Sarkodie slams record labels in Hennessy Africa Cypher

Ghanaian rap giant Sarkodie is not just being hailed for his sterling flow on the Hennessy South Africa Cypher; his message on how some record labels are ripping African artists off has caught the fancy of music analysts.

While he proves his rap dexterity on this cypher, delivering predominantly in English with tinges of some Twi lingo, he touches on the theme of braggadocio and his value in the music industry.

He also mentions, in his rap, how record labels take advantage of musicians.

Sarkodie who has, spoken about turning down offers to sign to record labels, particularly Akon’s Konvict Muzik, raps:

I did this thing myself, I never messed with majors

They gave me documents like a thousand pages

I want my freedom because most of my homies are locked in cages

It’s been a decade, I’m rapping, I’m the rock of ages.

This reiterates Sarkodie’s stance on completely signing one’s works to record labels. Some musicians have expressed their opinions on this topic in recent times.

While some think it is a form of relief to musicians who are suffering to hit the limelight due to financial constraint, other have posited that they would rather be independent and sign distribution deals so they don’t get constricted. They believe signing a 360 deal with a record label is a form of slavery.

Sarkodie goes ahead to suggest the big record companies come to talented African acts under the pretext of elevating them, while they “rob them in a broad day.”

I taught you how to do this thing the right way

They smile with you but robbing you in broad day

I’m only human, I’m only doing what the lord say

Now, this is crazy

The Ghanaian rapper also talks about how bureaucracy in the organogram of the labels makes it difficult to deal directly with other artists.

It’s kinda strange how this music has changed from how it was

I need a verse from my bro, a couple calls

But now I need to speak to some dude cos he’s the boss

Split the publishing before we hit the stores

I don’t mind, I know what I think in course

I can’t hate, cos it’s working, I see results

African music was buzzing but couldn’t cross

As soon as we signed the paper work, labels opened the doors

Finally, he likens the activities of these big international record labels to “fraudsters”.

Now I see how y’all really move

Cos the same thing that fraud people do

Throw a couple dollars, cage you in a zoo

Sarkodie has appeared in the trends for his coruscating performance on the Maison Hennessy cypher released on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

The eight-minute cypher also features other lyrically-gifted rappers on the African continent: Maglera Doe Boy (South Africa), Didi B (Ivory Coast), Young Lunya (Tanzania), Khaligraph Jones (Kenya), and Ladipoe (Nigeria).

While every rapper on the project brings out their best to the admiration of rap enthusiasts, Sarkodie has received plaudits from most Ghanaians for consistently standing out in the rap game with his uniqueness and suave.

Some have also hailed him for instigation a conversation that a lot of people dread to broach: the ills of the operations of record labels.