Shortly after the release of Soja, the single introducing the first album, Black Sherif just released his much-awaited debut album, The Villain I Never Was. The smash singles Second Sermon and Kwaku The Traveller, which turned out to be two of the fastest-rising songs on digital streaming platforms, have helped the Ghanaian superstar go through the years with exceptional success.
Prior to the album’s release, the rapper/singer stated on his Twitter that “it took everything to give life to this body.” After giving the album a careful listen, it is clear that Black Sherif genuinely exposed the most intimate aspects of his being. The album’s themes revolve around his life as it moves quickly, the spirituality brake, the strength of his courage, and love and loss. The Villain I Never Was is a great indicator of the artist’s growth since his breakthrough.
The 14-track album, which has no features at all, was produced by some of the top producers in the music scene, including the popular JAE5. The album explores diverse rhythms, including popular Ghanaian culture, R&B, reggae, and even the soca sound, although mostly relying on the rap style known as drill. All of them work together to express the themes of the body of work and magnify the artist’s unfiltered voice.
Black Sherif’s music is beautiful not simply because of his outstanding rhythm, but also because of how quickly he draws you in with his sound. He takes advantage of your attention and leaves his sound indelible in your head, making it difficult for you to let go. His use of Twi has never been an obstacle because you can understand him as clearly as the day and sense the emotions flowing through the rhythms.
Regarding The Villain I Never Was, I make the supposition that Black Sherif may have chosen each track too carefully, giving them each a plot, and connecting them to the concepts of the album as a whole. He utilizes each track to pour his heart out and become vulnerable in them as the album is a powerful statement about his experience.
From the opening track, The Homeless Song, where he discusses the difficulties he has had as a man, he creates this project. He then takes us through the song Oil in My Head, where the lyrics show us how blessed he is, and brings us to the closing tune, Second Sermon remix with Burna Boy, a tribute to his late cousin Sister Mariama.
Black Sherif holds our attention throughout the entire hour-long album with his voice and incredible beats. My presumption travels down the road of challenges, triumphs, living life on the fast track, courage, love, and grief before arriving to the final two tracks, the meaning of which I am unsure.
Through songs like Soja, Prey Da Youngster, and Sad Boys Don’t Fold, he exhorts listeners to be courageous. In these tracks, his raw, atypical vocals and poetic words are at their most powerful and touching, with a strong delivery style. His fierceness in the choruses of the songs and his genuine rendering of the lyrics in Twi are reflective and thought-provoking.
Black Sherif’s song Konongo Zongo speaks of his origins and the Konongo community in where he was raised. The drill-influenced song is a summary of his existence, where he is, and how good he is to go unnoticed; “I’m not to be slept on,” he declares, repeating his trademark hysterical laughing from The Homeless Song and Soja. It is only proper to rap slowly in his native Twi language given that the song is about his humble beginnings.
“Spend a lot of time on yourself”, Black Sherif says in the song 45, which was produced by JAE5. He first discusses self-love before declaring, “I don’t care about me no longer,” at which point it becomes clear that the rapper is only interested in chasing the bag since he only wants to survive. One would have a hard time believing JAE5 produced the song if he hadn’t made his customary ad-libs at the beginning of it. After all, 45 has a completely different sound—one more akin to Black Sherif.
Even in the pit of hell that is life, love is something you tend to find and lose; Toxic Love City is the perfect story of “love and loss,” of loving someone and losing them due to “over thinking.” Don’t Forget Me, a reggae-infused tune, has sensuous percussion and silky chords that speak of summertime love. The song is serene and spiritual, offering a novel viewpoint from Black Sherif’s seemingly limitless range of abilities. Still singing about love, Black Sherif continues in Oh Paradise, this time making an improved try at singing in Twi. His attempt to sing about love not only stirs your emotions, but also makes you move your body to the beat.
Black Sherif made a conscious effort to intentionally color some of the tracks with a subdued hue of dark terror as part of his broader endeavor to portray himself as The Villain I Never Was for his debut. His debut album is brimming with feeling, energy, and soulful splashes. Even though he uses his native tongue, the song is still enjoyable, and the album as a whole is impressive.
Leave a Reply