Ghanaian superstar, Black Sherif, releases the cinematic, blockbuster music video for his summertime anthem, “Oil in my Head,” which is out today via EMPIRE and Road Boys Association. Reflecting the lyrics, “Everythin’ I touch is blessed,” the video depicts Black Sherif’s one-of-a-kind journey as he has reached stardom never seen before by any other Ghanaian artist. The video comes as an exclamation mark after the incredible success of Black Sherif’s debut album, The Villain I Never Was, which was released in October. The album solidified Black Sherif’s place as one of Africa’s most powerful creative voices and amassed massive global streaming numbers, which made him the most streamed Ghanaian artist of the year on Spotify and the most streamed artist of the year on popular African streaming platform Boomplay. As memorialized in the “Oil in my Head” video, Black Sherif won ‘Artiste Of The Year’ at the 2023 VGMAs, which is the highest honor at Ghana's most prestigious awards show and was a career defining moment for the 21 year old star. Watch the video for “Oil in my Head” here and stream The Villain I Never Washere.
Recent months have been a whirlwind for Black Sherif, who for the first time graced stages around the world including London Stadium alongside Burna Boy, Pharrell’s Something in the Water Festival, Afro Nation Miami and his own debut headlining concert at Palladium Times Square in New York City. While in New York, OkayAfrica trailed Black Sherif for their Summer 2023 cover story and he also sat down with Ebro for an exclusive Apple Music interview where he reflected on his journey so far. Other recent highlights include his appearance on the blockbuster Creed III soundtrack, executive produced by J. Cole’s Dreamville, with “Blood, Sweat & Tears” alongside Bas and Kel-P, and his feature on "Celebrate," a collaboration with Jamaican superstar Popcaan. Black Sherif also was one of the key celebrity guests, alongside Idris Elba and Sheryl Lee Ralph, to accompany Vice President Kamala Harris in Ghana during her Africa tour in March.
Self-proclaimed as the “street preacher,” Black Sherif, who was born as Mohammed Ismail Sharif Kwaku Frimpong and is referred to as “Blacko” by those close to him, is already one of the foremost leaders for a new generation of African artists. He has defied all odds handed to him since growing up in Konongo, a small mining town from the Ashanti Region of Ghana, to become the country’s biggest star. Carving out his own lane by bringing a distinctive sound to a new African generation, Black Sherif bridges the gap between Afrobeats, Highlife and Asakaa (Ghanian Drill). His potent wordplay, illustrative storytelling and unique ability to seamlessly tread between dialects, regions and genres, combined with his captivating, explosive performances, has transcended his talents across borders. He dropped his first single ever, “Cry For Me,” fresh out of high school at age 17, while his next one, “Money,” released in January 2020, depicted his coming of age, maneuvering through the tough streets of Accra, Ghana. His big break came in 2021 when his songs, “First Sermon” and “Second Sermon,” catapulted both him and Asakaa onto the map. “Second Sermon” was listed #16 on The Fader's 100 best songs of 2021 and the remix, which features Nigerian star Burna Boy, gave Black Sherif even more notoriety internationally. However, it was “Kwaku The Traveller,” the hit single that exploded on TikTok and generated 100 million plus streams in 2022, that stamped Black Sherif as a superstar in the making. NPR, The Fader, OkayAfrica and Complex UK, all named “Kwaku The Traveller” as one of the best songs of 2022 and the success earned Black Sherif a nomination for “Best International Flow” at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards.
Sherif has been spotlighted on the cover of Apple Music's Rap Life playlist, was named a Spotify Radar Artist, featured in YouTube's Foundry Class of 2022, was named as Audiomack's #UpNow artist and has continued to be in rotation on Drake's OVO Sound Radio. “A certified hit-maker,” (Complex) Black Sherif explored his range on The Villain I Never Was, approaching his debut from a limitless lens. While the opener “The Homeless Song” set the backdrop of a struggling young man, hopeful tracks like “Oh Paradise” and the lead single, “Soja,” embody his strength. “Soja” debuted at #23 on the Billboard US Afrobeats chart. In his cover story interview with Okayplayer this month, Black Sherif reflected on his path. “I talk for a frustrated figure in the city, a frustrated boy,” Sherif said. “I'm not from the city, but I live in the city. I came to chase a life and dream there. From love to entertainment to surviving. Driving out there, I’m testing my limits.”
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