The name Sarkodie rings the loudest bells in the African entertainment scene. The reason for this is simple; the man behind that name is one of the most successful and trailblazing rappers in Africa. Over the years, since his career began, he has mesmerized fans with his incredibly mind-blowing rap flows and has been described by fans and critics as ‘the Rap god’ as well as ‘the greatest’, and ‘the king of rap’ among other accolades.
Sarkodie, who is a Ghanaian, has contributed so much to the development of the Ghanaian music industry and has, in the process emerged winner of 100 different awards and recognitions making him one of the most decorated rappers from Ghana and Africa at large. Having been in the industry for more than 10 years, he has continued to remain very relevant as an artist, cementing his reputation as one of the greatest men in the rap business. The story of his rise to stardom and his reign as the ‘king of rap’ is one worth reading about.
Sarkodie Started His Career As An Underground Rapper
Like every other entertainer, Sarkodie did not jump into rapping as an already-made rapper; he started small. The rapper, who was born on 10th July 1987 and raised in Tema City in Ghana, began writing his own songs while still in elementary school and over time became engrossed by rap music. Eventually, he kickstarted his career in 2005 as an underground rapper after earning a degree in graphic design from IPMC College.
As an underground rapper, Sarkodie took part in rap contests in a bid to find opportunities to break out. He took part in ‘Kasahare Level’, a popular rap competition organized by Adom FM, one of Ghana’s most popular radio stations. While taking part in this contest, he met many important people who would be instrumental to his growth as a musician. He met fellow musicians Edem and Castro as well as Duncan Williams of Duncwills Entertainment who would later be his manager.
His First Contract Was With Hammer Of The Last Two
The musicians, Edem and Castro later introduced Sarkodie to Hammer of The Last Two, a Ghanaian record producer who is the founder and CEO of The Last Two Music Group. Sarkodie was excited to meet Hammer of The Last Two because meeting the man meant he could properly launch his career by landing a recording deal. When they finally met, Hammer of The Last Two asked Sarkodie to audition by performing a song and Sarkodie promptly complied, impressing Hammer greatly. Hammer was so impressed that he called Sarkodie a ‘rap encyclopedia’ because of the way he was conjuring different styles on impulse.
After this first meeting, Hammer of The Last Two quickly signed Sarkodie to a five-year contract but he did not start producing Sarkodie’s records immediately instead he created spaces on Edem’s album for Sarkodie to rap in order to introduce him to the wider public. However, Sarkodie soon got into a dispute with Hammer because Hammer was too engrossed with producing Edem’s album that it seemed it was denying the recording of Sarkodie’s album. Hammer later agreed to let Sarkodie go.
Sarkodie’s First Taste Of Stardom With ‘Makye’
After parting ways with Hammer of The Last Two, Sarkodie went on to record his first album called Makye. The album was released in 2009 and it gave Sarkodie his first glimpse at what stardom looked like because it got many positive reviews and plenty of airplay. The lead single from the album titled Baby became an instant hit and gave Sarkodie the kind of exposure he was looking for.
The album featured appearances from other artists and was supported by a concert held at Holy City Gardens in Accra. At this time, Sarkodie was fast becoming a favorite of rap fans in Ghana, and in September 2009, he performed alongside popular American rapper, Busta Rhymes at the Busta Rhymes Live in Ghana concert. This boosted his public image as a rapper of serious repute.
‘Rapperholic‘ Solidified His Greatness
In 2012, Sarkodie recorded and released his second studio album called Rapperholic. Just like his first album, this second album received a lot of positive reviews from music critics but it also did more; it fetched Sarkodie his first BET award. It also got him featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher. He was, in fact, the only African act featured on the Cypher.
At this time, it was obvious that Sarkodie was already an established act and a huge fan favorite. With all the buzz he was getting, Sarkodie went on a nationwide tour in Ghana to support the album. He also toured Canada and the USA, receiving a lot of positive feedback.
In addition to his BET Award, the rapper also won other awards in 2012 including the Ghana Music Awards, and 4syte Music Video Awards. He won the African Artiste of the Year at The Headies and was also nominated for a MOBO award. It was clear that Sarkodie was one of the best African rappers at the time.
Sarkodie Became A Record Label Boss With Sarkcess Music
In January 2014, Sarkodie released his third studio album called Sarkology. As expected, it received massive applause and positive feedback especially because it featured guest appearances by many music heavyweights around Africa including 2Face Idibia, Davido, Burna Boy, Stonebwoy, Tiwa Savage, and many others. That year, he won the African Artiste of the Year again at The Headies. He also won the African Artiste of The Year at the Ben TV Awards. Sarkodie was also nominated for the BET award.
With the way his fame was rising with incredible speed, Sarkodie decided to establish his own record label and become a record label boss. He launched the record label called Sarkcess Music in 2014. Shortly after, he joined other top African artists including Diamond Platnumz, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Mi Casa, and Lola Rae to record a song called Africa Rising for a DSTV campaign meant to urge Africans to take part in community-based social investment projects.
The Rapper Honored His Grandmother With A Live Album
On the 12th day of September 2015, Sarkodie released a live album called Mary. The album was named after his grandmother who died in 2012. The album debuted with a bang as he sold nearly 4,000 copies of the album on the first day of its release.
In addition to the album release, Sarkodie also organized an autograph session for the album. The autograph session held at the West Hills Mall in Accra and was attended by many adoring fans. The album won the Best Album award at the MOGO Awards in 2016.
In February 2016, he was invited to speak to a group of Harvard Business School students where he talked about the challenges of being an African musician. On Christmas Day that year, the tickets for his Rapperholic concert sold out in just 72 hours. The concert won Ghana’s Favourite Event at Ghana Event Awards.
On 8 September 2017, Sarkodie released his fifth studio album titled Highest to an expectant audience. The album was released through Sarkcess Music record label and featured guest appearances from top African acts like Flavour, Jesse Jagz, Korede Bello, Victoria Kimani, and others.
2017 saw Sarkodie clinching many awards. He won the Best African Act at the Daf BAMA Awards. He also clinched the Best Male Artist Honour at the Ghana Music Honors. At the Ghana Music Awards UK, he won Best Rapper, Hiplife/Hip Hop Artist Of The Year, Best Music Video, and Hiplife Song Of The Year awards. He also won the Best Rap Act award at the African Muzik Magazine Awards among others.
He Established His Relevance With ‘Alpha’ and ‘Black Love’
In 2019, many years after he started rapping, some fans opined that Sarkodie’s relevance as a rapper may be waning especially with the emergence of other rap acts across Ghana. However, this is far from the truth. In June 2019, Sarkodie dropped his debut EP titled Alpha. The EP contained six tracks and had guest appearances from Ghanaian stars, Joey B and Ebony Reigns. On the EP, Sarkodie, with his usually smooth flow, went heavy on the punchlines and bars, exciting fans and critics.
In October 2019, it was announced that Sarkodie had won BET’s Best International Flow act at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards. This incredible feat made him the very first artiste to win the award and it cemented his relevance as one of Africa’s very best in the world of hip-hop.
At the end of the year on December 20, 2019, Sarkodie released his highly anticipated fifth studio album titled Black Love. The album had guest appearances from international superstars like Idris Elba and Donae’o.
Top Africa stars like Mr Eazi, Stonebwoy, Tekno, Maleek Berry, Kizz Daniel, and others were also featured. Talking about what the album was about, Sarkodie said he made the album to explore sensitive themes like black love and relationships.
Sarkodie rounded up the year with many awards. He won the Best Hip-hop Artist at the African Entertainment Awards USA. He also won the HiPipo Music Award for Africa HipHop Maestro, Ghana Music Awards UK for Best Music Video Of The Year, 4syte Music Video Awards for Life Time Achievement, Best Hip Hop Video, and Best Male Video. At the moment, Sarkodie has won 100 awards from 176 nominations and more are certainly coming.
Summary Of Sarkodie’s Musical Journey
- Started as an underground rapper in 2005 and took part in Kasahare Level rap contest
- Signed his first deal with Hammer of The Last Two
- Released his first album in 2009
- Performed alongside Busta Rhymes at the Busta Rhymes Live in Ghana concert
- Released Rapperholic to great acclaim in 2012
- Released Sarkology in 2014 to wider acclaim
- Launched the Sarkcess Music record label
- Honored his grandmother with the Mary album in 2015
- Released Highest album in 2017
- Dropped debut EP, Alpha in 2019
- Released Black Love in 2019
Is Sarkodie The Richest Rapper in Ghana?
Sarkodie is considered to be the richest rapper in Ghana at the moment with a humongous net worth of about $7 million. Of course, this is not surprising at all. Having put in so much work into his art for over 10 years, and, having remained at the top all this time, it is expected that he earns the top spot among the richest rappers in the industry.
Where Does The Bulk of Sarkodie’s Wealth Come From?
Apparently, Sarkodie makes the bulk of his money from his music. However, the rapper has other sources of income that boost his wealth.
He Makes Money From His Rap Career
There is no gainsaying that Sarkodie has made a lot of money from his rap career. The rapper has 5 studio albums with one live album and they have sold out hundreds of thousands of copies both on record and digital sales, raking in millions of cedis from the rapper.
Sarkodie does not make money only from record sales, the rapper also makes money from concerts and tours. He has toured nationally and internationally several times and has been organizing the Rapperholic concert every year since 2012. The concert is one of the most anticipated rap concerts in Ghana and it fetches him a lot of money as well.
Endorsement Deals With FanMilk Ghana, Tigo, etc
As expected, Sarkodie has clinched many endorsements over the years. In 2012, the rapper was made the official Brand Ambassador for Samsung Electronics. The unveiling was at the University of Ghana, Legon and it was a grand ceremony.
In 2013, Sarkodie launched the Obidi Chief headphones. He also signed an endorsement deal with FanMilk Ghana. The rapper is now in partnership with Tigo Telecommunications Ghana. Interestingly, Tigo Telecommunications is one of the brands that sponsored his 2013 Rapperholic tour.
Sarkodie, on the 30th of October 2019, was made the ambassador for the Year of Return campaign. He received the honor at the Creative Arts Industry Forum.
He Has A Clothing Line
Apart from these, Sarkodie also has a clothing line from which he makes extra cash. The rapper has a clothing line called Sark by Yas and it was launched on the 27th of April 2013. Many A-list superstars were there to support him and witness the launch of the clothing line.
The clothing line was designed to cater to the fashion needs of everyone. This is because it has accessories for men as well as women and children. Apparently, Sark by Yas is sure to fetch Sarkodie a lot of money annually.
Summary Of Sarkodie’s Earning Streams
- Sarkodie makes money from his rap career.
- The rapper rakes in money from his many endorsements.
- He has a clothing line which fetches him money too.