SarkCess Music record label on Sunday, April 14, announced that it has ended its contract with Strongman after two years of their working relationship.
“SarkCess Music wishes to announce the end of its contract with Osei Kwaku Vincent well known in showbiz circles as Strongman,” the press release said. “Working with a gem of his kind for the past two (2) years has been priceless.”
According to the label, which has also signed Akwaboah, their journey with Strongman has been ‘remarkable and amazing’ and that the rapper has ‘proved beyond doubt to be a sensational talent, gracing the Ghana Music Industry and the world with his presence hit after hit and some incredible performances.’
The press statement ended with a promise: “our doors are forever open and we promise to extend a helping hand any way possible should our services be needed.”
In a separate statement, Sarkodie stated that: “on paper, we might be at the end of a journey but in reality, the magic still continues. We thank God for seeing us through this wonderful relationship. We set a time to make history together and we did!! Thanks for allowing me to be part of our success story and your legacy. Time is up! To take the world, Strongman, always know that you are my fav [sic] emcee and the world ain’t see half what you got. You still that n**** #WateAnaa.”
Sarkodie signed Strongman on March 25, 2017, following some rumours. Strongman actually broke the news to me during my first interview with him on Pulse Chat in 2017.
During their signing, Sarkodie noted: “If you ask Sarkodie who my favourite MC is at the moment, undoubtedly it’s Strongee cos [sic] it’s really hard for a rapper to listen to a fellow rapper but this guy right here I can say on regular basis always finds a way to amaze me when he drops the bars. It’s an honour to have this talent right here.”
Strongman joined SarkCess Music after graduating from the University of Cape Coast. He had left Mic Burnerz – an independent record label based in Kumasi – before completing UCC.
Under SarkCess Music, Strongman made some successes; he released an EP, titled “Still That 9igga,” won the “New Lord” award at the 2017 4Syte Music Video Awards, won the “Best Rapper” award at the maiden edition of the Ghana Music Awards SA (South Africa), and released a few hits singles including “Transformer” featuring Akwaboah and “Baby Girl” featuring Kuami Eugene. He also earned a nomination at this year’s Vodafone Ghana Music Awards for "Hiplife Song of the Year" with "My Baby."
Before joining SarkCess Music, he was pulling his weight as an independent artiste. He recorded his own songs and funded his own music videos. He managed to work with a few top rappers including Edem, Shaker and Yaa Pono, and got two fairly hit songs; “Oh Joo” and “Market 24/7.”
But what does the future hold for Strongman?
It’s straight from the shoulder and let's call a spade a spade: it’s going to be rugged for the young rap virtuoso.
Many will agree that recording deals are one of the major factors hindering Ghanaian talents from achieving excellence. Even talent hunt shows which have given juicy recording deals to its winners over the years haven’t been able to support them to the top.
Zylofon Media, once a promising label, crushed in the twinkling of an eye and its artistes are facing the consequences. Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy are okay but the likes of Kumi Guitar, Obibini and Becca, who weren’t on any label before joining Zylofon, have been heavily affected by the wave.
There have been other accounts of successful artistes who faced hard times after leaving their labels. Eazzy, OJ Blaq, Zigi, Irene Logan and Asem’s exit from Richie Mensah’s Lynx Entertainment label gave them tough times. Kofi Kinaata’s exit from Samini’s High Grade Family has partially affected him. E.L’s exit from BBnZ Live affected him.
Only a few have been able to survive such breakups. Sarkodie, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale are a few examples.
But can Strongman survive?
The truth is one: it will be hard for him to establish a ‘fully fledged’ label like SarkCess Music within this short period to continue his success story. Unless he has a great ‘plan B,’ it will be hard for him to continue the success he has achieved at his previous label. His future is simply quivery, but the good news is that, it's a new challenge for him. He decides to win or lose.
Nonetheless, I hope this doesn’t become another déjà vu and also hope SarkCess Music keeps their promise.