Sarkodie

Every artist from Ghana has their own special kind of style. I came across Sarkodie and instantly became very interested in his particular sound. Sarkodie has a way of entwining English and Ghanian slang together with such a nice flow that makes you think oh snap let me hear something else. One song that stuck out to me the most was Adonai, he talks about the powers of God the almighty, how he was saved from his troubled past by the lord. Continue reading “Sarkodie”

Comparing Ghanaian Hip Hop to Nigerian Pop Culture

I’d like to draw your attention to two very talented African artists that have been making major mainstream noise in the music industry and show no signs of slowing down in the future. African rapper Sarkodie and African pop artist WizKid both are musically talented artists but vary differently in the deliverance of their genre of choice. I am going to compare style and lyrics from Sarkodie’s song Adonai ft. Castro to WizKid’s song Ojuelegba. Adonai begins with a nice beat and then soon goes into a steady uptempo tune with Castro speaking and then followed by Sarkodie. Now, this isn’t your average hip-hop song that normally would catch you off guard but Sarkodie is making an ode to God for blessing him with gifts such as his talent amongst other things that he is grateful for. For an artist such as Sarkodie, he raps mostly in his native language which is Twi so you will not understand anything in the song except for the part “Hallelujah”. As noted, he does rap rather fast and he carries all the qualities of being a rapper such as the dark glasses, the choice in clothing and the hand gestures he uses. His style can be considered multifaceted which is always good for rappers trying to tell stories. On the other hand, you have a softer mellow beat when WizKid’s Ojuelegba comes into play. I first heard this song on the radio because the remix had featured Canadian recording Drake. Ojuelegba speaks about Wizkids experience in his native land Nigeria. Unlike Sarkodie, WizKid sings in English use what it sounds like, a little of autotune to enhance his voice. There is one shot in the video that shows him in the studio wearing dark glasses and his chains which definitely separates him from Sarkodie but both artists show gratitude in their songs.

Home w/Sarkodie – Adonai fr. Castro

One can really enjoy this song, because of the way it has a good mixture of singing and rapping. Throughout the video, they are screaming hallelujah throughout the entire video. They are rapping and singing in some west African language. I am from Sierra Leone a country in west Africa, so I could pick up on some of the phrases throughout the song. The main message of the song was that they wanted to ultimately praise God for everything he had done for them. The rapper Castro is even dressed up as if he is a priest throughout certain scenes of the music video. Both artist are completely satisfied with the gifts that God has blessed them with. The music video actually takes place inside of a church. They show that their faith is to Christianity and the Lord. One of the key words throughout the song is Hallelujah. This is done to give all the praise to God, and truly glorify his name. I liked how they did not use the rap versus for a negative connotation, and they actually made it positive rap. This song was created by a Ghanaian artist. There were several prosperous messages passed out throughout this song. The artist is trying to say when you give everything to God, he will take care of everything else. Also, that one should not worry if they truly believe in God. This is something that we talk about even in my church, so I enjoyed the video. I will definitely add this song to my personal playlist, as motivation to help me get through the daily battles I face throughout life.

Sarkodie & The Pain Killer

Ghanaian artist Sarkodie bursts onto the scene with a new hit entitled “Pain Killer” featuring Nigerian artist Runtown. Released February 3, 2017, the video for the tune is set in a location filled with trees and mountains which stands as a beautiful backdrop as the two rappers drive down a winding road in a red Jeep, with two very attractive women dancing in the backseat. When watching, one can’t help but to sing along to this catchy melody.

The style of the song has less of a grimy hip-hop beat, but exudes more of a traditional, African beat through the use of drums. The beat is infectious and as a listener, I could not help but vibe to it. In addition, the visuals in the music video were very aesthetically pleasing and matched the tone of the song.

As for the message of the song I received it as such: the girl is Sarkodie and Runtown’s personified version of a pain killer. She makes things easier for them with her beauty and love. Runtown says: “Baebe, Mad for body oo/ Craze for your body oo/Sing for your body oo…” This shows his infatuation for the young lady. His awe is followed up by Sarkodie when he says, “See my baby make i realize/say the groupies and the side chicks all den bi lies/They wear bikini/intentionally to show thighs/Nobody compare to my baby because den bi low price…”With this, Sarkodie is ensuring his love interest that his love is only for her and no one can come between it; not even other, scantilly clad women.

Overall, Sarkodie and Runtown produced a hit that will definitely do well on the hip-hop charts. They created a hip-hop love ballad that differs greatly from the typical, slow-melody love song. The duo offer a fresh feel to the presentation of love in music.

Ghanaian Groves

I’m relatively new to the intricate and unique sounds of African Hip Hop. There is a great sense of diverse sounding Hip Hop that I’m simply not used to nor was I aware of.  One thing that I’ve learned in my new journey into sound is the amazing music that is produced by Ghanaian rap artists. The Hip Hop scene in Ghana is responsible for producing some of Africa’s rawest sounding artists. Artists like Reggie Rockstone, M.Anifest, Wanluv The Kubolor, Tinny, Sarkodie, the list goes on. With that being said my discovery of Edem’s Gbevu was pleasantly on par with my expectations. Edem is a popular Ghanaian rapper who spits in ewe. For myself, I personally find his music a bet refreshing because the language barrier is easier to manage. Although this is not a socially conscious track I believe it has major international potential.

The instrumental to the track Gbevu has an almost Ghanaian/ middle eastern flavor. It’s pleasantly similar to a sound that Timberland the american super producer would create. I would like to note that the sounds of auto-tune here are pleasantly layered over his chorus vocals.  When I watched the official video for the track I instantly noticed the familiar fashion. Everything from the skinny jeans tucked in timbs, Adidas tennis shoes, Hennis & Morits sweatshirts, snap-back hats, ray band sunshades, form fitting extended length T shirts look American.

There are even instances in the video where popular american dances are either mentioned or subtly performed. (Edem mentions and does the migos’ Dab at 1:11 in the video above followed by a milly rock at 2:20) I mentioned that because I’m happy to see integration of African American culture with Ghanaian culture.  Growing up African in America its popular to believe that Africans in Africa want nothing to do with African-Americans or their culture. Seeing things like American dances, fashion and even hearing american influences debunk that belief. Edem is an amazing talent and I look forward to discover more tantalizing sounds of the motherland.

 

 

Ghana’s Hip Hop Artists

In this post I will analyze two different Ghanaian hip hop artists. The first is rapper Edem who has released two albums in his career so far. In Edem’s song Heyba he slams all of his competition claiming he is the best. “Heyba” translates into English as “Not on my level” Although the music is not in English, I found a website that translates the lyrics into English here.

In class we discussed how rappers from other countries make references to American culture. In order to do so however, one must be familiar with pop culture references as well as language. In the song Heyba, Edem makes references to Italian wine and Irv Gotti. Meaning that Edem is familiar with American hip hop culture.

The music video was extremely appealing. The women in the video were dressed in traditional African dress and makeup. The video had a scary element to it. At one point face were coming out of the wall and there was even a bengal tiger in the video. All of these elements were combined to show the power that Edem has as a rapper.

The second video by hip hop artist Sarkodie called Take it Back has the same scary feel to it. Again showing the power Sarkodie has a rapper. Although parts of the song were in English it was still difficult to understand. The visual elements help viewers to accurately understand what the artist is trying to say exactly. At one point in the video there is a person with a gas mask on burning a sign that says “weak flow” possibly referring to his competitors. From the video and lyrics combined my understanding is that maybe someone dissed him in another rap song and this is his reply to that song.

The videography in both songs were strong and appealing. They allowed for great entertainment and were visually stimulating.

 

Illuminati by Sarkodie

Sarkodie is a hip hop artist/ rapper from Tena, Ghana. His full name is Michael Owusu Addo. In 2012 he won the BET Award for Best International Act and in 2014 he won an Independent Music Award for Best Song: Rap or Hip Hop.  When I listen to the song it sounds like an American hip hop song that you would hear today. As I was watching it I noticed a lot of similarities between his video and the videos you see hear in America. When you look at the video it shows him in the dessert and it seems  as though he is doing a deal with some guys who seemed to be Arabs, kind of like what you would see in an American video. You also saw the glorification of woman as sexual objects objects with the woman in the dessert. His style of rapping is very fast and very hard. He talks a low about power. Listening to his lyrics I found them to be hard to understand until you listen to the song like two or three times. In the song he talks about controversial contracts that he has been given which has he has learned from and has learned how to deal with the struggles of being famous and negotiating. In one part he says “the Lord is still my Shepherd, he is regarding his upbringing and religion as an impact on life. When I looked up some reasons for the song being called Illuminati, I was shocked at his reasoning for it. He talks about how when he was struggling to become a successful rapper, no one helped and no one looked at him as being one but when he finally became successful, people bean to call him the Illuminati and regard him as an Illuminati because of his fame and his style.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?

sarkodie-illuminati-lyrics

Sarkodie -Hand to Mouth

Sarkodie is a Ghanaian rapper from Tema. He was raised by a single mother along with his siblings. Sarkodie started rapping at a young age and continued throughout his life no matter what he was doing, even after earning a graphic design degree from the IPMC. When he was young and aspiring he would participate in rap battles that got him noticed by some big names on the Ghanaian hip hop and hiplife circuit. After featuring on a few songs with established hip hop artist in Ghana he would eventually record his first album, “Makye”  not too long after his discovery and release his first single, “Baby” which would go on to become an instant hit in Ghana and other parts of West Africa and secure his name as a prominent figure in the Ghanaian hip hop scene. Sarkodie released a song named “Hand to Mouth” in 2015 which was very well received in Ghana. The song is very hard hip hop style oriented in terms of the flow in which he’s rapping and the beat of the song itself. He’s rapping in a language I’m not familiar with but judging from the music video, it’s probably something along the lines of braggadocio and glorification of his quickly found success. The song is very catchy even though I can’t understand what is being said . Aside from the fact that the song is catchy and has a nice beat, Sarkodie has a very nice flow when he raps. It’s obvious he takes his career and craft very seriously when recording. Overall it’s an enjoyable track that deserves a listen.

Sarkodie-Hand to Mouth

Sarkodie

Sarkodie-A

Biography

Sarkodie is a Ghanaian artist that raps in his native language but is heavily influenced by Western hip-hop and considered a large contributor to the Azonto dance and genre. His real name is Michael Owusu Addo and he was born in Tema, Ghana in 1988. Although Sarkodie typically raps in his native language, Twi, he has won multiple awards for his range of musical styles. He has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with American musicians and artists including Ludacris, T-Pain, and more in the United States and became the first Ghanaian to win an award for “Best International Act Africa” at the BET Awards. The artist enables himself to tour Ghana and spread his talent with fans.

Sarkodie has remained successful because he followed through with his initial plan by staying original and true to himself. In addition, he knew that his sound was a lot stronger when rapped in his native language opposed to English. He attracts his audience through focused messages and targeted people outside of Ghana so that the mutual relationship to the lyrics could form. Sarkodie’s most recent project, Sarkology, displays his artistic and unique talent featured in the content in the thirty songs.

Artist Review

When the song “Illuminati” began, I didn’t realize that the song was in English until the end of the first verse. This immediately grabbed my attention because it was something that I wasn’t expecting. As I continued listening, I recognized his style and liked the direction the song was headed. The Western influences on the song quickly attracted my interest because it was a similar sound but with a new and different style. Since he mixes his native language, Tumi, with English, Sarkodie indirectly forces you to pay attention to the message being delivered. Sarkodie also goes a step further when he is rapping to switch up his rap speed to his songs. The fast paced rap portion of the song is great because you are seeing the true talent of this artist. He manages to speed up his tempo while continuing to deliver content to his audience.

The music video for this song is also relatable because it contains many of the same characteristics of Western hip-hop videos. Since “Illuminati” is about money and power, there are various scenes that help implement that concept. For example, Sarkodie appears to be dressed in nice clothing and flashy jewelry to show that money can get you the power to by expensive items. There is also a scene of the artist driving in an expensive car to make a transaction with men he is affiliated with in business. From start to finish, the video is enjoyable to watch and a refreshing style to take in.