a number of bad loans in their portfolios, as well as the failed comprehensive reforms immediately thereafter, still fresh in his mind, he decided that the United States was the only outlet he could utilize to make his dreams a reality.
One message that was embedded into Gibril's mind, whether by family or friend, was "never give up, never forget where you came from." After traveling the country looking for opportunity to knock, from Ohio to Illinois to Mississippi, he finally opened the door in 2002 when he reunited with his partner Wanlov in 2002 in Killeen, TX, and formed the rap group Rapskallyonz. In 2004, Gibril moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to attend Alcorn State University and study economics while also pursuing his music in the depths of Louisiana. After about a year, he moved to New Jersey to continue his education in economics at New Jersey City University. Not knowing at the time, this move would prove to be a blessing in disguise for Gibril as it allowed him to be closer to New York, the music capital of the world.
Gibril purchased an instrumental mix-tape compact disc in Newark, New Jersey, and was introduced to the sounds of QC Funk a.k.a. The Streets Number One Producer. He began recording a series of mix-tapes with QC Funk called the Foreign Exchange Hustler and in 2006, released the Foreign Exchange Hustler Volume One.Gibril purchased an instrumental mix-tape compact disc in Newark, New Jersey, and was introduced to the sounds of QC Funk a.k.a. The Streets Number One Producer. He began recording a series of mix-tapes with QC Funk called the Foreign Exchange Hustler and in 2006, released the Foreign Exchange Hustler Volume One.
His big break came in 2008 when he began working with Africa Online Records. The company was established by super producer Eric Matlock a.k.a. Coptic, the man responsible for chart-topping records such as “I Need a Girl” by P. Diddy. Gibril’s string of good fortune continued a year later when he was introduced to the legendary M1 from the group “Dead Prez.” After months of discussing a possible collaboration with the musical genius, Gibril’s hard work and determination finally came to fruition when he released his first official single in the U.S., properly titled, "The Streets of Africa," in the summer of 2009. The appearance of M1 of “Dead Prez” on his single opened a plethora of doors for Gibril, which culminated with his second feature on an album, this time with award-winning producer DJ Child. They connected instantly and their work together can best be described as captivating. The result – “All I Know,” which was produced and recorded by DJ Child and released on his “Forward Ever” album from “Project Groundation” on April, 13th, 2009. Like they told him before he left Africa, "Never give up, never forget where you came from."