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Sarkodie still top of his game

Ghanaian rapper's sound transcends borders

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Ghanaian rapper and songwriter Sarkodie.
Ghanaian rapper and songwriter Sarkodie.
Image: Supplied.

Ghanaian rapper and songwriter Sarkodie is in SA and hopes to collaborate with some of our local chart-toppers. 

Top of the list are K.O, Maphorisa, Kabza de Small and Musa Keys. 

Born Michael Owusu Addo, he is concurrently shooting a documentary detailing his life and the reception to his seventh studio album No Pressure.

His sound is a fizzing blend of hip-hop and Afrobeat. Under his belt, Sarkodie has sold out shows at London's O2 Kentish Town Forum and performed with international stars such as T-Pain, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and Miguel, who he duetted with at the 2014 MTV Africa Awards.

Having been in the music sphere for a decade, SMag caught up with him about some of his career highlights:

How do you maintain being on top of your game for a decade? 

I always pace myself. The important thing for me is to maintain my love for music; as long as I have that passion inside of me, I believe I won’t lose my spark. There is no plan to stay relevant, I think my passion for my music keeps me on top of the game.  

What is the secret behind your successful music career and international recognition?

I’m always looking for methods to go into new territories, reach new audiences and find new people who can relate to my music. It's always there. Through a combination of hard work, hustle, sincere narrative and captivating flow – the kind that spans language barriers – my wish has come true over the last decade.

I reached a point where I began to consider how the rest of the world could comprehend me. The best way to do that was to work on my delivery over and over. To experience what I'm saying, you don't have to understand what I'm saying.

Image: Supplied.

How has the reception been to your seventh album No Pressure

It’s one of the albums I’m super proud of because it came out at a time where I had to grab people's attention so that they can listen to my music. It was quite challenging doing so but I enjoyed the process. I love the mesh up of the different sounds... It features the type of music that Apple want to hear from Sarkodie.  

Who influences your sound? 

My fans. I always gravitate towards what they like. Whatever feedback I get from them influences the direction my sound should go. 

What has been your biggest career highlight? 

Having my kids. It’s an experience I can’t even begin to explain. The fact that I can have a family and still be in the industry is just an amazing factor for me.  My children somewhat have influenced the way I structure my songs, to be more child-friendly. 

Which moment in your career do you wish you could pause? 

I’ve got quite a few but my present moment is one I’m enjoying and would probably wish to pause one day. 

How are you finding the international reception? 

I’m not surprised at the reception. I saw it coming that people outside Africa would love me as an artist. It brings me great pride to be that generation to break such a barrier by crossing our music over the continent’s shores. 

What do you love most about South Africa?

The swag. The way South Africans move, dress, dance… your culture is pretty dope. 

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