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  • Writer's pictureLey Cola


Rising Ghanian star Black Sherif releases the official music video for “45.” The cinematic visuals follow him on a mission to clear his name after he's framed and incarcerated. At 20 years old, Black Sherif is already known for bringing thrilling and elaborate audiovisual experiences to his music after his videos for songs like "Kwaku The Traveller" and "Second Sermon" have each generated tens of millions of views. “45” is one of the highlights from Black Sherif’s debut studio album, The Villain I Never Was, which was released last week via Blacko Management / EMPIRE. The album was named best new music by Hypebeast, was spotlighted by The Fader and has been climbing global streaming charts with five tracks taking the top five spots on Audiomack’s most-streamed new songs of the week. Already with more than 450 million streams to his name, Black Sherif is bridging the sounds of Afrobeats and Asakaa (Ghanian drill) to carve out his own lane and bring the sounds of Africa to a new generation. Later this month, he’ll make his live debut at Koko London and he’s set to make his US debut with a performance at Elsewhere in New York City on Sunday, November 6th. Watch the video for “45” here and stream The Villain I Never Washere.

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 set to be Africa's next breakout star. Bridging the gap between Afrobeats and Drill, the 20-year-old artist has topped the viral charts of TikTok, Shazam, Instagram and more, with his potent wordplay and unique ability to seamlessly tread between dialects, regions and genres. 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. “I have loved music since I was a kid. I just didn’t know I was going to make a career out of it,” Black Sherif shared with Okayafrica. “I am a Muslim. In Islam, music is more like sin, you shouldn’t make a career out of it if you are a Muslim. The music was chasing me, but I was always dodging it.” It became inevitable when his 2021 releases, “First Sermon” and “Second Sermon” catapulted both him and “asakaa,” or Ghanian drill, onto the map. Often cited as the track that changed his life, “Second Sermon” was a revelation of sorts for Black Sherif. Made two weeks after the passing of his beloved cousin, Sister Mariam, and two days after “First Sermon,” “Second Sermon” finds the rapper poignant and sturdy, rising to the occasion while at his most vulnerable state. The tracks took #1 and #2 most streamed songs of the year on Boomplay in 2021. "Second Sermon" was #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. It was “Kwaku The Traveller,” the hit single that exploded on TikTok and generated 100 million plus streams earlier this year, however, that stamped Black Sherif as a superstar in the making. From gracing the cover of Apple Music's Rap Life playlist to being named YouTube's Foundry Class of 2022, a Spotify Radar Artist in May and Audiomack's #UpNow artist in August, Black Sherif is being championed as music’s next big thing. Recently, he was nominated for “Best International Flow” at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Speaking with Rolling Stone earlier this year, he shared "Where I grew up, Konongo, I wanted to be a musician, an artist. But there weren’t a lot of people doing it. So, my whole life is an experiment. Like, let me just try this. It makes you tough and it’s exciting. There's beauty in the journey, too.” With The Villain I Never Was, his first full-length body of work, Black Sherif cements his path, stepping into his role as “a certified hit-maker.” (Complex) Stay tuned for more Black Sherif news.

The Villain I Never Was Tracklist

1. The Homeless Song

2. Oil in my Head

3. 45

4. Soja

5. Prey Da Youngsta

6. Sad Boys Don't Fold

7. Konongo Zongo

8. Wasteman

9. We Up

10. Toxic Love City

11. Don't Forget Me

12. Oh Paradise

13. Kwaku The Traveller

14. Second Sermon (Remix) feat. Burna Boy


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