The 20th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards will come off on Saturday 18th May 2019. As the day approaches, fans of artistes nominated in the various categories and music enthusiasts have been making numerous expressions of hope, anticipation, predictions, among others. The court of public opinion is indeed very heated currently.
One category that has generated fierce discussions is the Artiste of the Decade category. The Artiste of the Decade is awarded by the organizers of the VGMA every ten years. In the year 2009, Kojo Antwi won this award. This year, the artistes nominated for the category are Sarkodie, Samini, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy and R2Bees. The others are Efya, Becca, Okyeame Kwame, No Tribe & Nacee and Joe Mettle.
The definition for the category is provided below:
“…..Artiste adjudged by the Board as the Artiste(s) with the highest audience appeal and popularity over the last decade. The Artiste(s) must have released a hit single/album within the last 10 years”
Upon conducting a scrutiny of the category definition vis-à-vis the artistes nominated, I have arrived at the conclusion that ace rapper, Sarkodie deserves the award most.
Sarkodie has been nominated for Artiste of the Year for 6 unprecedented consecutive times (2014 – 2019), and 8 times in total within the last decade. To be nominated for Artiste of the Year, an artiste must have enjoyed sufficient audience appeal and popularity in the year under review. Thus, for Sarkodie to be nominated for Artiste of the Year for 8 times within a decade offers a very solid and convincing indication that his audience appeal and popularity in the last decade has been the highest, per the VGMA parameters. His audience appeal and popularity over the last 10 years has even transcended the borders of Ghana significantly. This has earned him enviable honours such as the first Ghanaian to ever win a BET award (2012), won the Hip Hop Artiste of the Year at the 2014 MAMAs, won the Headies in Nigeria on 3 occasions, a number of AFRIMAs, among others.
Shatta Wale, one of the most sizzling artistes in the country in the last decade may have had more VGMA nominations and honours had he not been absent from the scheme for 3 years (2015 – 2017). However, even if he was nominated for Artiste of the Year in those 3 years, he would still not have had more nominations in the category than Sarkodie in the past decade. Even for the year 2015, Shatta Wale himself publicly tipped Sarkodie to win the Artiste of the Year, since in his view the rapper had most of the hits and buzz in the year under review (2014). The hits included Adonai, M3gye Wo Girl, Love Rocks and Chingam.
Further, in the last decade, Sarkodie has had hit singles, just as the other artistes nominated in the category. However, Sarkodie’s repertoire is replenished with arguably the biggest song to emanate from Ghana in the last decade – Adonai. This song won the Song of the Year at the 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards edition. It currently has over 64 million views on YouTube, rendering it as the most viewed Ghanaian music video ever on the audiovisual platform. It has been enjoyed impressively across the African continent and beyond. I therefore submit that it is the biggest Ghanaian hit single in the last decade.
There have also been submissions of hit albums by the other artistes nominated in the category. However, I subscribe to the view that the highly decorated rapper’s 30-track Sarkology album is the biggest album released in the last decade. The 2014 Album of the Year contained numerous hits including Illuminati, Original, Pon D Ting, Special Someone, Down on One, Bounce, Currency, Lies, Devil in Me, and several others.
Sarkodie has also managed to win the VGMAs 21 times, making him the most decorated artiste ever at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. In his first ever outing at the VGMAs, Sarkodie swept 5 awards, including the Artiste of the Year and Discovery of the Year (Now New Artiste of the Year). That was a signal of a forthcoming greatness which has manifested enviably in his 10-year existence in the music industry.
Some pundits, including co-nominee, Stonebwoy have been campaigning for Samini to win this prestigious award. Well, they are entitled to their opinions. However, inasmuch as enthusiasts may be entitled to their opinions, it is necessary to ensure that the opinions are not based on erroneous premises. The major reasons being given in favour of Samini do not fall within the territory of the category definition for the Artiste of the Decade award.
Samini won the MOBOs in the year 2006, a year which does not fall within the last 10 year period. It is also not stated anywhere in the definition that the artiste must have supported an up and coming artistes to hit the mainstream department of the industry. Therefore, it is misleading and unconvincing for the aforementioned reasons to be adduced in support of Samini to win the Artiste of the Decade award. Undoubtedly, Samini is a veteran in this trade, with a legendary feat. However, the award is expected to be delivered on merit, not on one’s level of seniority. The meritoriousness is gleaned from the category definition, which places Sarkodie above Samini.
The other artistes have done tremendously well in the last decade. Every artiste nominated in the category has made substantial contributions to entertain the Ghanaian citizenry and other audiences. However, Sarkodie’s achievements over the past 10 years are astronomical and unparalleled, as elucidated above.
Anything apart from Sarkodie winning Artiste of the Decade come Saturday will be daylight robbery.