Calling Ghanaian artist Sarkodie a legend would be an understatement. Not only has he dedicated over 10 years to the game, he has impacted the course of music history as we know it and is truly one of the most successful African artists of all time. He was the inaugural winner of BET’s “Best International Flow Award” in 2019 and was honored with the “Artist of The Decade” award at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. From launching his career as a battle rapper and winning over his fans and the public to dominating the industry and taking home countless awards, Sarkodie is a veteran in the game and is here to further not only the African agenda, but the Ghanaian agenda as well.

Earlier this year Sarkodie released a song with the late Bob Marley for an updated version of the Jamaican legend’s classic song with The Wailers, “Stir It Up.” In addition to that Sarkodie released his latest album JAMZ in November of last year and his embarking on a world tour after 6 years. Sarkodie will be performing in Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas, Charlotte, Nashville, Minnesota, Phoenix, Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton and will kick off the North American leg of the tour in New York City on July 15th at The Town Hall. Tickets can be purchased here.

We recently caught up with Sarkodie to discuss his rise to fame and musical journey, his battle rapping days and winning over his people to taking the industry by storm and establishing the most popular music festival in Ghana called Rapperholic. Sarkodie also shares which cities he’s most excited to revisit and some major collaborations on the way. Check out our full-length interview below!

The Knockturnal: How old were you when you started experimenting with music?

Sarkodie: I’ve been doing this professionally for about 13 to 14 years, but before that, I could count like five to six years before that. So probably if I’m not exaggerating, we looking at like, probably 20 years back and I was a bit young.

 

 

The Knockturnal: And who were some of your musical in influences growing up?

Sarkodie:I used to listen to a lot of hip hop. I listened to Tupac. Then in Ghana I started hearing from Obrafour, a legend out here in Ghana who made me fall in love with rap because he was rapping, but not in English. He was rapping in my native tongue and that made me relate to it and I felt like this incredible. So I think I started writing when I heard of Obrafour.

 

 

 

The Knockturnal: Was there anybody in your life that was motivating you to take music seriously as a career path?

Sarkodie: not really. I’m somebody that makes decision based on what I think so I didn’t really even have friends who would think about even writing music, so I was just moved by it and I heard it and I started using it as therapy. I wouldn’t say I had specific people who are pushing it, but I always wanted to do it myself.

The Knockturnal: Initially was your family supportive of your musical journey?

Sarkodie: I think I hid it for a while, so they didn’t really know about it. Typical African parents don’t normally support entertainment my mom was not really in support of it in the beginning. Not in a bad way, it’s just the fact that every African parent thinks that you have to take academics seriously and then only probably like two jobs that they think are appropriate like being a doctor not necessarily the entertainment business, but I think they caught on very early. They did not wait, I didn’t have the story of having to make it before they support it, but I think my mom gave me a year to prove a point and thank God that was the same year that I started making an impact. So I was lucky.

 

 

The Knockturnal: You’ve put over 10 years into the game, how does it feel now to be on the other side and really enjoy the success that you’ve worked so hard to achieve?

Sarkodie: It’s fulfilling. I never snap out of it. I don’t take it for granted. I don’t take it lightly because I’ve went through the journey, I went through the stages. Each and every time I catch myself trying to reflect how long it’s been and take myself to when I was trying to do what I’m doing now, and also look at what are we able to do in the years coming. I don’t take it lightly. I’m just really always reflecting. I appreciate every single bit of what is happening now. I always preach that people should not skip the process because when you don’t, you appreciate it more. That’s what’s happening to me at this point, there’s a lot of appreciation of the whole journey.

The Knockturnal: Can you name some of the biggest highlights in your career? 

Sarkodie: I used to go on radio to battle MC almost every Saturday because there was a show on radio and I never lost and those moments were priceless to me, especially because they to open phone calls for the public to vote and each and every night I had, that’s where I built my fan base for in Ghana. I think after that is when I came out with my first project and I won the Artist of the year and I took like five awards, which was unheard of at the time. I took five awards. it was incredible. I went back to my city and then the whole city was on fire. Like everybody, the taxi drivers, everybody was like blowing horns and people making parties and it was a beautiful era. It was very intentional on my side because I knew that I was not rapping in English. So I came up with a strategy that I was gonna work on my flow to be able to appeal to people. I don’t want you to miss out on what I’m doing, even if you’re not understanding what I’m saying. I want you to love it. I ended up winning that award for just being that, and that’s the BET Best International Flow and that was the first time and I was the first artist to win it. It kind of reaffirmed what I believed in and what I said to myself that this is what I’m gonna do.

 

 

The Knockturnal:So JAMZ was a huge success! What was your favorite song off the project and why?

Sarkodie: I would say “She Bad” featuring Oxlade and then “Better Days” featuring Buju, but definitely better days because that line of music or that that storyline is, is basically Sakordie I represent hustle and going through adversity and then winning at the end as we’ve been talking about. 

The Knockturnal: How do you feel about your upcoming world tour?

Sarkodie: I’m very excited, it is always a blessing to be able to travel to different places, outside your comfort zone and still have people pull up and you learn a lot while you are on the road. We just came from Amsterdam and it was incredible. I actually like new crowds more than the people who already know the music cuz it’s challenging and I like to prove a point. I came in as a Battle MC, so I’m used to trying to make a point. It’s been great so far and I think it’s gonna be one of the best ones yet and I’m super excited to touch the next cities coming up.

 

 

The Knockturnal: Which cities are you most excited to either revisit or go to for the first time?

Sarkodie: I’m looking forward to revisiting certain cities like Toronto, I’ve not been there in like ages and I always love it in NYC. It’s extremely energetic anytime I’m there.

The Knockturnal: What are you currently working on? Do you have any new music on the way?

Sarkodie: There will be a few releases this year because what I do is I try to put out music because every year we crown it with the biggest concert in Ghana called Rapperholic where every Sarkodie fans or just Ghana music lovers round up under one roof. I bring almost everyone on that stage from Burna Boy to Wiz to R2Bees to Stonebwoy, every name that you can think of has been on that stage. I try to put out music before then, so yes, there’s a lot of music coming.

 

 

The Knockturnal: Any collaborations on the way this year?

Sarkodie: There’s been a lot of music that I’ve done with people in Nigeria and Jamaica and in the States. Yes, a lot of places, but we are ready to put it out. I can’t wait to come to the States because I have one of the biggest artists in the world, in the States and we have yet to shoot our video, so that’s also in the pipeline as soon as I’m down there. There’s a bunch of collaborations.

The Knockturnal: Is there anything else that you would like to touch on before we wrap today?

Sarkodie: Yes. I wanna say thank you to fans of Afrobeats Music and African music and those who have supported it to date. I would like to tell the Africans out there that yes, we have a moment and we are not just gonna let it slide. Let’s keep it and maintain it. This is a genre that’s here to stay. This is feel good music and never goes out of style because everybody wants to feel good and African music makes you feel good and whoever loves it, you know, there’s more coming hold onto it. There’s gonna be a lot of artists coming out, also I can narrow it down to my people, Ghanaian in the diaspora. I know this is an African agenda, but every country is also looking out for themselves. I would like to tell Ghanaians in the world to pull up for your people when they come to see you guys out there because that’s how we are gonna push our music to the next level. So whenever you hear Ghanaian artists coming anywhere in the world, make sure you turn up and go and support and be proud of your music.

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