Sarkodie – Ghana’s multifaceted rapper

Michael Owusu Addo, professionally known as Sarkodie is an upcoming rapper and singer who has made an enormous contribution to the Ghanaian music industry in recent years. He was recently named “Artist of the Decade” by Vodaphone’s Ghana Music Award and won BET’s Best International Hip Hop Artist in 2019. Raised in Tema, 16 miles from Accra (Ghana’s capital), Sarkodie’s music has not only gained popularity nationwide but spread throughout the continent and across international borders, too. 

In July 2021, Sarkodie released his album No Pressure with many of his songs featuring other African artists. One song that stands out in his album is Non Living Thing featuring Nigerian artist Oxlade. In this song, Sarkodie raps about his struggles with relationships and the complexities of falling in love with someone especially when such love is unrequited. The opening line “Why you do me so?” essentially encompasses the whole message of this song as Sarkodie grapples with the reality of losing a relationship he thought would last forever. Phrasing his feelings through asking such a question also emphasizes the confusion, sadness, and feelings of longing he is experiencing. 

Sarkodie – Non Living Thing (feat. Oxlade) [Official Video]

The music video shows a couple arguing, with the woman shouting and evidently frustrated at her partner who doesn’t seem to be listening to what she’s saying or acknowledging her much at all. The intensity of this video combined with the song’s lyrics not only highlights the complexities that arise when navigating relationships but also gives an important insight to masculinity and more specifically black masculinity. In many ways, Sarkodie is using rap to give a detailed understanding of the pain he feels, even if he cannot articulate it through his behavior. In that respect, it can be understood that he is using music as an outlet for his thoughts. Often black men are not expected to show their emotions or feel pain and heartbreak and so by doing so, Sarkodie is challenging such stereotypes and normalizing these emotions. Overall, this song is important in many ways as Sarkodie shows an extremely human side to him and his music—that is typically not seen in many rappers—as he explores how love, loss and masculinity intersect. 

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