by michael eli dokosi/www.blakkpepper.com/ghana
When Charter House, organisers of the 20th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards announced nominees for the ‘Artiste of the Decade’ category having candidates Sarkodie, Samini, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, R2Bees, Efya, Becca, Okyeame Kwame, No Tribe & Nacee and Joe Mettle, many fans vociferously made a case for their preferred candidate.
But from the lot, the fan favourites who emerged were Michael Owusu Addo and Emmanuel Andrews Samini known in showbiz circles as Sarkodie and Samini respectfully.
At the music award’s first decade, highlife supremo Kojo Antwi scooped the award in 2009 and with the Saturday May 18, 2019 award; a new face has emerged for the next decade.
According to Charter House, the winner must meet the criteria 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.”
So who better deserved it?
Samini has been in the music space since 1999, proving himself relevant even in 2019 a feat many cannot equal. For a period, Samini was Ghana’s shining light wining international awards, gracing platforms and dishing out sumptuous performances to the delight of fans and new converts.
He won the ‘Best African Act’ at the 2006 MOBO Awards and after releasing his second self-titled studio album, Samini, he won three awards at the then 2007 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. In February 2008, Samini won the ‘African Artiste of the Year’ award at The Headies. His third studio album, Dagaati, was released in 2008. After launching his 7th studio album on December 22, 2018 titled Untamed he won the Reggaeville 2018 Album of the Year.
His albums include Dankwasere (2004), Samini (2007), Dagaati (2008), C.E.O (2010), Next Page (2013), Breaking News (2015) and Untamed (2018). The years of release shows this is man not to scoff at.
He won the MOBO Awards as the Best African Act in 2006, MTV Africa Music Awards as Best Performer in 2009, the Headies as Best African Act in 2010, the Channel O Music Video Awards as the Most Gifted Reggae Dancehall Video Artist in 2011, won Bass Awards as the Artiste Of The Year, Best Performer (Reggae/Dancehall) and Best Dancehall Artiste in 2013.
On the Ghana Music Awards platform, he’s won the Artiste of the Year, HipLife Artist Of The Year and African Magic Artiste of the Year in 2005.
Then in 2007, he scooped the Pop Song of the Year and Record Song of the Year.
Aside the awards, Samini has also earned various nominations in Ghana and abroad. Crucially however he has been a rich musical source offering hit albums and singles at will, moving crowds with with his electrifying live performances, cultivating style lovers with his locs and apparel combination and generally conducting himself as an ambassador of brands and a gentleman.
It was Samini with his superior ragga flow and general musicianship who sent rivals; Yoggy Doggy, Sonni Balli and now deceased Ronny Coaches to foreign lands.
When Shatta Wale made a comeback and took a more militant posturing, often throwing salvos at the Daggati man, Samini braved the storm performing at the Accra Sports Stadium and distinguishing himself honorably.
Samini in many eyes had done enough work to merit taking home the trophy but on the night rival Sarkodie scooped the title.
Nothing can however be taken away from Sarkodie as he’s been prolific as much as decorated.
In an industry where some notable musicians have never earned a VGMA nomination or secured a win, Sarkodie is the exception having been nominated for Artiste of the Year for 6 consecutive times from 2014 – 2019 and 8 times in total.
This shows Sarkodie’s audience appeal and popularity over the last 10 years has been phenomenal. His appeal is so strong beyond Ghana’s shore that he emerged as the first Ghanaian to ever win a BET award when he won the Best International Act: Africa category at the 2012 BET Awards. At the 2014 MAMAs, he also won the Hip Hop Artiste of the Year. At the Headies Awards in Nigeria, Sarkodie also known as Obidipondi scooped 3 awards. There are also AFRIMA wins and others.
On the YouTube side of things, his ‘Adonai’ song and video remains a big draw. It won him the Song of the Year at the 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards and has over 64 million views on YouTube.
As the most decorated artiste ever at the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, Sarkodie is the proud winner of 21 VGMAs, the most for any Ghanaian artiste.
MTV Base ranked him sixth on its list of the Hottest African MC’s in 2014.
His albums span his debut album Makye (2009), Rapperholic (2012), Sarkology (2014), Mary (2015) and Highest (2017).
While Sarkodie holds his annual ‘Rapperholic Concert’, Samini also stages his yearly ‘Saminifest’ event. Bothe artistes self-produce music on their respective labels; Sarkcess Music for Sarkodie and High Grade Family for Samini.
As was done for this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards; enabling Prof. Kofi Abraham, Rev. Mrs. Mary Ghansah and Obuoba J.A. Adofo to walk home as joint recipients, the Artiste of the Decade title could as well have been given to both Samini and Sarkodie who have influenced music trends, given hit tunes, been prolific musically and generally run notable enterprises to global acclaim.