In a multi-coloured jacket over black leather trousers, with white sneakers to finish off, Ghana’s Hiphop/Hiplife titan Sarkodie has performed and displayed his culture, stunning rap gift, and advertised his country with musical support from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Philharmonic.
His first time with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Owusu Addo, alias Sarkodie, was introduced as an “absolute legend,” by host Remi Burgz during the BBC Radio 1Xtra Afrobeats Concerto.
“What’s up beautiful people, I go by the name Sarkodie and I’m about to take you guys on a trip, all the way to Ghana,” were the rapper, hailed as Obidiponbidi’s first words on the stage.
He then performed his MOG Beatz-produced hit ‘Lucky’ featuring Rude Boy, half of Nigerian music duo P-Square.
“I love Afrobeats. Afrobeats is the biggest genre out there right now,” he noted again.
“I’m an Emcee, I rap and I love this next song,” he added and proceeded to perform his ‘Rollies and Cigars’ KaySo-produced hit from the 2021 ‘No Pressure’ album.
At the end of the performance, Mr Addo was asked how he feels about the passion with which his fanbase, Sark Nation, supports him.
“It’s still overwhelming. I need to stab myself out of it because it’s been over 10 years and more, and I’m humbled by it,” a pensive Sarkodie reflected.
Eddie Kadi, co-hosting with Ms Burgz, wondered about the rapper and businessman’s thoughts on the next generation of “young talented African artistes coming out of the continent, particularly Ghana, your homeland.”
The SarkCess Music Chief Executive Officer (CEO) answered: “It’s beautiful, I love it, it puts me on my toes and at the same time I have hope that what we built is going to be protected and it’s going to be there for a minute. So I am super proud to see all these superstars, I know that even when I retire, Afrobeats is going to be alive. So big shouts to [all], especially the superstars coming out from my hometown GH [alias] Ghana.”
He drew robust applause from the audience.
With large pieces of the legendary kente cloth hanging above him, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Compozers behind him, and the Salford studio audience in front of him, Obidi asked all to visit Ghana.
“If you guys take a trip to Africa, make sure you check out Ghana, make sure you come to Ghana [where] there’s a beautiful place called Labadi,” he said as an introduction to the performance of his latest Afrobeats/Amapiano hit with 5Star signee King Promise.
The only time the African rap heavyweight took off his iconic shades was when he did the intimate second verse of ‘Labadi’.
The most decorated rap artiste in African music history, Sarkodie performed in Akan/Twi, English and Pidgin.
Nigeria’s CKay, Maleek Berry and Pheelz also performed. So did Kenya’s Nikita Kering.
The first ever Afrobeats Concerto, with the full complement of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, marks 20 years of the BBC 1Xtra’s dedication to showcasing Black music and culture.