In this series, we highlight interesting facts about key individuals in the African music space. Today, we state 11 interesting facts about Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie.
Sarkodie is without a doubt the most relevant musician in Ghana and also one of the most relevant African rappers in the past decade of music. Music lovers and not just SarkNation, a cult group of dedicated Sarkodie fans, can attest to this. He has dominated the music space since he got his major breakthrough by featuring on Edem’s “You De Craze” in 2008. Since then, he has grown to become a force to reckon with.
Here are 11 unique facts about Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie:
1. Sarkodie chose his rap name because of his father’s friends.
In an interview with Ghanaian talk show host and satirist Kwaku Sintim-Misa popularly known as KSM, Sarkodie whose real name is Michael Owusu Addo disclosed the reason for choosing the stage name Sarkodie. He said his reason for choosing the name was that he associated the name with success. According to Sarkodie, growing up, all the people he knew with that name, who were his father’s friends, were rich so he believed having that name would help him find riches in his music career. He later reiterated this in a conversation with M.anifest.
2. Sarkodie used to write a lot before becoming a lyricist
Before discovering the art of rapping, Sarkodie as a kid always penned down his thoughts and feelings. Later in life he got introduced to rap music in Ghana. This was when he realised he could convert those thoughts into relatable rap lyrics. He revealed this in an interview with Hammer Nti on Pure FM.
3. Sarkodie Enjoys Solitude
In his own words, Sarkodie said: “I am a loner”. In describing the early stages of his life the talented rapper said he was usually alone and the only way he could vent was through writing since he didn’t have so many people to talk to. This is actually the case for many creators.
4. Obrafour is one of Sarkodie’s biggest rap influences
Obrafour, one of Ghana’s most respected rappers and lyricists of all time indirectly got Sarkodie to start rapping. Sarkodie has acknowledged the Hiplife legend on a number of occasions and even in his music. The 2 have even collaborated on a number of records and have a beautiful relationship.
5. Sarkodie used to sell yam as a means of survival
The 36-year-old Ghanaian rapper has never been one to shy away from his difficult childhood. In the aforementioned interview with Hammer Nti on Pure FM, when asked about some of the things he did for a living growing up, he revealed that he used to walk long distances selling yam as a means of survival at Chantan, Mile 7. Chantan is a town located in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.
6. Sarkodie is the first artiste in the world to Win Best International Flow at the BET Hip Hop Awards
The BET Hip Hop Awards introduced the Best International Flow category in 2019. Sarkodie emerged winner in the category which had big names like Nasty C, Falz, Ghetts, Kalash Criminel, Little Simz and Tory Lanez. His award was presented by British actor of Ugandan descent Daniel Kaluuya.
Dedicating the award to his daughter, Titi, Sarkodie with his speech encouraged the audience to visit Ghana during the Year of Return. “I think Africa has always had it and it is about that time. This year is the Year of Return and I would urge each and every one of you here to take a trip back home”.
7. Sarkodie has an ear for hit songs; he encouraged Joey B to release his breakthrough song “Tonga”
Joey B on the Stay By Plan podcast spoke about how he released “Tonga“, one of his biggest songs to date. Produced by one of Ghana’s most prolific producers, DJ Breezy, in the early stages of the song’s production, Joey B had no thoughts of it becoming a huge banger. He said, “As an individual, I like trolling… I was just goofing around on the beat. It was like my actual behavior on the song. I didn’t think that it go blow. I just did it”.
Sarkodie had previously worked with Joey B on a song titled “2 Paddies” for his 2014 third studio album “Sarkology”. The song also featured renowned Ghanaian producer and musician “Klu”. According to Joey B, after the studio session for “2 Paddies”, he was asked by Sarkodie to send him some of his stuff. A skeptical Joey B later sent over Tonga and was surprised when Sarkodie told him it was a hit. 5 hours after that, Sarkodie asked for Joey’s whereabouts and met up with him in his studio where he dropped the iconic verse. “I am still grateful to Sarkodie for driving all the way from Tema to meet me in North Kaneshie for this,” Joey B added.
8. Sarkodie’s Educational Background
What we have gathered so far about Sarkodie’s educational background is that he attended Achimota Preparatory School, moved to Tema Methodist Day Senior High School, and then got his tertiary education in IPMC, where he got a degree in Graphic Design.
9. Sarkodie was first managed by Duncan Williams
No, not the beloved Archbishop. Lol. At the start of Sarkodie’s career, Sarkodie used to participate in a number of rap competitions. He was a regular on Adom FM’s popular rap competition dubbed Kasahare Level. It was there he met his former manager Duncan Williams of Duncwills Entertainment. Currently, the rap icon is managed by Angel Town.
10. Sarkodie’s official Rap beef was with fellow Ghanaian rapper M.anifest
Although Sarkodie had been baited many times to a lyrical war, the only rapper he officially replied to was M.anifest. What started this lyrical war is still unclear. It was however reported by some blogs that M.anifest wasn’t happy with Sarkodie using his name on his 2016 song “Bossy” hence the line on Manifest’s song “God MC” (also released in 2016) — “Go to the market, buy yourself manners. Don’t use my name in vain, that’s just for starters”. In an unprecedented manner, Sarkodie later replied with “Kanta” where he thrilled his fans by taking some direct shots at M.anifest.
The 2 rappers reunited in 2018 and have collaborated on a song titled “Brown Paper Bag”. The unexpected reunion was made public at the Bukom Boxing Arena during the 2018 edition of Manifestivities, M.anifest’s annual music festival.
After the event, this is what M.anifest had to say: “Before we went onto the stage, I think we sat in his car and I think we talked about an hour or more as musical comrades. It’s always been mutual respect so I think we had to show it to the people.“
11. Sarkodie has performed at the Apollo Theater and Indigo at the O2
On 8th August 2015, Sarkodie sold out the Apollo Theater in New York where he headlined a show dubbed “TM Entertainmentz Presents Sarkodie — History in the Making”. The Apollo Theater has a capacity of 1,506. To show appreciation to his fans for supporting the event, he dropped the song “SarkNation”, with accompanying visuals that highlighted key moments from the event. The next year, on 11th March 2016, he also performed with The Compozers, a 4-man UK band, at the Indigo at the O2 (a 2,750 capacity venue). DJ Abrantee was the host for that event.