08 September 2017
In our series, "The Artist is Present,” we get to know and revel in the minds behind Africa’s creative world in fashion, art, music, literature, politics and more. We dive below the surface with African artists to talk about their process and purpose.
“I rap a lot” said Sarkodie at the album listening session in London. What the winner of a BET Best International Act in 2012 didn’t say is that he also raps incredibly, if we take into account how consistently articulate and precise his verses are; and the near-flawless delivery of what could either be concise prose or voluble poetry, if one was not illiterate in Twi.
For this fifth album, his label Sarkcess Music has joined forces with the UK-based Dice Recordings. The guest features include Jesse Jagz, Moelogo, Flavour, Korede Bello, Victoria Kimani and label mate Big Narstie. His hit “Pain Killer” with Runtown, released back in February, is here as a bonus.
Highest is executive produced by Sarkodie and Jayso, who has also produced most of the album. Other contributors include Masterkraft, TSpize, Ced Solo, Nova and Guilty Beatz.
It's just my state of mind. It's literally how I feel. It's my current situation now, as I just had a daughter. As far as Ghana and my situation is concerned, it's my state of mind as of now. You need to get the album to know what I'm thinking.
Whatever you choose to live with [from the album]. I have people that wouldn't like the song with Flavour, they would rather want some real hip-hop thing. So when it comes out, whatever that you choose to rock to, it's up to whoever.
Mostly what we do, we put out the music and then we rush to shoot the video. That makes your be in a rush and your might lose the momentum of what the song can do. To be safe, I took two years to really prepare myself and get the visuals for it ready. So, as soon as the album is out, you're ready to put the music videos out.
It's for different markets but I'm not pushing myself outside my comfort zone. It's just that I'm growing, the more I get used to a sound I'll try it, 'cause I can do it. It's not too far away from me. There's no record that isn't a Sarkodie record on here.
People love rap. It's just that it's hard to come across good rap these days. That's the only issue. If you really can rap, they'll listen to it. That's what I'm doing. I'm a rapper so I have to stand for it.
We need to just change how we think. Just cause you understand a person, that's just a pass for the person to be number one and that's not cool. Take Khuli Chana from SA, that's one of my best MCs worldwide. I really don't understand what he's saying, it's just that he's so good. Your can't fight that, you know that this guy's good.
My rap literally represents me and how I am. So even in Ghana, if I speak Twi you'll still find a little bit of English in there. I might not even know how to pronounce certain words in Twi. We did English in school. It's just that naturally, I'm not going to speak English 24/7. That's not gonna happen. I'm a Ghanaian guy. I want to speak my Ghanaian language. I combine them when I'm talking, so it's the same when it comes to rap. There's no difference.
I think I'm way matured, so my state of mind is different from 5 or 6 years ago. I would have been more about the hype and not been realistic about who has your best interests at heart. With Dice I think it was the perfect situation because they genuinely love Sarkodie and they love the work. They want to do it. I want them to do it. That's the energy you need around.
Better than to get the hype and people bigging you up. People treating you like a visitor in the situation. People only talking to you because it's business as if to say “we don't really like the music. We just want to do it because you have the numbers.”
I know that my state of mind has played a role in my success. I've always been happy because my situation is: I have people that believe in me around me. Even without a dime that belief alone is priceless. And that's the same thing with Dice. They really really like that brand, so when I felt like that, I thought “this is the right thing to do and the right people to work with and they're well connected.” So you can have both things that you need in one. The love is there. The business side is also sorted.
Music is about what you see and I'm a real artist. I'm doing music. I'm so into it. So I need to feel it. So, when I'm here [in London], with the things I see, it might change my message so… I don't understand it. I'm still trying to figure out how you guys live.
Unless I stay here for like a year or two, then maybe. To write something out of this is weird. But when I’m back home, just to see street people just walking and the stuff they talk about... it's like they have this raw thing. I'm inspired every second in Ghana. The fact that I know that I'm there, it's way easier to write.
Nasty C, Cassper Nyovest, and Khuli Chana.
A-Reece and L.A. rapper Joey Fatts release their first collaborative single ahead of their upcoming mixtape.
Khuli Chana's 'Buyile' music video features hip-hop and amapiano's finest — Lady Du, Tyler I.C.U, DJ Sumbody, Stino Le Thwenny and more.
South African authorities will evict at least 1600 protesting refugees and asylum seekers after giving them the option of either repatriating or re-integrating into local communities.
Producer extraordinaire Josiah De Disciple reintroduces himself on his flawless sophomore album 'Spirits of Makoela, Vol 2: The Reintroduction'.
The Cameroonian government has sentenced Shakiro and Mouthe "Patricia" Roland to five years in prison and fined them heavily for 'attempting homosexuality'.