Why did Sarkodie rap in English on ‘Stir it Up’?
When the 20 seconds teaser leaked online, I saw a lot of people complaining that Sarkodie should have done the rap in English. Does it really matter? Well, it matters sometimes and I am sure Sarkodie got the memo and served it hot.
People are going to enjoy music regardless of the language in which it is done.
They are always going to defend it with the “music is a universal language” cliche.
But it is also an incontrovertible fact that people RELATE to music BETTER if they understand the message. Songs don’t merely entertain.
They also inform, educate and inspire.
So for people interested in what is being talked about in a song and how well-knitted the lyrical content is, they need to understand the language to appreciate that.
For example, someone who does not understand Twi would wonder: “what did Sarkodie add to Bob Marley’s love ‘vibes’ we’ve heard already? What did he ‘say’?”
Language wouldn’t automatically guarantee you a hit but it is one of the factors that could determine how well your song would be accepted, appreciated and analysed.
Recently, videos of some American YouTubers reacting to Lyrical Joe’s rap popped up and observed with glee, how much they were enamoured of the Ghanaian rapper’s works.
They could not have done that reaction or breakdown if they didn’t understand the language Lyrical Joe used.
Sarkodie is a rapper who works more with words and rhythm. Any music analysis of this new international project would be limited to just his flow and the producers work, if he did everything in Twi. Assessing what largely makes him a rapper - his words, would probably be a problem for most music lovers in that case.
To prove that he still wanted to project his Ghanaian heritage (Twi) and also appeal to an international audience, he rapped in his usual Twi but dunked in some English lines.
This is not the first time Sarkodie is deploying this hybrid strategy though.
He knows the market he is targeting and would do what would make him win the hearts of new fans while keeping his culture alive.
Bob Marley, a global music icon, did his songs (including ‘Stir it Up’) in English - the most widely spoken language in the world. If one wants to communicate to the world through music, there is no denying that using the language that is spoken by about 1.5 billion in the world (English) is the best bet.
There is a reason South Korean boy band, BTS would do some of their songs like ‘Butter’ and ‘Dynamite’ in English. There is a reason Burna Boy does same.
There is a reason even Angelique Kidjo has songs in English. There is nothing wrong with doing a song in your local dialect; but strategically, your target market for every song may inform which other languages you may want to add or use. That is exactly what Sarkodie did on ‘Stir it Up’; mixing Twi with English.
Congratulations to Sarkodie and his supreme d seeream team on this project.