I have always told my colleagues that Ghanaian musicians doing the rap genre are almost always not that wise and smart enough when it comes to promoting or marketing their brands. Staying relevant in the show business is a major key to success and it could be strategically achieved without necessarily throwing jabs at each other.
For real, should I ever decide to develop a career as a rapper, my showbiz name would be “THE BEST RAPPER”. Hip hop as a culture was built on the art of braggadocio and show offs. From time immemorial, rappers tend to show their lyrical prowess by engaging themselves in a series of lyrical feud and rap battles to claim “the throne” of the best rapper in the country and probably the continent at large. Against this background, I couldn’t think of any better name that would befit my stage presence and silence my critics. I may not be necessarily good at rap but my stage name would probably condition your mind to give me your attention for a while.
Let us analyze the Pro’s and Con’s of my would-have- been stage name:
1. Imagine you happen to be an MC at a musical concert of which I’m billed to perform. How would you introduce me to your audience? That’s very simple, Mr. MC; “With a rousing standing ovation let’s show some love for “THE BEST RAPPER”. This is not the issue of hype. I never paid you to call me that. You are obliged to call my showbiz name as a sign of courtesy and mutual respect so I would say you were merely doing your job. And what more, it would be erroneous and as a matter of fact very disrespectful on your part to tag me as a “self acclaimed best rapper” rather than THE BEST RAPPER which happens to be my stsge name.
2. Calling my self THE BEST RAPPER will trigger other rap artistes who obviously wouldn’t be comfortable with my choice of name and hence might express their displeasure by throwing some jabs at me whenever they compose their music. I call that free publicity ! This is good for business and I don’t have to pay a dime to remain relevant. If you ever happen to read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, you will definitely appreciate the need to use your enemies to your own benefit. As a rap artist, this is how you can keep your enemies closer ! Think about it !
3. My name would be mentioned at every music award ceremony through out the globe. Just think of the Grammys, the BETs, the MOBOs, the KORAs, the Billboards, the Soultrains, the MTVs, the channel O, and of course our own VGMA etc. Why do I say so? Every modern day music award ceremony has an award category tagged The Best Rapper of the Year. If for any reason I happen to be a nominee in that category in any of the aforementioned award schemes, I would automatically win it because the award category even bears my name. When I don’t win it (because it is possible), the news about my inability to grab the award will spread wide like bushfire, hence compel my enemies and competitors to troll me for a while which again is good for publicity. After all in Africa, we tend to celebrate people’s failure rather than their achievements so I will be more popular than the one who won the award, just because of my name.
It’s a fact that Shatta Wale ‘the wise ant’ is mostly guilty! Most often we forget that Stonebwoy won an award because his fierce competitor Shatta Wale has a way of diverting all attention to himself. But on the day Stonebwoy lost the immediate past BET award to Wizkid, Shatta Wale the dare devil trolled Stonebwoy to the extent that we even forgot that Wizkid had won the award. Relevance is all about finding a clever way to put your name constantly on the lips of your audience. Shatta Wale is very good at that. Few months ago Shatta Wale projected a beef with Sarkodie for attention only for him to release a collaboration song with Sarkodie.
Shatta Wale is a different guy as he describes himself in ‘Ayoo’. He is extremely brilliant, wise, smart and business minded and I think it’s about time his colleagues learn from him. He described himself as the dancehall king and up till date can’t writers write about him without chipping in “self acclaimed dancehall king” to describe him.
Indeed, Shatta Wale’s name is indelible on my mind and heart of both his core fans and his ‘enemies’ simply because he knows how to project himself very well above his peers.
Music is very dynamic. There comes a time when trends change and as an artiste you might want to switch from rap music to pop music. In this regard, calling your self the best rapper might weigh you down in your quest to switch from one genre to another and it might cost you a fortune to re-brand your self.
Bottom-line: To stay active in the world of entertainment and show business, you must be relevant, to stay relevant in the game, you must be smart, to be smart in order to relevant you must be wise like how Shatta Wale is.
Frederick Mawuli Ackumey
THE VILLAGE TALKATIVE