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Why a Sarkodie vs Manifest beef is all Ghana music needs right now

Why a Sarkodie vs Manifest beef is all Ghana music needs right now

Popular opinion has it that Sarkodie is the best rapper in the Ghanaian music industry. But opinion is cheap, everyone owns one.

To hell with it, I even used to think that Wanlov should win musician of the year every year at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, but he never wins and that was my opinion and it cost me nothing. See?

But it would seem popular opinion in the Ghana music industry would need to be called on as the ultimate judge in the war that might follow after, M.anifest opened a can of worms with his latest single, godMC. With godMC’s literal attack on [almost] everyone in the music industry, I can sense a beef brewing.

I reckon almost all the rappers M.anifest mentioned in the song (both directly and indirectly) would want to reply to him, but it is Sarkodie’s reply that I am looking forward to. It is Sarkodie’s reply that might create the beef I expect. Afterall, majority of the song is full of punchlines that are direct jabs at the self-acclaimed King Sark. And a Sarkodie-M.anifest beef may be all that the Ghanaian music industry needs right now.

Where is the Ghanaian fan’s equal share of the Twitter rants, diss tracks and banter that accompanies a musical beef?

To steal a paragraph from my colleague, Joey Akan at Ringier’s Monday Musings, “Beef in itself is good for the art. Although in the Western cultures, it tends to spill blood and result in loss of life, in Africa, our artistes and all their representatives lack that amount of conviction mixed with hatred to pull off a killing because of beef. No one has that guts, We are too conscious of our status to compromise our careers on it.

Sarkodie as rapper has become nothing less than an egomaniac, his latest songs are basically full of praise for himself and indirect jabs at anyone. And for a while, he has gone almost unopposed with this just as he has gone unopposed in his claim to the title of “King of Ghana rap”.

I have seen beefs in music all over the world. I have paid special and close attention to G.O.O.D Music vs. YMCMB (essentially Common vs. Drake), Tinie Tempah vs. Chip, Drake vs. Meek Mill and a countless lot. Heck even Don Jazzy and Olamide has a good run at a good beef in Nigeria just like Cassper Nyovest and AKA did in South Africa. So where are the Ghanaian beefs? Where is the Ghanaian fan’s equal share of the Twitter rants, diss tracks and banter that accompanies a musical beef?

Our artistes really don’t love themselves. Most of them are a bunch of haters unto themselves. They see another’s gains as a personal chance lost for them. They carry out ingenious plans to steal each other’s beats and choruses, and when that fails, they copy it and try to improve on it so as to take the shine off the other guy, thereby killing off his song. [Telemo and Ye Wo Krom on my mind here]

Honestly, ignore all the high-fives, selfies, bonding on Instagram, birthday shout-outs, supportive tweets and co-ordinated interviews. Deep down, and in muted conversations, when the cameras are gone, and the lights are off, there’s anger, bad blood and bile. That’s when the real story is turned on, and the intrigue that scratches the underbelly of what we call celebrity lifestyle come to the fore.

Once in a while, this escapes into the open, and it becomes a good reason to follow the news. But almost all of it gets swept under the carpet due to compromise, bullying and media cowardice.

There have been light versions of what have looked like beefs, I have seen Kaakie and co fighting for the title of Dancehall Queen, Shatta Wale also fighting for Dancehall King etc but all of these have seemed like one-sided fistfights with the other party. There are no responses. And this is because the average Ghanaian artiste with his/her success (or little success) is just a character that exists in a careful state, they are afraid of upsetting their status quo; they are scared for their careers and secretly feel inadequate to start a fight or return a punch when one is thrown at them.

Sarkodie’s “Bossy” was an open invitation and it seem M.anifest just took it.

I am expecting the ensuing beef to mainly do three things;

1. Give Sarkodie a chance to “wow” his fans again : Sarkodie is a great rapper. No two ways about that, but for the past two years, it had begun to feel like he is just a rapper who knows how to use rhythm to his favor. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing. But to actually claim the title of being the “King of Ghana rap” Sarkodie would have to also show that he is a good lyricist. King Sark’s lyric are very much lacking in the dexterity and true wordplay that most people would expect from a true MC and this beef with M.anifest might be the one opportunity he gets to redeem himself.

2. Give M.anifest the leverage he needs : M.anifest is a DAMN better rapper than Sarkodie. Yes, you can breath in now, I have already said it. M dot’s delivery and wordplay is lightyears ahead of the current status of Sarkodie and I personally feel “godMC” has been far too late. M.anifest will get the perfect opportunity to show most Ghanaian music buffs what true lyricism is.

M.anifest is a DAMN better rapper than Sarkodie.

3. Revive relativity in the Ghanaian music scene : Fans adore truth. They love fallible humans, who they can project their personal misdemeanours, character flaws, and indiscretions. The current status of the rap scene in Ghana makes most musicians almost unrelatable to their fans, Sarkodie is always bragging now and M.anifest is always carrying himself with the air of collectedness that is not humanly possible. This thick sphere of pented-up emotion is just being covered by a delicate layer of “fakeness” which hopefully will get pricked by the Sarkodie-M.anifest beef and bring back some actual creativity to the industry.

The only person who seems to be winning at being relative to the fans is Shattawale, that much we cannot take from him, with songs like “WMT”, “Kakai”,”Korle Gorno” etc, he has kept touch with his fan base in most direct way any true musician can — through music.

I may be wrong, maybe this beef will not revive the Ghana music industry, maybe they will be no emotional purge, maybe it will not help us determine the good from the fake.

But I may be right too. Just imagine a M.anifest vs Sarkodie beef; a MsVee vs Kakai beef, an Eazzy vs Tiffany beef etc. How enthralling a contest that would be.

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