With his newest single released last week titled Free Press, Sarkodie seems to have gone the full distance in throwing insults at the media in Ghana. He takes the media to the cleaners in a way that perhaps no Ghanaian artist has ever done, not even Shatta Wale, DKB or Bull Dog.
In his song, Free Press, Sarkodie demonstrates his own “freedom of the press” to launch a multi-pronged scathing attack on the Ghanaian media whom he accuses of being mediocre and not doing enough to support artistes.
He also laments how the media tends to focus solely on the negative side of artistes’ careers instead of promoting their positives.
In the song, which was recorded over the instrumental of Busta Rhymes’, Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See, Sarkodie sings about the frustrations he has encountered working with the Ghanaian media and criticises them for their lack of ambition.
He raps on the song that the media has developed a pull-him-down attitude, and asks them to emulate the late Komla Dumor, whom he praised for using his (Komla Dumor) influence at the BBC to get him on a show on that television network.
“Since Kwame Nkrumah we are proud of nothing else; daa pull me down cos negativity sells; they don’t f**k with me cos me I know them really well. Only give you interviews to show you how I really felt”, he raps on the song.
The, multiple award winner, says in the song that he is speaking on behalf of all Ghanaian artistes and tells the media bluntly to “get off his back” since they have done nothing to support him throughout his career. He attributes his success to his own hard work and the support he receives from his fans.
“Listen I’m a poor boy coming from the street, all I have is my fans and the flows on the beat. Obi firi ne kurom beyé biribia yé hu no huge, we are looking for superstars but we still sleeping on fuse, how? That’s international,” he says.
Sarkodie, whose resentment is apparent in his tone throughout the song condemns the opinions of panelists on television entertainment review shows describing their comments as “silly views.”
He challenges the media to put their money where their mouth is, adding that entertainment show panellists who accuse him of not performing on bigger platforms, should themselves aspire to host shows on big platforms such as MTV.
“I go through the stress and you still have the guts to tell me I perform for cleaners, blacks, what the f**k is wrong with you. I did it on my own,” he says.
He questions why no representative from the Ghanaian media accompanied him to the BET Awards when he was nominated for an award but rather chose to stay in Ghana and tweet their views from their homes.
In the concluding part of his song, Sarkodie turns his anger on event organisers who engage artistes for shows, pay them very little money, and turn round to accuse artistes of putting out low quality videos.
But in an interview with Sarkodie’s manager, Sammy Forson, he predcictably rallies to the support of his artiste by saying that the issues Sarkodie raise in his song were not peculiar to Sarkodie alone but it was a general problem faced by most artistes in the country.
He explained that the song was not targeted only at the negative elements in the media. Hesaid that Sarkodie was not trying to pick a fight with the media but rather he was being blunt and letting the media know his views.
“Artistes are creative people and so derive their energies from the environment in which they reside, so if all they face is constant negativity it becomes hard for them to continue with their work,” he added.
He questioned why some elements in the media did not seek clarification from Sarkodie or other artistes whenever they had rumors about artistes but instead rush to publish these as facts.
Sammy Forson compared the situation in Ghana to what pertains in Nigeria where, he said, the media throw their weight behind local artists and asked the Ghanaian media to emulate that example.
Graphic Showbiz reached out to some entertainment media personalities to ask their thoughts on the issue.
Blogger, Ameyaw Debrah described Sarkodie as one of the artistes who has received the most support from the media but he admitted that although Sarkodie raises some genuine concerns in his song, the manner of expressing his views paints the entire Ghanaian media in a bad light. He was of the opinion that Sarkodie could have been more specific since there were certain elements in the media who had supported him constantly throughout his career.
“The manner in which he expresses himself in that song leaves much to be desired because if he feels that the media is not doing enough to support him and his fellow artistes, he could have made this known in a much better way, “he said.
Reacting to Sarkodie r’s complaint that Ghanaian media did not attend the BET Awards to cover the event, Ameyaw Debrah questioned why he would raise such a point.
“The BET Awards is just like any other show or event that will come and go so why should it be of any significance? A journalist being there does not add anything to his credentials, there is no point in paying for a flight all the way to the US just to cover it,” he added.
Popular entertainment writer, Francis Doku was the opinion that Sarkodie in trying to express his opinion about the media went overboard, describing the comments about Ghanaian media not being at the BET Awards as “pushing it.”
“There is no reason Sarkodie should say a journalist or reporter should be physically present at an event before he can comment on it. Does this mean anyone who comments on a football match should also be present at the stadium?” he asked.
Francis Doku said that although Sarkodie might have some legitimate concerns about the attitude of the media towards artistes he should not appear to be looking for a war with the media adding that irrespective of criticism from the media, he still had the media to thank for his current success.
“It’s funny that he should title his song free press, because that is the same principle the media he criticizes are also working with. He is free to express himself but he could have done that in a more decorous manner,” he added.
Sarkodie real name, Michael Owusu Addo, is a multiple award winning hip life artiste who has worked with some of the biggest names in the Ghanaian music industry. He is the first Ghanaian rapper to win the BET Award for the “Best International Act (Africa) and has performed on some of the biggest international platforms with international artistes like Jay-Z, T-pain, Chipmunk among others.