Some people wondered whether Shatta Wale would recover after rapper Sarkodie dropped My Advice on October 10. The three-minute diss track fired shots at the critically-acclaimed dancehall artist, who has remained relatively mum following its release.
“Nobody go get time for your bulls*** so you for see the way you dey approach it,” Sarkodie rapped.
But Shatta didn’t just recover, he soared. Three days later, Shatta released “Reign,” his 13th studio album that has since peaked to number six on the Billboard World Album Chart.
“I expected that,” Shatta quipped in an exclusive interview on the Super Morning Show.
On Friday, Shatta casually strolled into Joy FM’s studio flanked with an entourage the size of an army squad. He is an enigma of sorts – on one extreme, he exudes cool and calm while expressing his affinity for God – a name he mentions at least 20 times in the span of a two-hour interview. The other side is punchy and raw. When asked about the Sarkodie beef, he cracks.
“Sarkodie is a very small boy. He is a junior to me and he has forgotten himself.”
More on that later.
Before Shatta Wale became one of Ghana’s most popular celebrities who rocked the nation with chart-topping hits like Dancehall King and Freedom, he was Charles Nii Armah Mensah, a young man who came from humble beginnings in Nima, a small community nestled inside Accra. His love for music came early when family members he had visited in London encouraged him to tap into his talent.
“I had a plan to finish SHS and pursue my music career then go to University,” he told Joy FM’s Daniel Dadzie.
Shatta Wale at Joy FM’s studio Friday.
But the universe had other plans arranged. After SHS, he began grassroots style, growing a small fan base by performing in local communities in Accra. Then known as Bandana, he infused dancehall, reggae and hip-hop into his songs, creating a fresh sound that many bought into. But he failed to gain traction, so he disappeared, rebranded his style and emerged again in 2013 as Shatta Wale. He hasn’t slowed down since.
“I didn’t know it would come so quick,” he recalls. “I remember asking God for hit songs.”
He recalls pulling himself by the bootstraps and “hustled” to pay for studio time and music videos.
“It was stressful. People used to look at me with my dreadlocks like, “this guy,” hinting that they didn’t believe he would succeed.
He did more than succeed, though. He triumphed. As of date, he’s been nominated for more than 50 awards, winning at least half. Under his watch, he has created the “Shatta Movement,” an exponential fan base that follows his every move with praise. He’s gone on to become brand ambassador for Guinness Ghana Breweries and Rush Energy Drink and has received a giant gold coin from President Nana Akufo-Addo himself.
“Even the President likes me,” he said. “I don’t know why.”
At one point, Sarkodie liked Shatta, too. The once-upon-a-time friendship was buoyant. In 2013, Shatta lauded the rapper as the “best rapper in GH.”
But that relationship went sour earlier this year when Shatta posted on Facebook that Sarkodie was a “fool.” He then went on Luv FM and called the rapper “poor.”
Sarkodie responded with My Advice. Then the internet shut down.
“He shouldn’t give me advice. He should go advise himself,” Shatta said.
Shatta Wale and Sarkodie during happier times.
He was referring to a line in the song where Sarkodie rapped, “new money, new car, new house so you can’t think far, But time is running out we for raise bar.”
“I don’t brag,” Shatta refuted. “If I don’t have I don’t have. But you’re giving me advice and you don’t even have your own car.”
He contended that “Sarkodie is trying to tell people that if you’re an artist and have a car, you cannot take a picture of it.”
He continued: “You’re a rapper and you want to behave like a doctor. People shouldn’t take showbiz as the banking business.”
When asked if he would respond to Sarkodie’s diss on wax, he replied, “Why should I reply to a rapper? I’m in dancehall.”
“We had love for each other but when love breaks up, we should accept it. I love his talent, but fame comes with a whole lot of evil.”
Shatta did admit that he is willing to forgive Sarkodie only if he “comes to apologise on the radio.”
While the controversy commences, he is grateful. “I thank God for the positive things he’s put in my life.”
And he has this message for anyone who is considering jumping into the entertainment industry.
“Showbiz is a package. You need to know where you stand because people are going to watch you all over the world. Know what you are about,” adding that when things go wrong, it is okay.
“I believe that a lot of people stress themselves. Life isn’t perfect. [God] brought us here to see how we can sort things out.” With persistence, entertainers can share a message that will go “around the world.”