A Pulse interview with Ghanaian superstar rapper Sarkodie


As music in Africa is worried, Sarkodie has gained all of it, he has completed all of it, and he retains doing it. From releasing his seventh studio album ‘Jamz’ in 2022 which featured a crop of Afrobeats budding superstars to kicking off 2023 with a historic official remix of a Bob Marley traditional, Sarkodie stays on the head of Africa’s Hip Hop desk.

Like many, particularly followers outdoors Ghana, my first interplay with Sarkodie’s music was the energetic dance report ‘U Go Kill Me’ on which he featured EL. The report is a traditional that tells a narrative of the soundscape on the time and over a decade later, Sarkodie has been in a position to morph with traits and modifications within the business.

His newest providing is a remix of Bob Marley and The Wailers timeless report ‘Stir It Up’. Sarkodie delivered two verses that straddle the world-famous refrain and this composition and the second that created it was described as one the highlights of his profession. It was an enormous second that he tells me he solely believed after the label despatched him the vocals.

“My supervisor advised me that the label has an curiosity in us leaping on the mission. At first, I did not consider it. I did not take note of it as a result of I did not consider it was attainable till we went to London and met with the label, they usually despatched me the vocals. It is one of many largest highlights of my life thus far.”

The Marley household is firmly rooted in music similar to the Kutis who’re Afrobeat royalties. Damian and Skipp have carried on Bob Marley’s legacy and I used to be curious to know their reception to the remix. Sarkodie advised me the household has been supportive albeit he has by no means met them but, one thing he advised me could be altering quickly.

“The household had been very supportive of the remix. They heard my verse they usually gave their blessings they usually additionally posted the songs. I have not met them but however I might be in Jamaica for the primary time quickly so I hope to satisfy them.”

When it comes to capability, Sarkodie’s writing and supply are within the superlative. He leaves his imprint on each report and most occasions completely outshines different rappers with whom he has shared moments. For his verse on Bob Marley’s ‘Stir It UP,’ I requested him if he eased by way of his take or if the load of the second made him put a bit of extra thought and time into it than he would ordinarily do. Sarkodie tells me, it took him near every week to ship his verse.

“It was a giant process. It wasn’t my ordinary recording session as a result of I am laying my verse subsequent to the legend on a track folks already love. The strain was there however in between, I’ve to not snap out of it and simply do me. However I made positive that the lyrics had been acceptable and I got here up with the melody and the circulate of the rap earlier than infusing the lyrics.”

He tells me his first verse had a whole lot of English which he needed to remake to have extra of his indigenous language upon the label’s request.

“So I form of did two verses. The primary one was dominated by English and the household insisted that they needed extra of my language so I did the second which is on the track.”

Sarkodie is without doubt one of the most adorned artists in Africa. He has gained the BET, MAMAs, Headies, and Sound Metropolis MVP, nominated for the EMAs and the MOBO. If there is a listing of African rappers who can deliver residence a Grammy, Sarkodie will possible high the listing. I requested him if he has his eyes on the largest prize in music, particularly as his collaboration with Bob Marley can place him for the award. Sarkodie tells me he wasn’t specializing in the Grammy whereas making the report however he welcomes all potentialities that observe the track.

“I wasn’t considering of the Grammys after I was making the report. I simply make music organically however I embrace something that may take my profession to the following degree and the Grammy can do this. I will not rule out the truth that it is attainable.”

The Nigerian music business is intently knitted to its Ghanaian counterpart. This can be a inventive collaboration that began within the 60s and 70s and reduce throughout generations of Nigerian artists similar to Fela Kuti, 2baba, Wande Coal, Wizkid, and Davido. Sarkodie is without doubt one of the Ghanaian superstars whose music is common in Nigerian and who has collaborated with a number of Nigerian artists. I requested concerning the nature of his relationship with the Nigerian music business and he advised me it is no totally different from working along with his Ghanaian compatriots.

“The collaborations between Nigeria and Ghana run means again as Fela so it did not begin with our technology. For me, A Nigerian is Ghanaian and vice versa so working with Nigerian artists is much like working with my Ghanaian brothers.”

After near twenty years as an expert with greater than half of that as a celebrity, Sarkodie continues to remain in tune with the evolution within the music business. This solidifies his place as head of the desk whereas additionally partnering seamlessly with budding superstars as he did on his newest album ‘Jamz’. I requested Sarkodie how he is in a position to keep on the high whereas lots of his fellow Hip Hop friends reclined, and he tells me he is perpetually seeking new experiences.

“I obtained into music as a method to specific my emotions and actuality, and this hasn’t modified regardless of my standing or the kind of music I make. I take heed to my inside self and know that issues change based on totally different eras. I respect sound and love music, so I do know making music with totally different artists takes me to totally different realms.”

Sarkodie has advanced like most Hip Hop legends. From being a younger rapper hungry for achievement to changing into a celebrity, and a household man whose music is some extent of reference for budding rappers. I ask Sarkodie if being a household man has formed his artwork.

“Having a household has helped me to remain grounded. , as a star, we generally are propelled by dopamine from the success and the love of the followers so these items could make you get carried away. Nevertheless, having a household has helped me to all the time keep in mind the issues that matter.”

Having reached the heights of Hip Hop, I requested Sarkodie if hopes to transcend music similar to American Hip Hop icons. He tells me there’s a lot he hopes to perform past music.

“Till it occurs, will probably be tough to speak about it. However sure, I am engaged on various things. , having a primary track within the nation feels extra thrilling after I was youthful however now, not a lot. So now, I form of have a unique excessive that is what conjures up me to look past the music. Hopefully, quickly I can announce one thing.”

Sitting on the head of the desk for over a decade means budding rappers throughout the continent look as much as Sarkodie. As is Hip Hop custom, younger rappers are likely to take swipes on the leaders of the style, most occasions, to announce their intention. This just lately performed out with South African star Nasty C who narrated how he was snubbed by Sarkodie when he was an up-and-coming artist.

I requested Sarkodie if he is snug with younger rappers coming for the crown and he tells me it comes with the territory.

“It is rap. I used to try this after I was arising as a battle MC however my musical journey was not based mostly on that. I did not attempt to assault the crown and take it as a result of you find yourself taking it with out occupied with it. The kings are simply price it as a result of they confirmed their capability and consistency. The battle facet of me saved me on my toes regardless that I grew to become industrial however for me, it was by no means about killing anyone lyrically, it is about all the time being the very best model of myself and displaying consistency”

Sarkodie’s recommendation to budding rappers is for them to deal with their craft as a result of the musical journey is simply greater than out rapping anyone.

“Music journey could be very lengthy so one should study to regulate the ego facet of it. It is extra than simply out-rapping anyone as a result of what issues is consistency and the legacy you possibly can construct over time. It is about placing within the work and doing it for your self, and earlier than it, you can be shocked at how far you have come.”

African Hip Hop loved its industrial heights within the early 2010s with Sarkodie, Ice Prince, M.I, and AKA among the many rappers who dominated the scene. The style has slowly declined in industrial attraction whereas Afrobeats rose to prominence. At present, there are talks concerning the non-commercial attraction and linear sound of Hip Hop in Africa. Whereas the idea that Hip Hop is useless is an incorrect one it is nonetheless held by many. I requested Sarkodie for his opinion about this and he tells me music evolves and even rappers would possibly must evolve with it.

“Rap is sort of a subset of music so there has all the time been a restrict to it, particularly in Africa the place folks love to bounce. I really feel like a whole lot of rappers can transfer round and discover totally different sounds and nonetheless get again to rap. My hardcore followers do not get pleasure from my industrial music. However I like music so I can soar on totally different sounds. However I do not see the panic with Hip Hop as a result of persons are nonetheless rapping and the style will nonetheless rise once more.”

In a latest interview, Sarkodie talked about having a joint tour with fellow Ghanaian superstars Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale. I requested him if this would possibly occur quickly and he tells me it is not as easy as followers would possibly suppose however he hopes it occurs.

“It isn’t straightforward coming collectively and doing issues with such highly effective individuals who’ve their issues occurring. Nevertheless, as I mentioned, it is one thing I’ll like to do and if there’s somebody that may deliver us all collectively then I am open to it.”

After over a decade as a celebrity, Sarkodie has kicked off 2023 on a excessive that is now develop into synonymous along with his illustrious profession. He tells me he is planning a world tour which can take off from the place he dropped off in 2022.

After over a decade on the high, Sarkodie stays Africa’s Hip Hop King, sitting on the head of the desk and inspiring budding Hip Hop superstars to take their sits.

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