I define RAP as Rhythmic Afro-American Poetry. A rapper is a poet on a beat. Rap is a beautiful form of art. You wouldn’t have to wait for 30 seconds for one to finish a sentence. A lot can be discussed with 3 verses. I love rap! We’ve had rap legends, from Reggie Rockstone, to Obrafour and Okyeame Kwame. Although still not highly mainstream, rap continues to be loved by most music consumers in Ghana. Our biggest acts are mostly rappers. Sarkodie took over the rap scene in 2008, when he dropped that everlasting verse on “Keva.” Thence, a lot of rappers, especially the upcoming ones have mirrored his style. In 2009/2010, almost every rapper sounded like Sarkodie because he was the new rap standard.
With the definition of rap, and listening to Sark’s verses, I’d like to pose in the question, does Sarkodie really rap? Why is he loved so much by Ghana? Is he the best Ghanaian rapper?
One of the reasons why I love rap so much is that there are standards which one can use to determine whether one is a good rapper or not. The elements of rap are lyricism, poetry, concept, substance, punchlines, delivery and rhyming. Just as poetry is deep, rap is supposed to be deep. The beauty of listening to a rap project is having to discover something new every time you listen to it, and deciphering encrypted lines with multiple listens. Sarkodie is not that type of rapper. But the thing is, the average Ghanaian is not that type of listener.
The days that proverbs were much hailed are over. The youth of today don’t even want to race their minds with riddles. They prefer issues presented in the raw form, uncovered. That’s what Sarkodie brings to the table. He talks of relevant issues and current happenings with a touch of humour so well that you would love to hear more. His delivery ability is second to none, actually one of the best I’ve heard in the whole world. His rhyme scheme is of good standard. He’s not a punchline rapper who drops metaphors and a lot of literary devices in his verses. Due to that, some rap heads never enlist him as a topmost emcee, but that’s a negligible percentage of the audience.
No matter one’s age, you can relate to Sarkodie’s rap. He doesn’t disturb you with heavy vocabulary. He’s a representative for rap lovers in the ghetto, streets, ‘dadabee’ girls circles, and even staunch Hip-Hop heads. In the end, he’s a musician. The best music is necessarily relatable. The receiving end has to get an emotional connection to what is said in the song. Sarkodie weaves his verses so well in the Ghanaian setting, making it well picturesque.
Other rappers have tried to connect with the Ghanaian audience, but they never reach the level of Sarkodie, because he touches the heart of Ghanaians, and tells their stories. He publicly speaks their solemn and wild thoughts alike. Your punchlines ‘dey borst brains’ but Sarkodie’s verses are our words spoken by someone who understands us.