Michael Owusu Addo, known by his stage name, Sarkodie is by far the most talked-about musician in Ghana now.

He has been described by legend rapper, Obrafour as “the best thing that ever happened to the hiplife music genre”. From winning the Artiste of the Year in the Ghana Music Awards on two occasions, to winning the Best International Act: Africa category at the 2012 BET Awards, the spirited performer has been endorsed by record producer and Founder of The Last Two Music Group, Hammer as, “a phenom for rap in our industry.”

Although many applaud him for his good works, his attitude towards media houses and his choice of words have been questioned by some major stakeholders and observers in Ghana’s showbiz.

This is where I think he needs a publicist. You may not agree with me; but before you cast your doubts, follow the chronology of events…

He was said to have shot himself in the foot when he released a mixtape titled “Free Press” in which he expressed his feelings about the Ghanaian media and how unfair it has been to him and others. Many entertainment pundits and media personalities found his lyrics annoying and disrespectful especially the line that questioned his targets if they think he pays the likes of Clarence Peters with pomade.

Not too long ago, Sarkodie was bashed and labelled a braggart by a section of the public for saying that he was called by American rapper, Ace Hood for a collaboration contrary to claims by Ace hood that he agreed to feature on the song when twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000) hit his account.

On this same issue, Mark Okraku Mantey, Chief Executive Officer of Slip Music, declared that he would not comment on any matter concerning Sarkodie following Sammy Forson’s [a member of the rapper’s management team] dig at him.

A seemingly unhappy Mr Forson took to twitter and lashed out at the Hitz FM Programmes Manager   upon reports that the latter had described him as one of Sarkodie’s “errand boys”. Mark later denied ever referring to Sammy Forson as an “errand boy”.

The BET award winner after dropping his much anticipated fourth studio album Mary tweeted that his respect for Accra based Multimedia’s Joy FM had dropped from 100 to 0. He accused the radio station of inaccurately reporting an interview he granted its sister station, Hitz FM., a subsidiary of multimedia published an article which stated that the artist says he does not just grant media interviews anymore because he has come of age. Sarkodie alleged that the reported account was absolute “lies” targeted at gaining “traffic”.

Legendary highlife artiste, Obuoba J.A Adofo rebuked Sarkodie for the comments. He advised the rapper to retract and apologise to the media since radio presenters played a major role in his success story.

On this same issue, filmmaker, Socrate Sarfo has observed that Sarkodie is over stepping his boundaries and needs to reconsider his behaviour and relationships, lest he will go down.

“…one thing I will tell him is that he ought to remember where he started from. He is getting bigger than himself and that is what is affecting him. Sarkodie may come down because of this. People need to tell him the truth,” he said.

Prior to this, host of Peace FM’s Entertainment Review show, Kwesi Aboagye had denied Sarkodie an interview to promote his “Mary” album launch, saying that he sees no reason why he should give him an airtime to promote his event because the SarkCess Music act does not open his gates when called for radio interviews.
Is Sarkodie’s behaviour a cause for concern? Perhaps, he should listen to his collaboration with Obrafour in 2009: HIPLIFE

Sarkodie as a youngster had gone to seek advice from legend, Obrafour as to how to succeed and remain relevant in the music industry. He was urged, among other things, not to be egoistic nor carried away by stardom. ‘The Executioner’ knowing that some people may not like what Sarkodie will say, advised him to be mindful of his utterances and avoid bragging – for God gave him the rap talent.

Of course, whatever you do, some people will have their misgivings. However, as concerns are being raised about your person, you have to take a second look at your behavior and adjust.

Sarkodie according to hiplife grandpapa, Reggie Rockstone is not as outspoken as dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale – a reason for which he acts as the unofficial spokesman of the BET award winner. However, in instances where Sarkodie comments on issues, either through music or tweets, he seems to go contrary to what Obrafour advised against.

His character has been called to question on a number of occasions although those close to him say he is calm and shy. You can pardon him for his lyrics considering the fact that he started as a ‘battle rapper’. However, if he is able to draw a line between when he is rapping [which requires strong punchlines and bragging, sometimes] and approach real life issues, he will be doing himself a lot of good. There is no need to show off as an artiste. And that was exactly the concept behind the HIPLIFE song. Sarkodie has come a long way but probably needs to take a sober reflection at this time.Knowing when and how to comment on an issue is key. It happens, that because the issue is about you, there is the possibility of being carried by your emotions; that is the reason why an artiste of his calibre needs a publicist. Arguably, your relationship with the media as an artiste can make or unmake you.

In all the instances cited above, Sarkodie might have had a case; yet his approach often exposes him to otherwise needless criticisms.

By: Albert Benefo Buaben