Love him or hate him, Shatta Wale has achieved the feats some of your favorite Ghanaian artistes, both past and present generations could ever dream of.
Shatta Wale has had one of the fatest rises in the history of Ghanaian music. 13 years ago, Bandana was nothing but an underground artiste about to release a Raglife Album with a hit single “Moko Hoo” which almost instantly became a street anthem. His dress code heavy with the colours of Ghana’s flag in the music video endeared him to many music fans. From the beginning, his family was not supportive of the music path he had chosen. 4 years ago, he re-emerged unto the Ghanaian music scene re branded as Shatta Wale with another hit “Dancehall King” and he has not looked back since. “Dancehall King” is arguably his career’s biggest boost.
2013 became a promising year for Shatta Wale after he released “Dancehall King”. The song’s influence set Shatta Wale apart— the Alkaieyda dance craze was on and the song just made the dance even more popular. From the ghettos of Nima to the plush houses in East Legon, the song got everyone dancing. It was after that song that the whole country started paying close attention.
The same year, Shatta Wale released “Everybody Like My Tin”. While some Ghanaian artistes wait for months or longer periods to release another hit single after a breakout single, Wale’s “Everybody Like My Tin” came just after a few months of him bubbling under. “Everybody Like My Tin” was a lot of things. It was original and it proved that he still had a lot of hit singles in the closet. He recorded the song “Everybody like my Tin” for his mum on her birthday for her to dance to. He was sending a message across to the Ghanaian Music Industry with lyrics like “Dancehall king dem all a wonna wonna SM youth raise your banner banner” that he was back and back to claim his throne. The production was good. The single was such a big deal. Wale doesn’t even have to sing to it these days—the ecstatic crowd in their thousands, sing along to the verses and the chorus word for word.
Shatta Wale and his team deployed a tactic which worked. In May 2013, after losing out on a Ghana Music Award to Kaakie, Shatta Wale hurled unprintable insults at Kaakie and then recorded a song “Letter To CharterHouse”. He expressed his anger towards the Event Organizers, Charter House because he felt he deserved the award over Kaakie. Wale has never been happy with the amount of airplay his songs receive. Which is what makes his success progressive. He represents a new generation of artists in the country who have managed to build strong fan bases using mostly the internet and online music sharing platforms. Wale stills uploads his music on Mediafire.com till date.
The Kaakie issue sparked a feud between Shatta Wale and Samini of High Grade Family, another mainstream Dancehall artiste on whose record label, Kaakie was signed to. It is undeniable that the beef boosted the careers of both artistes but Shatta Wale benefitted more from the beef. The beef helped catapult Shatta Wale into the mainstream—he was beefing with one of the biggest artists in the country at that time, and him being the underdog played to his advantage. And although he was not the first Ghanaian artiste to speak up about the alleged manipulations of Industry Awards and shortchanging by event organizers, he was the most popular because of the “Letter to CharterHouse”. And although many people felt he was arrogant and proud, others also liked him for being blunt.
After that, there was no stopping Shatta Wale. Your opinions didn’t matter. He had done something no other artist had done. By 2015, Shatta Wale was a fully-fledged Ghanaian superstar with major endorsement deals and the money to back up his stature. In 2014, Shatta Wale was unveiled as one of the brand ambassadors of Guinness Ghana Breweries along with other musicians like Reggie Rockstone, EL, and Fuse ODG for Made of Black campaign. Shatta Wale has also been unveiled as the brand ambassador for newest energy drink on the market the Rush Energy Drink.
Shatta Wale was doing what not many before him had done. He did not show up to collect the Artiste Of The Year 2014 Ghana Music Award after the event organizers refused to pay him 70,000 Ghanaian cedis to perform at the Awards Show. He released “Letter To CharterHouse Part 2”, the next day to spite the event organizers for their inability to pay him 70,000ghc to perform. With lyrics like “me no need no award”, “Common 70,000 you do not want to pay me” “they can’t use me, they can’t take me for cheap”, he taunted CharterHouse with the song.
Love his music or not, Shatta Wale has managed to keep his name on Ghanaian music fans’ lips. Be it through his hits, his beef with Samini, or his beef Criss Waddle where he alleged on the song “Don’t Try” that Criss Waddle was a homosexual and his diss song “Say Fi” to Yaa Pono or wearing a fake “ADLDAS” hoodie on the video for “Bie Gya.”
On the fake ADLDAS hoodie issue, Shatta Wale speaking to Delay on The Delay Show said “It was deliberate. They brought the hoodie. I knew it was fake but Youtube pays me. So I told my manager that I will wear it because it will get people talking. And it worked.” On Criss Waddle, he called him a homosexual on The Delay Show and said “He is not my friend. If I knew he was gay. I won’t have recorded a song with him”.
Most of the things Shatta Wale does or says are deliberate. It’s always to create attention and get people talking about him. That’s how he thrives. That’s how the Shatta Movement Family brand thrives. In 2015, Shatta Wale recorded and released the highest number of songs of about 100 with bangers like “Zenabu” and “Mi A Evil”. In 2016, he released 104 songs and 2017 is 6 months gone with hits like “Ayoo”, “Dem Confuse” and “Hosanna”. There is no stopping the Chammmpiiooooon now!
When Wale releases songs, he indeed has us talking. For instance, “Taking Over” a song in which he featured Addi Self, Joint 77 and Captan has got everyone talking. It has gone on to become one of the biggest songs this year, forcing critics to swallow their words. The “Sergeant Lee” verse on “Taking Over” is said to be a direct jab at Stonebwoy, another Ghanaian Dancehall heavyweight and it got everyone talking. When Wale performed the song 2 months ago at the Vodafone Concert, Trade Fair, it had a greater effect on the crowd than “Dancehall King”.
For a long time, he had the accolades. According to Wikipedia, Shatta Wale has been nominated 67 times for various award categories locally and internationally including Reggae / Dancehall Artiste of the Year category, 2016 Ghana Music Awards Uk and Most Influential Artiste, 2016 4Syte Music Video Awards. He has won a total of 39 awards since 2013 including Best Song, 2017 Ghana Entertainment Awards USA and Most Influential Artiste, 2016 4Syte Music Video Awards which is an impressive feat.
Shatta Wale has silenced most of his critics since he popped up. And as we speak, Shatta Wale is easily the biggest musician in the country right now. He did it by following trends and innovating at the same time. He used his beef with Samini and CharterHouse to his advantage and played with our emotions (even though he probably won’t admit it.) The sky is definitely the limit for the SMF Dancehall Champiiiiooooon!