Before you jump unto my shoulders and rip out my live, beating heart because of the title of this piece, permit me to share with you the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word, ‘useless’:
Useless: adj. 1. Not fulfilling or not expected to achieve the intended purpose or desired outcome.
- informal Having no ability or skill in a specified activity or area.
The definition being used in this article is the first one.
Sarkodie is, undoubtedly, the leader of Ghana’s crop of new age musicians. Bagging 48 local and international nominations and winning 48 awards so far in his musical career, Obidi is widely regarded as a rap god. And he deserves it. In 2012, he was the first Ghanaian to win the BET Award for Best International Act Africa and was again nominated in 2014 for the same award but failed to win that one. Sark has won 15 Ghana Music Awards, 2 Bass Awards, 14 4syte Music Video awards, 1 MTV Africa Music Award and so many other enviable accolades.
At this point, you might be wondering who I think I am to criticise such a distinguished artiste. Relax. Read on.
On 5th March this year, Sarkodie released a single. The track is a remix of James Brown’s 1966 classic (It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World) and Sark called it “A Man’s World”.
Generally, Sark’s flow on the track was fluid, apt and the rhyming was on point. However, unlike most of his other tracks, Obidi’s lines on this one were direct with very few creative metaphors, not even a single pun, no humour or entertainment. And the whole song is 104 seconds – 1 min 44 seconds. It is evident that this freestyle was not done for the fans; it was done to send a message. What message was Sarkodie putting across? Who was it aimed at? Was this even the best way to go about it? Let’s find out.
In the very first verse, he describes how ‘they’ said ‘his shine would end in 2014’ but as at 2016, he is still trending. He does not reveal the identity of the ‘they’ he is referring to. Then he goes ahead to state that he knows all those who dislike him, explaining that, that is why ‘their’ WhatsApp chats with him are still pending. Is that how mature adults react to people who they suspect dislike them? By refusing to respond to their messages?
The second verse begins with a mini discography of sorts, where Sark mentions some of his earliest hits such as ‘Baby’, ‘Borga’, ‘You go kill me’ and how those songs built the foundation for more recent bangers like ‘Adonai’ and ‘Illuminati’, which helped him ‘switch his flow from the Twi to something epic’. Ok, fine.
Right after that line, he raps:
‘Ghana mediafo) n’adane judges/Judges nanso metwitwa )mo s3ne3a Adebayor twitwa ne hedges’ – ‘Ghanaian media have made themselves judges/Judges but I slash at them like Adebayor slashes his hedges’. Emmanuel Adebayor is a Togolese international who currently plays in the EPL for Crystal Palace F.C. and owns a mansion in Trasacco Valley where the richest in Ghana live. Every mansion has hedges, gerrit? Okay, not every mansion, but most do.
Now, back to the core message in that line. This is not the first time Sarkodie is attacking Ghanaian media. Mid-August 2014, Sark released a single titled ‘Free Press’, where he accused the media of focusing too much on the negatives of artistes and told the media bluntly to “get off his back” since they have done nothing to support him in his career. Two years later, he still harbours resentment for the people he claims have done nothing for him.
The very first time I heard Sark was some time in 2009 when he did the ‘You dey craze’ song with Ayigbe Edem and Kwaw Kesse. I loved his flow and obviously, I wasn’t the only one who was fascinated by his talent, because I kept hearing his songs on radio and seeing his videos on TV. And I still do. So for him to keep saying the media has not contributed to his career is very arrogant and ungrateful. This is the first reason why I say ‘A Man’s World’ is useless- Sark is trying to tell the world that he rose to greatness all by himself but we know this is not true. So the failure of the track to convince us to believe what he wants us to, makes it useless.
Next, Sark throws punches at Mark Okraku-Mantey the Outspoken and Akwasi Aboagye of Peace FM. What did he tell them? What is the story behind his jabs?
Mark is well-known for speaking his mind with no fear of stepping on musicians’ toes.
When Sarkodie released visuals for ‘Illuminati’, he came out to say the cost of producing the video was $90,000. Okraku-Mantey, speaking on Hitz FM’s Showbiz Review with Andy Dosty said that that was a lie and dared anyone who could prove otherwise to bring evidence and challenge him. No one did. I believe that was where Sark took offence. In ‘A Man’s World’, Sarkodie raps in a sarcastic tone that it is because of the love Mark has for him that he(Mark) is always talking about him and that he (Sark) even believes that Mark would beat him up if he had the chance.
I don’t know what Sark tried to achieve with this line. Maybe incite public opinion against Mark? Or he wanted to tell the press and all of us that he is beyond criticism. Well, that failed. So it is/was a useless line.
Next, Sark attacks Akwasi Aboagye of Peace FM saying, “Peace FM’s Akwasi Aboagye, I greet you. I had only wanted to pay you a visit; it’s not that I need(ed) you or anything.” Let me tell you the story behind this line, as told by Akwasi Aboagye and other media people. Aboagye claims to have invited Sarkodie to join his entertainment show via radio interview several times but his requests were turned down each time. Then when he (Sarkodie) was touring radio stations to promote his Mary album, he wanted airtime on the same show he had earlier refused to be a part of and Akwasi Aboagye paid him back in his own coin. Sarkodie himself has corroborated the story so why does he pick up beef by rapping ill instead of doing the right thing – going to all parties aggrieved for amicable settlement? This is another dimension of the uselessness of this unnecessary song.
To end with, there are many other portions where the celebrated musician expressed paranoia, as if anybody is out for his downfall. The streams of negative energy on which the song flows go deeper than just music; I believe it is something Sarkodie’s manager and friends should work on. If you have issues with someone, approach the person and resolve your personal matters. That is what responsible adults do.
I love and respect Sark a lot. But ‘A Man’s World’ is useless because it failed to fulfil the expected outcome. You can do better, Sark!
To stream/download the track, click here.