August 10, 2023 — The Black Sherif saga continues with Take Care of Yourself Blacko, an introspective pair of singles, “YAYA” and “Simmer Down,” out today. The project chronicles the 21-year-old’s growth through adversities, as he navigates the cold streets of fame while staying true to himself.
While “YAYA” follows the lens of his alter ego, a rebel who gave fate a chance and is in search of healing, “Simmer Down” is a highlife, soul and drilled infused anthem about keeping a winning mentality and practicing patience to downplay opposition.
The tracks, produced by his two in-house collaborators, Samsney and Joker Nharnah, were teased to fans during his acceptance speech for “Artiste of the Year” at the 24th Vodafone Ghana Music Awards in Accra.
Since last year’s release of his debut album, The Villain I Never Was, Black Sherif has solidified his 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 2022 on Spotify and the most streamed Ghanaian artist of all time on popular African streaming platform Boomplay. With no gimmicks, Black Sherif has reached these pinnacles in record time—leading the charge as one of the foremost pioneers of the new sound emanating from Africa.
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, Complex UK and more, 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. His critically acclaimed debut album, The Villain I Never Was, arrived in October of 2022 with the lead single “Soja” debuting at #23 on the Billboard US Afrobeats chart. Accompanying music videos for album favorites “45,” “Konongo Zongo,” “Oil in my Head” and “Oh Paradise,” stand as a testament to Black Sherif’s artistic depth as each of the conceptual visuals have amassed many millions of views on YouTube.
Recent months have been a whirlwind for Black Sherif, who for the first time graced stages around the world including Afro Nation Miami alongside Burna Boy, Pharrell’s Something in the Water Festival, Wireless Festival in London 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 star 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.