Michael Owusu Addo, better known as Sarkodie, is a Ghanaian rapper and entrepreneur from Tema. His contributions to the Ghanaian music industry have earned him numerous accolades, including the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for Artiste Of The Decade. He was announced the very first winner of BET’s Best International Flow act at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards. He is also considered one of the major proponents of the Azonto genre and dance.
Sarkodie was born and raised in Tema and is the fourth born of five children. He attended Tema Methodist Day Senior High School and proceeded to IPMC, where he earned a degree in graphic design. Sarkodie began his music career as an underground rapper, participating in Adom FM’s popular rap competition Kasahare Level. He met his manager Duncan Williams of Duncwills Entertainment while participating in the aforementioned competition. He also met musicians Edem and Castro, who introduced him to Hammer Of The Last Two, an established record producer who was impressed by his rap flows and allowed Sarkodie to record two tracks for his album Volta Regime.
Following his collaboration with Hammer, Sarkodie recorded his debut album Makye. Its production was primarily handled by Killbeatz and Jayso and features guest appearances from Kwaw Kese, J-Town, Sway and Paedae of R2Bees. Makye received positive reviews from critics and fans and was supported by a concert held at Holy City Gardens in Accra. In 2009, Sarkodie performed alongside Busta Rhymes at the Busta Rhymes Live in Ghana concert. In 2010, his songs “Push” and “Babe” were ranked ninth and thirteenth on Joy FM’s Top 50 songs of 2009, respectively. “Babe” became an instant hit and propelled Sarkodie to a new level of exposure.
His second studio album Rapperholic was released in 2012 and features guest appearances from Efva, Chidynma, Mugeez of R2Bees, Obrafour, Jayso and EL. The album was supported by five singles and received positive reviews from music critics. Rapperholic earned Sarkodie his first BET nomination and subsequent win, and was featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards cypher alongside Talib Kweli, Jean Grae and Ab-Soul. He also performed at the Africa Unplugged Music Festival and the 020 Live Concert.
In 2014, Sarkodie released his third studio album Sarkology, which features an immense roster of appearances from 2 Face, Davido, Banky W and many others. Following the album was the official remix of “Adonai”, which features vocals from Castro and appeared on Capital Xtra’s list of the Top 35 Afrobeats Songs. This was followed up by the launch of Sarkodie’s Sarkcess Music record label, and as part of the launch, he premiered the videos for “Adonai” (Remix) and “Special Someone”. He also collaborated with Mi Casa, Lola Rae, Davido, Diamond Platnumz and Tiwa Savage to record “Africa Rising”, a song for DSTV’s campaign of the same name. The campaign was designed to inspire Africans to partake in community-based social investment projects.
In 2015, Sarkodie released Mary, a live album named after his grandmother who died in three years prior. Nearly 4,000 copies of the album sold on the first day of its release. The following year, he spoke to a group of Harvard Business School students with a speech titled “The Art of the Hustle”, which primarily dealt with the challenges associated with being an African musician. Later in the year, he held the fourth edition of his Rapperholic concert on Christmas Day, with tickets for the event selling out within 72 hours of its release. The concert featured additional performances from Fuse ODG, R2Bees, Wizkid, Samni, VVIP, Efya and Shatta Wale.
Sarkodie released his fourth studio album Highest in 2017, which was released through Sarkcess Music and Dice Recordings. The album features guest appearances from Jesse Jagz, Moelogo, Flavour, Korede Bello, Victoria Kimani and Big Narstie. Highest was primarily produced by Jayso. The following year he married his longtime partner of 10 years Tracy in a private wedding ceremony on Tema.
2019 saw the release of Alpha, Sarkodie’s debut extended play, featuring appearances Joey B and the late Ebony Reigns, and his fifth studio album Black Love, which explores the themes of black love and relationships.