|Birth name||Michael Owusu Addo|
|Genres||Hip hop, hiplife|
|Labels||Duncwills Entertainment, Sarkcess Music|
Michael Owusu Addo, known by his stage name Sarkodie, is a Ghanaian hip hop recording artist and entrepreneur from Tema.He won the Best International Act: Africa category at the 2012 BET Awards, and was nominated in the same category at the 2014 BET Awards. In 2015, Sarkodie was ranked the 19th most Influential Ghanaian by e.tv Ghana. He is considered one of the major proponents of the Azonto genre and dance. Sarkodie is often named as one of Africa’s greatest hip hop artists. MTV Base ranked him 6th on its list of the Hottest African MC’s in 2014. In 2013, Lynx TV ranked him 1st on its list of the “Top 10 Ghanaian Rappers of All Time”. In 2015, AfricaRanking.com ranked him 3rd on its list of the “Top 10 African Rappers of 2015”. In 2015, The Guardian listed him as one of its top five hip hop acts on the African continent.
Life and career
Early life and music career
Sarkodie, the fourth of five children, was born and raised in Tema, to his mother Maame Aggrey. Sarkodie started rapping at a young age and continued throughout his educational career. He attended Tema Methodist Senior High School. He earned a degree in graphic design from IPMC. Sarkodie began his instrumental career as an underground rapper. He appeared on Adom FM’s popular rap competition Kasahare Level. It was through rap battles that he met his former manager Duncan Williams of Duncwills Entertainment. He also met musicians Edem and Castro who introduced him to Hammer of The Last Two, an established record producer. Hammer decided to feature Sarkodie on two songs off the Volta Regime album after being impressed with his rap flows. After this exposure, Sarkodie recorded his debut album Makye. His first single “Baby”, featuring Mugeez of the duo R2Bees, became an instant hit and made Sarkodie a household name within the Ghanaian music industry.
2009-12: Makye and Rapperholic
After battling rappers from the popular rap competition, Kasahare Level, Sarkodie signed a record deal with JM Entertainment. He released his 2009 debut album Makye, with production from Killbeatz and Jayso as well as guest appearances from Kwaw Kese, J-Town, Sway and Paedae of R2Bees. The album received positive reviews from critics and fans. It was launched at the Accra Mall; in addition, a follow-up concert was held at Holy City Gardens in Accra. In 2010, Sarkodie’s “Push” and “Baby” songs were ranked ninth and thirteenth on Joy Fm’s Top 50 songs of 2009, respectively.
In 2011, Sarkodie released “Good Bye”, “One Time For Your Mind”, “You Go Kill Me”, “Living Legend”, and “Onyame Nhyira” as lead singles off the Rapperholic album. “You Go kill Me”, which features EL, was well-received throughout Ghana. Sulley Muntari, Castro, Deborah Owusu-Bonsu, X.O Senovoe, DJ Mensah and Funny Face made cameo appearances in the video.
In 2012, Sarkodie launched the Rapperholic album, which received positive reviews from music critics. The album features guest appearances from Efya, Chidynma, Mugeez of R2Bees, Obrafour, Jayso, EL and others. Sarkodie went on a nationwide tour to support the album. The Rapperholic album earned Sarkodie his first BET nomination and subsequent win. Sarkodie was also featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards cypher alongside Talib Kweli, Jean Grae and Ab-Soul. He was the only African act featured on the cypher.
On October 30, 2013, Sarkodie released the official remix for his 2011 hit track “You Go Kill Me”, which peaked at number 1 on various charts in Ghana. The remix features Wizkid, Ice Prince, Navio and EL. On December 21, 2013, a concert was put together to launch the Sarkology album, which was released on January 2, 2014. The launch was held at the Accra Sports Stadium. The album features guest appearances from Fuse ODG, AKA, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Banky W, 2 Face Idibia, Joey B and Efya, among others.
After releasing the Sarkology album, Sarkodie released the official remix for “Adonai”. The remix became an instant hit across Africa, and was featured in BBC‘s Capital Xtra Top 35 Afrobeats Songs. Sarkodie launched his own record label, Sarkcess Music, in 2014. As part of the launch, he premiered the video for “Adonai” remix and “Special Someone”, both of which features Castro and AKA, respectively. Sarkodie also released the songs “Megye Wo Girl”, “Love Rocks”, “Chingum”, and “Whine Fi Me” under the label.
In June 2014, Sarkodie collaborated with Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Davido, Diamond Platnumz and Tiwa Savage on a song for DSTV‘s Africa Rising campaign, which was designed to inspire Africans to partake in community-based social investment projects. The music video for the song, released on June 24, 2014, was shot and directed by South African production house Callback Dream.
On December 30, 2015, Sarkodie announced the release of his fourth album titled Mary. The album is named after his late grandmother who died in 2012. The live recorded album was released on September 12, 2015. On July 10, 2015, Sarkodie released “Mewu” as the lead single off the album. On September 12, 2015, an autograph session was held at the West Hills Mall, which is the biggest mall in West Africa. Sarkodie sold nearly 4,000 copies of the album on the first day of its release.
On February 27, 2016, Sarkodie spoke to a group of Harvard Business School students. Themed “The Art of the Hustle”, his speech was primarily about the challenges he faces as an African musician. Sarkodie also performed at the event following his speech.
Sarkodie’s fifth studio album, Highest, was released on September 8, 2017. It comprises 19 songs, including 3 interludes and a bonus track. Released through Sarkcess Music and Dice Recordings, the album features guest appearances from Jesse Jagz, Moelogo, Flavour, Korede Bello, Victoria Kimani and Big Narstie. Highest was primarily produced by Jayso, with additional production from Masterkraft, TSpize, Ced Solo, Nova and Guilty Beatz.
Recognition and musical style
Sarkodie often raps in his native language Twi, and is considered a “multifaceted rapper” due to the various musical styles he possess. He was ranked 8th on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 and 2015 lists of the Top 10 Richest/Bankable African Artistes. Sarkodie has had the privilege of performing on the same stage with international musicians such as T-Pain, Miguel, Movado, Trey Songz,and Ludacris. He has a large fan base in Africa, and is considered one of the most celebrated musical icons to hail from Ghana.
On July 13, 2013, Sarkodie launched The Sarkodie Foundation which is tasked with the mission of supporting underprivileged children. He made generous donations to the Royal Seed Home Orphanage in Kasoa. Sarkodie presented to the orphanage items worth thousands of Ghanaian cedis. On December 25, 2014, The Sarkodie Foundation embarked on a feeddakids campaign in Tema, where they provided thousands of kids with eight sacks of rice, yogurt and beverage cans. They also gave away school bags, water bottles, hats and other items. The CEO of Tigo Telecommunications Ghana, Mrs. Roshi Motman, was also in attendance to support the campaign.
Business career and endorsements
Sarkodie owns “Sark by Yas” clothing line, which was launched on April 27, 2013. The clothing line has accessories for men, women and children. In 2012, he was officially unveiled as the Brand Ambassador for Samsung Electronics at the University of Ghana, Legon. As part of the event, Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Pocket and Chief Hero Phones that had customized wallpapers of Sarkodie and his signature; users had the opportunity to download exclusive tracks of Sarkodie. Sarkodie also launched the Obidi Chief headphones. In 2013, he signed an endorsement deal with FanMilk Ghana. Sarkodie is currently in partnership with Tigo Telecommunications Ghana, a brand that sponsored the 2013 Rapperholic tour.
World tours and notable performances
In August 2012, Sarkodie kicked off his tour in the United States. He performed in several different cities and states, including New York City, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Atlanta, Chicago, Texas and Massachusetts. After releasing his Rapperholic album, Sarkodie performed in five different regions in Ghana as part of his Rapperholic nationwide tour. On 7 July 2012, Sarkodie kicked off his tour of Canada. On 16 September 2009, Sarkodie performed alongside Busta Rhymes at the Busta Rhymes Live in Ghana concert. On 27 August 2012, Sarkodie performed at the Africa Unplugged Music Festival, which was held at the Wembley Arena in London. He performed alongside R2Bees, Fally Ipupa and Iyanya. In 2012, Sarkodie joined Ludacris on stage at the 020 live concert to perform the remix of the latter’s 2009 single “How Low“. On 3 May 2014, Sarkodie performed at the 15th Edition of the Ghana Music Awards. On 7 June 2014, Sarkodie joined Miguel on stage to perform the latter’s single “How Many Drinks?“, at the MTV Africa Music Awards. On 8 August 2015, Sarkodie performed at the Sarkodie History In The Making concert, which was held at New York City‘s iconic Apollo Theatre. The sold out concert was supported by EL, Kwaw Kese, Banky W., The Composers, Bisa Kdei and John Dumelo, among others. Sarkodie has also performed in several African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Gabon, Kenya, Benin and Liberia. On 10 October 2015, Sarkodie started his European tour in Modena, Italy. As part of the tour, Sarkodie performed four times in Paris. He also performed in Bordeaux, France, as well as in Frankfurt and Dortmund. Sarkodie held the 4th edition of his Rapperholic concert on Christmas Day; tickets for the event were sold out within 72 hours of its release. He was joined on stage by Fuse ODG, R2Bees, Wizkid, Samini, Vvip, Efya and Shatta Wale. On 11 March 2016, Sarkodie performed with The Composers music band at the Indigo 02 arena. The event was hosted by DJ Abrantee. Sarkodie was also supported by rapper Fuse ODG.
Awards and nominations
At the 2012 BET Awards, Sarkodie became the first Ghanaian artist to win the Best International Act: Africa accolade. He was nominated for the same award in 2014 and 2015. Rapperholic, his second studio album, was the recipient of 3 Ghana Music Awards from 12 nominations.
- 2013: T.M.G (with Jayso)