For many up and coming artistes, getting fame is their ultimate goal and many of rapper Black Sherif’s compatriots will definitely “kill” to bask in the spotlight he is enjoying now.
However, the old student of Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region, who has earned plaudits and rave reviews for his songs and style in the last few months, has said while he feels privileged about his current standing in the music industry, he is not in the game for fame.
He told Graphic Showbiz that his sense of contentment as an artiste was to know that the people who listened to and followed his works got excitement from them.
“Since 2019, I’ve been there doing the kind of music that is giving me all the attention but the truth is that, I’ve never really bothered about seeking or enjoying fame. That is very far from my ambitions, it is not even on my ‘playlist’.
“It is the reason my songs address the very important issues that the youth are facing. There are many distressing issues that have been ignored but the themes of my songs have generated discussions and brought excitement to listeners who feel there’s a platform to highlight their challenges.
“Therein lies my satisfaction and not fame with little or no positive impact,” he stated.
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From Money which he released last year to the recent hits, First Sermon and Second Sermon, the 19-year-old appears to be creating for himself an image of a “poverty ambassador”.
With many youth, especially those on the streets, identifying with the content of his songs, Black Sherif told Graphic Showbiz that he chose to project the street life in his music to drive his ambitions.
“I get inspiration from the streets that help me to write better. Most of the songs I write that people have come to love are true stories from people I encounter and move with on the streets. There are many stories on the streets that need to be told and it’s good my songs are bringing them out,” he stated.
Being in the spotlight has not been all rosy for Black Sherif whose real name is Mohammed Ismail Sherif. He received criticisms from a section of the public, particularly civil society groups, following the release of the video for Second Sermon.
In the video some young men brandish machetes for which he has been condemned for promoting violence. In an explanation, however, Black Sherif defended that the video showcased the creativity of the arts which was not easily understood.
“I appreciate the concerns and that was why my team released a statement but we must understand that music is art and it’s always open to discussions and criticisms. Personally, I’m always happy to hear people express their views and their understanding about my craft,” he noted.
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Black Sherif released a single Cry For Me in 2019 but started gaining popularity in 2020, thanks to the success of the Money single and later, First and Second Sermons.
While the focus on poverty seems to have caught on well with music audiences earning him seven million streams on Boomplay and over eight million on Audiomack, he said that theme was not just for the numbers.
“I don’t talk about poverty, I talk real life happenings and I don’t think I will ever write songs that I don’t relate to or don’t know anything about,” he stated.