Sarkodie, “The Masses”, 2015

Sarkodie’s lyrical hymn, “The Masses” captures the need for Ghanaians to empower themselves through a revolution and find unity in the face of corrupt leadership. The artist’s decision to record his song in Twi was a powerful choice and an act of resistance in itself as indigenous languages are tied to identity. Western imperialists regarded African’s tongues as uncivilized and prohibited the practice of them so Sarkodie reclaims his people’s narrative. The artist must have known that producing this song made him vulnerable to state persecution, but he accepted that risk to expose the realities which most citizens, “are too scared to say”. He includes effective similes and metaphors to capture the depth of suffering among his people, comparing the economy to a “six feet hole at the cemetery”. Furthermore, Sarkodie grabbed me in with his statement, “I blame us Ghanaians”. It’s easy for citizens to blame the government for their poverty which may be true, but Sarkodie expressed Ghanaians also have a duty to fight back. Overall, I think listeners in his home country would feel motivated to challenge state repression after hearing this song for Sarkodie himself accepted the risks of protest. He shed light on Ghanaians’ exploitation by elite politicians and demonstrated a sense of urgency to rise up in order to survive. When Sarkodie says “then it is up to you”, Ghanaian audiences see that they all can have an active role in mutual empowerment. Finally, Sarkodie’s decision to end his rap in a plea for unity was imperative since it brought listeners together in a mutual effort to empower themselves.  My only suggestion would be that I think a more uplifting hymn in the chorus would have captured the benefits and freedom that could come from revolution. The same beat was played throughout the song which was rather intense and abrasive relative to the content and lyrics. The song was quite inspirational merely based off of its lyrics, but I think this decision would’ve aided in conveying the emotional sentiment behind revolution.

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