It will surprised you to know that Beyonce’s collaboration with Shatta Wale was not born out of wedlock. Yes! Shatta Wale did impress Beyonce with two of his biggest qualities. In fact, Shatta Wale being the most dominant figure in Ghana’s Entertainment and him being the loudest force in Ghana music.
A World class Artist like Beyonce with regards to her caliber, will be looking out for impact as she sought for creative people in her quest to drop the most talked about masterpiece, amid COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Black is King‘, as the name portrays is a visual album that seeks to “celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry“. Beyonce recruited several talented African acts; Shatta Wale, Wizkid, Blitz the Ambassador, Burna Boy, Yemi Alade among other up and coming talents for a project she calls her “passion project that she has been filming, researching and editing day and night for the past year“. This clearly emphasize the point that all those talents on the Album were carefully selected. It means they were not chosen haphazardly, it was a strategic decision to choose these top African acts on how dominated they are in their various countries. I’m talking about the musicians, not the other creatives.
Now, come to Ghana, pick up just two Artist without including Shatta Wale,. Can that be possible? Absolutely No!. He has the biggest number of fans among all contemporary Artists in Ghana. if you choose two artists, let’s say Sarkodie and Shatta Wale. I will explain why Shatta Wale will be chosen over Sarkodie in the next paragraph.
Sarkodie is a known Rapper, the biggest African Rapper at the moment. No doubt. He has got international appeal that goes beyond awards, achievement, songs, cross-border collaborations and more. However, he is not the most popular Artist in Ghana at the moment. Shatta Wale comes slightly above him in terms of popularity, as it stands now.
Now, looking at the entire guests on the Album, one can notice that there were no rappers aside Jay Z, her husband. Beyonce’s focus was not on Rap. When she was recruiting African stars for the project, she did not look at someone who could give her great rap verses. She was looking at great african melodies, Afrobeats and definately not hiphop, where Sarkodie has the skill set. When you take a vivid look at all the visuals, there are certain keys aesthetics that runs through the entire Album. The Dance styles from Ghana and Nigeria, the African Costume, wildlife, mountains, colorism, black supremacy and more. She has said the album sought to celebrate the Breadth and Beauty of Africa.
Beyonce’s prime focus as the executive producer was Return on Investment (ROI). Which Artistes will help me sell this message about blacks in a more impactful manner?
She wanted few artists who could do the work at once. Since her focus was Afrobeats there was no way he would choose SARKODIE over Shatta Wale or even come down to choose Kuami Eugene, Kidi, King Promise who known Afrobeats Highlife Artist in Ghana, but with very little influence. Maybe I might not be able to convince Sarknation, but Shatta Wale was undoubtedly the right choice. Factors that lead Beyonce and his team to consider working with Shatta Wale goes beyond favoritism. Shatta Wale is a strong force in Ghana music. He has got the mileage, and his brand could help push the song to the level Beyonce wanted it.
When the song dropped last year, it was more than good news for Ghanaians, but the atmosphere heightened when the visuals dropped on Friday. It came as a big surprise across board as Shatta Wale dominated Twitter trends for 3 consecutive days and even more. As the only video available for free streaming on YouTube, the rest of the visuals on the album is available for paid subscribers on Disney+. Disney spent $100million dollars on the ‘Black is King’ Album, strategically to make Disney+ popular globally, to compete extensively with NETFLIX.
Ghanaian Star, Shatta Wale received praise from public figures including President Akufo Addo, Jay Z’s Roc Nation, among other Entertainers for his positive contribution on the song, ‘Already’.
Did Shatta Wale single-handedly caused this big news for African music to happen overnight. That is a Big No! His Partners Fantasy Entertainment who owns and operate The Fantasy Dome Ghana were the catalyst who caused the entire deal to happen. I bet Zylofon Music also had a hand in making sure this happened.
The influence from Fantasy Entertainment
As an Artist/Event Management group which also specializes in Record Label services, their Job was to lobby big gigs for their clients which notably includes Shatta Wale. In other to be a part of history making, Leslie Quaynor together with his team placed all their efforts in securing this huge deal from Beyonce’s management company, Parkwood Entertainment.
How they made the magic is entirely up to them. All I say is they have made Ghana Music super great. They are a part of history.
However, some few critics in the industry are of the view that Shatta Wale did not meet Beyonce face to face. They keep stressing that it was all in the hands of the editor who combined those scenes, fit it together for simply an amazing audiovisual.
Meanwhile, Shatta Wale’s Manager on ‘United Showbiz‘ revealed that even-though some dance scenes were shot in Ghana, the scenes where Beyonce was seen with Shatta Wale were shot in Brooklyn, New York. He told Nana Ama Mcbrown.
Some Entertainment Analysts have said this is the biggest Collaboration to ever happen in Africa, apart from ‘One Dance’ Wizkid and Drake.
By Sylvester Owusu | Vibeweek.com