It is 7 years apart and maybe that is not a coincidence. 7, after all, is the lucky number. In 2010, a young scrawny rapper known for his dexterous rap capabilities became the darling of the Ghana Music Awards when he was nominated for 8 awards. 8 categories isn’t usually a big deal until you realise it was his first year at the awards. For the first time, an artiste was nominated for both the smallest award (Discover of the Year) and the biggest award of the night (Artiste of the Year). To make it even more exciting, the newbie walked away with 5 of the 8 awards he was nominated for. It was the birth of the greatness we know as Sarkodie.
Since that year, Sarkodie has gone on to become the most nominated and most awarded musician in the history of the Awards. He has been nominated for the coveted Artiste of the Year category, 5 out of the 7 years since he first made his appearance and won it twice, becoming the only solo artiste (and the only other artiste besides VIP) to have won it more than once. We might never get to experience another rapper who embodies greatness in the way Sarkodie does but we continue to hope.
So while we stay optimistic, this year’s VGMA nominations list brought a sense of familiarity I wanted to explore. Inasmuch as I hate disclaimers, this one is necessary. I am in no way comparing Medikal as an artiste to Sarkodie. However, there is a level of similarity between their first nominations at the Ghana Music Awards that can’t be ignored. Let’s look a little deeper.
Medikal isn’t the first artiste after Sarkodie to be nominated for both New Artiste and Artiste of the Year in the same year. MzVee achieved that feat in 2015. However, he is the first rapper after Sark to get those nominations. Beyond that very iconic similarity comes the rest of the nominations Medikal has gotten this year. Whereas Sarkodie got 8 nominations in his first year, Medikal has 7. That remaining one can easily be chalked off to the fact that Sarkodie had an album at the time of the awards (which got a Best Album nomination) whereas Medikal doesn’t. Another difference between their roaster of nominations is that where Sarkodie got nominated in the Best Song Category for his hit single Baby which featured his friend and fellow Tema musician, Mugeez, Medikal missed out on that category but made up for it by snatching a nomination in the Afropop Song category with Too Risky, on which he featured his girlfriend Sister Debbie. They both got nominated in the New Artiste (formerly Discovery), HipHop/Hiplife Artiste, HipHop Song, Best Collaboration, Best Rapper and Artiste of the Year categories.
It is important to note that, while Sarkodie got his first big moment in 2010 and Medikal is getting his in 2017, both rappers had been at the game for a considerably longer time before they were recognised by the mainstream and subsequently the awards body. Rapping their way through a slew of grassroot fans and building a community of supporters who were in love with their style, they finally earned their due and got recognised.
One major difference between them, however, is that while Sarkodie’s first showing was at a time when he was pushing to make a living off his musical talent, Medikal is very publicly known as one of the wealthy artistes in the game.
The beauty of this cosmic alignment of the two talents culminates when you realise that both artistes got 7 nominations each this year including Best Rapper of The Year. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens on the night of the 18th Ghana Music Awards event where we find out if Medikal will match, beat or get beaten by Sarkodie’s record.