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Jay-Z has sold over 50 million albums, won 17 Grammys, is worth almost $500 million and can well afford his own “gentlemen’s club” and nightclub, is the co-creator of the Rocawear fashion line and the Barclays Center stadium in Brooklyn, and happens to be married to Beyoncé and the father of Blue Ivy Carter.

Sarkodie, born Michael Owusu Addo is a Ghanaian recording artist, entertainer, brands ambassador, multi-award winning recording artist, entrepreneur, business man and a BET Awards 2012 Best International Act winner. Many Ghanaians recognize him as a leading Hip hop and Hip Life artist. He is considered a major proponent of the Azonto genre and dance.

As a stern observer of the music scene both externally and internally and having  been privileged to see the commercial birthing of Sarkodie’s career I would take a bold attempt  at analyzing what the rapper might be doing right that other artist might not have even noticed yet.

To make my work a little easier I would attempt to rub the two giant brands against each other and see what the 2 might have in common.

Rap Style and Delivery: Both Jay-Z and Sarkodie could be described as being “masters of the flow—they can flow fast, they can flow slowly and in the case of Sarkodie, he can be very fast”. Jay-Z uses ‘rests’ to provide structure to a verse and uses ‘partial linking’ to add more rhymes to a verse, Sarkodie is quite vested in this technique too.

Hits/Performances/Awards/Collaborations: Sarkodie is often found rapping in his native language, Twi, for this he’s known to be an all-round rapper due to the various styles he uses in rapping. He’s greatly recognized as the best local rapper because of the talent he has in free styling off head with existent matters occurring in his immediate environment.

In the year 2010, Sarkodie was nominated for and won many awards ranging from artiste of the year to album of the year. His sophomore album rapperholic got 12 outstanding nominations and bagged three awards in the 2012 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and won best rapper of the year two times in a role.

His outstanding talent made him the first ever Ghanaian to scoop Best International Act Africa from the BET Awards. As a result of his remarkable stage performance and talent, Sarkodie has had the privilege of performing on the same stage with international musicians such as T-Pain, Movado, Trey-Songz, and Ludacris amongst many others.

Who hasn’t Sarkodie worked with yet should be the question; if the question is turned the other way round the answer might end up being a 2000-page book. Sarkodie also has an indomitable stage presence and craft one that is similar to Jay’s in more ways than one.

Other Qualities: Jay Z is a rare business mind, a mogul, an anticipator of money and has quite the notch for calling big figures when it comes to having his name etched or getting his service. Sarkodie seems to have picked up a similar trait in recent times.

Jay Z is highly choosy when it comes to the media, he rarely does media interviews and when he does, his words are all too well calculated and there is always that one high point that would rake the headlines. Sarkodie seems to have a similar affinity.

Both rappers have been linked to a secret society and that has in one way or another boosted their brand or presence as a keener eye has been paid to their movements.

Jay Z is the hardest to find even for people who should be close enough, so whenever there is an appearance you don’t want to miss it. You don’t see him at the everyday star studded gathering even ones as premium as the BET awards.

He’s also very choosy with the kind of shows he performs at and has built a huge following by doing his own concerts. Sarkodie’s Rapperholic Concert is an ultimate one now, and he’s probably the hardest man to find in the industry.

Jay Z keeps a very small circle of trusted business minds, ones that enhance his image and challenge his business ideas and choices. Sarkodie seems to be building such a team.

There should always be that little cockiness to it, that edge that makes you understand your self-worth what some may call “swag” and both artist have plenty of it.

Conclusion: The African industry doesn’t have the mechanism to determine the worth of artist as it stands but with the little endorsements here and there for the Ghanaian rapper and the Clothing and Accessories line on the way coupled with the cash from the many shows he’s played in the past year it seems like Sarkodie could be sitting on a very decent amount of money and by that we mean a few millions.

If his brand grows at the rate at which it is growing he might just end up being the equivalent of Jay Z in Africa.


About: Kelly Faisal

I have been a serial experiential marketer for the past 6 years.


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