Ghanaian singer and rapper, Black Sherif is riding the wave of Pan-Africanism and chopped melancholic half-raps, with poignant lyricism that appeals to the typical African audience.
“Who never fuck up, hands in the air/ No hands,” the popular bar from his latest single “Kwaku the Traveller” that has joined the pantheon of celebrated African pop culture.
Born in the gold-rich Ashanti region of Konongo, Black Sherif is the first Ghanaian musician to sit atop Apple Music’s Top 100 Nigeria chart. He’s also number one in more than 10 other African countries.
The 20-year-old entered the Nigerian market with a remix of his 2021 hit single “Second Sermon” (feat. Burna Boy). Nigerians warmed to it; the record found its its way into big charts, and the music video resonated with the lives of many locals.
Misery loves company and pain is universal; talent and thoughtfulness make fine ingredients for the perfect story, of course; Black Sherif has tapped into all of these narratives, despite not being from a poor background.
Not even the long-standing “jollof wars” could prevent Nigerians from celebrating a Ghanaian star – a pertinent reminder that indeed we are one-west-African-people separated mere by borders; not the struggles, not the dreams, not even the beliefs.
Although Black Sherif’s melancholic lyricism is no new invention, there’s a certain freshness that follows his half reggae-like raps sung in interpolating patois capable of enticing every Afrobeats follower.
The fact that “Kwaku the Traveller” is currently one of the most Shazammed songs on the planet, is a true testament of how much people are fascinated by his delivery, and can relate or want to relate to his stories.
The world yearns for an “against” the odds success story. Part of his lyrics particularly emphasise that, his style and the themes present in his music videos also do.
Black Sherif has built that image of a typical African hustler, struggling to survive the hardship and horrors of the ghetto.
How long he will ride this wave is still unknown, and there’s been a good number of people like him in the past who are no longer around.
Will Black Sherif, Kwaku be the outlier?
Guess we will leave that answer to time.