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Joey Akan

When the history of these times in African music is read back to generations after us, there shall only be a few names at the top of the column for Hip hop. Sarkodie will be right up there, his story inspiring, his music captivating, and his efforts for the culture trailblazing.

After more than a decade of putting Ghana on the map, the greatest MC who kicked it from that country is releasing an album to underline his status as the best that ever did it from the Gold Coast. Sarkodie has earned his badges for the culture, and he has a lot to say about that. On “Highest” album, he keeps his head high, and his shoulders higher. The only time he tones it down a notch is when he attributes his existence to God, a higher being, pulling the strings of providence and aligning his stars up in the heavens on ‘Glory’.

“Highest” is a victory lap, interspersed with radio cuts, and offered in 19 tracks. English spoken word favourite, Suli Breaks, starts off the project on opener ‘Silence’ with Sark’s praises. “He is the one that wields the microphone of legends. The wordsmith, whose greatness can exalt the people…he is the Shakespeare of GH poetry, you say ‘Bolt’ when he is running these tracks.” It’s a binding theme, with Suli Breaks offering poetic perspective thrice on interludes, which weaves it all together.

Sarkodie’s relevance and his challenges through ...

When the history of these times in African music is read back to generations after us, there shall only be a few names at the top of the column for Hip hop. Sarkodie will be right up there, his story inspiring, his music captivating, and his efforts for the culture trailblazing.

After more than a decade of putting Ghana on the map, the greatest MC who kicked it from that country is releasing an album to underline his status as the best that ever did it from the Gold Coast. Sarkodie has earned his badges for the culture, and he has a lot to say about that. On “Highest” album, he keeps his head high, and his shoulders higher. The only time he tones it down a notch is when he attributes his existence to God, a higher being, pulling the strings of providence and aligning his stars up in the heavens on ‘Glory’.

“Highest” is a victory lap, interspersed with radio cuts, and offered in 19 tracks. English spoken word favourite, Suli Breaks, starts off the project on opener ‘Silence’ with Sark’s praises. “He is the one that wields the microphone of legends. The wordsmith, whose greatness can exalt the people…he is the Shakespeare of GH poetry, you say ‘Bolt’ when he is running these tracks.” It’s a binding theme, with Suli Breaks offering poetic perspective thrice on interludes, which weaves it all together.

Sarkodie’s relevance and his challenges through the industry is a theme that runs through this project. And interestingly, it goes hand in hand with his materialism. For example, Sark claims an insight into music’s highest power in ‘Overdose’, raps about his credibility on ‘Certified’, but throws in the relevance of his bank accounts in ‘We no dey fear’. It’s like rap course meal, mixing the sublime with the financial to satisfy rapacious palates.

Sark’s storytelling is present in ‘Come to me,’ while the production battled for prominence with his signature machine-gun delivery on ‘Highest’. It’s a rare feat, one that rarely happens. But when it does, it justifies its rarity.

In between all of that force, masculinity and delivery, when he isn’t pumping his chest, you can discover motivational wisdom, passion and vulnerability lurking by the side. When he hits these highs, there’s always a guest, partaking in the mushy business. Moelogo acts as a perfect foil for the inspirational ‘Love yourself’, Korede Bello offers to croon on ‘Far away’, while the syrupy bounce on ‘Pain killer’ can cure many aching ears due to Runtown’s melody. Flavour drags it all into Nigeria with his woman-worship on ‘Your waist’, but his subject matter pales with the honesty of ‘Baby mama’. But the height of hooks remains with Praiz and his earnest efforts on ‘All I want is you’.

With “Highest” album, one thing is certain: Sarkodie is driving home the fact that he is miles ahead of his counterparts in Ghana, and qualifies for a spot in the pantheon of African rap gods. The music matches his ambitions, his talent dwarfs all doubters, and if you look closely enough, you could find him deservedly smiling to the bank.

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