In the effervescent landscape of African music, Shatta Wale stands as a colossus. Known to his legion of fans as Ghana’s ‘dancehall king’, Shatta Wale has carved an indelible niche in the bedrock of the genre, adorning his career with an array of accolades, a relentless discography, and an ardent fanbase that rivals the most devout of followings. So immense is his influence that his presence in Ghana necessitates a cordon of security guards, and the bustling streets of Accra only feel his tread under the cloak of night.
A straight-shooter by nature, Shatta Wale’s candor has often steered him into turbulent waters, particularly with comments aimed at Nigerian artists and their musical offerings. Yet, in a compelling twist of musical narratives, Shatta Wale has now embraced the very essence he once critiqued. In a groundbreaking move, he has joined forces with Nigerian sensations Tekno and Bankuli to birth his inaugural Afrobeats album, ‘Konekt’, an ambitious project that’s poised to redefine his soundscape. While the album’s release date hangs in the air, the anticipation could not be more palpable, especially with the debut single, ‘Incoming’, already setting the airwaves ablaze.
In an exclusive BBC interview, Shatta Wale sheds light on his artistic metamorphosis. “I don’t want to be hard on this journey that I want to pursue,” he articulates with a palpable candor. “I want to be loving… I want people to really see my fun side, my hilarious moments, my happiness. I just want people to know that I am happy now and I want to share that with the world.”
It’s a statement that resonates beyond the confines of the interview, echoing a universal desire for joy and connectivity. Shatta Wale’s pivot to Afrobeats isn’t merely a genre switch; it’s a testament to the evolutionary spirit of music. With the genre scaling new global heights, propelled by icons like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, and Tiwa Savage, Shatta Wale’s ‘graduation’ from dancehall to Afrobeats feels less like a departure and more like an expansion.
Yet, the question that looms over this sonic shift is how the die-hard Shatta fans will react. Will they perceive this venture as a betrayal of the dancehall throne, or will they rally behind their king as he ventures into new musical dominions? ‘Incoming’ is a compelling harbinger of what’s to come, an aural appetizer that has the potential to not only retain his existing admirers but also to usher in a new wave of devotees.
As Shatta Wale embarks on this audacious journey, his narrative is a reflection of music’s intrinsic fluidity, its capacity to transcend borders, and its power to evolve alongside its creators. Whether ‘Konekt’ will cement Shatta Wale’s legacy in the annals of Afrobeats remains a story yet to unfold, but one thing is certain: the king is not content with his dancehall dominion; he’s set his sights on a new empire.
For an in-depth journey into Shatta Wale’s musical odyssey and his leap into Afrobeats, tune in to ‘This is Africa’ online, or catch the full interview on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa.