Undoubtedly Ghana’s most decorated musician, BET and MTV award winner, and one of the most influential personalities of our time, Sarkodie has hinted several times about his desire to win a Grammy— on “Original” and other songs. Upon being the African rapper with the most awards, Sarkodie believes the highest he can go is to kiss a Grammy trophy. But I always wonder if that’s possible.
I thought Michael Owusu-Addo (real name) had given up on those dreams till quite recently, in a freestyle with Strongman, he made that statement again. Has Sarkodie really taken time to think about the possibility of him walking up that stage to grab the award?
It’s quite sad to face the fact that there are only 7 Africans who have won Grammys since the awards show started in 1959. GRAMMYs happens to be the most enviable and topmost awards scheme in the world presented by The Recording Academy. That’s to say if a musician wins a Grammy he/she is considered to have reached the peak of his/her career. It’s noticeable that the only categories that African performers are able to occupy and win are Best World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album categories. The history-making musicians who have won Grammys as Africans are: Ali Farka Toure (Mali), Lady Smith Black Mambazo (South Africa), Tinariwen (Mali), Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Wouter Kellerman (South Africa), Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa), and Angelique Kidjo (Benin).
In 2016, Stonebwoy’s “Livingstone EP” was considered by The Recording Academy but couldn’t make the final nominations cut. Same happened to Blakk Rasta this year. This year, the closest Stonebwoy can get to a Grammy win is if Morgan Heritage wins the Reggae Album of the Year. Rocky Dawuni happens to be the first Ghanaian to be have a full nomination, in 2016, but he lost out. And Killbeatz? His alleged Grammy nomination is debatable.
Considering Sarkodie, a rapper (and once-in-a-while singer) who does the genres Hiplife and Hip-Hop, he stands almost no chance of winning a Grammy. Looking at the list mentioned above, they do mostly traditional and folk music filled with indigenous cultural sounds and rhythm. The closest Sarkodie has been to that is his 3rd studio album, “Mary.” In my review of “Mary”, I made mention that I thought Sarkodie would use the live recorded Highlife/Hiplife album to reach the Grammy heights he has always been talking about. But the body of work didn’t make a huge impact even in Ghana.
Hip-Hop is an untouchable genre as the United States rappers themselves compete very keenly even to gain nominations. I mean, a legendary rapper like Nas, and the current generation’s favourite, J. Cole have no Grammys to their names. So who is Sarkodie to go near that spot? To hit the nail right on its head, Sarkodie’s music does not suit any category in the Grammys as it stands. The only way he can get close to winning a Grammy is if he does pure cultural music which makes an impact in the whole of Africa (which I doubt is going to happen), or if The Recording Academy creates another category that will favour him. Another chance is to get featured on an album nominated (and won) in a category which is awarded to all featured artistes. Till then, Sarkodie’s Grammy dream may forever remain a dream.
Words by Joseph Aqweci Ofori