2022 has been the undeniable year of Black Sherif. Since breaking into the Nigerian market with the Burna Boy-assisted remix of his hit single, Second Sermon, the Ghanaian rapper has offered us back-to-back hits and features like Kwaku the Traveller and Always with DARKOO.
At just 20 years old, Black Sherif, popularly known as Blacko, has created a fun, introspective mix of hip-hop and drill that reflects his complex background and emotions. With the release of his debut album, The Villain I Never Was, I reached out to Joseph Nti of the wildly popular Sincerely Accra Podcast to help me understand some of Blacko’s Twi lyrics on four of my favourite tracks.
There’s a distinct grit and energy to Black Sherif’s music, and 45 is one track on The Villain I Never Was album that aptly reflects this fiery energy.
While lyrics like “If I fail, I needed that I’ll come back stronger” and “A tough skin, that’s the trauma child code” remind me of Cast, Ayra Starr‘s middle-finger-to-failure Gen Z anthem, Black Sherif’s 45 exudes a sense of desperation and urgency that makes it a harder hitting song.
Standout line in Twi: “Sɛ meyɛ aa na mewu aa na meko”
Meaning: “If I do and die, then I’m gone”
Prey Da Youngsta
Are you really a rapper if you aren’t flexing with double entendres unprovoked? Prey Da Youngsta could work as preying on the youngster or praying as a youngster in the spotlight.
Firing at the haters who want to see him fail, Black Sherif is confident in his spirituality as he continues to sing, “Holy father holding me right now.”
Standout line in Twi: “Nyame nkoaaa n’aso mi mu”
Meaning: “Only God’s got me.”
Sad Boys Don’t Fold
It’s the way I’ll submit my entire salary to watch Black Sherif perform Sad Boys Don’t Fold live. This crowd-pleasing anthem finds Black Sherif shouting out his crew and everyone else who’s hustling to make it despite the shitshow called life. A visual example of the quintessential grass-to-grace story, Blacko is quick to tell his listeners that the hustle always pays off in the end.
Standout line in Twi: “We’ll be great enti moda a monda”
Meaning: “We’ll be great, so sleep easy.”
Blacko has shown us time and time again that he’s not afraid to confront different parts of his emotions, from anger to desperation — and on Oh Paradise, grief. Inspired by his late girlfriend, Clementina Konadu, who died five years ago, he complains about being left behind and broken promises while taking out time to ask what life is like over in paradise.
No, it’s not allergies, man. It’s real tears over here.
Standout line in Twi: “For paradise s3 wuduru aa kae s3 meow fie. Bisa blessings for your man na meebr3 eh”
Meaning: “Remember me when you get to paradise. Ask for blessings for your man because life is hard.”