In recent years, Sarkodie has moved from being a main act to an advocate of youth and black empowerment. Sarkodie, originally is an advocate rapper, and it’s not surprising how he found mainstream success addressing social issues with freestyles like Politics, Inflation, The Masses, Dumsor, Issues and a few others but that wider recognition coincided with Sarkodie himself being increasingly praised for his flow and delivery, rather than his individual talents.
In his recent rap on the BET Awards Cypher, Sarkodie gained a lot of respect and recognition for pointing out few issues from slavery to freedom, self love to dark skin and black excellence. Now we get to hear the whole thing in his new song “Brown Paper Bag” featuring Manifest.
“Brown Paper Bag” the title of the song represents corruption and bribery and deceit. The song is a bit of a reset. Here, Sarkodie uses the deep ambivalent lyrics of black generation to represent the past and present of being black. Built on the sharp contrast between coax, syncretic lyrics and menacing traps, the song expresses Sarkodie’s pain as a black man and calls for a mass wake up.
Slavery is still a conversation in 2020 and will forever be if we don’t mentally free ourselves. The part of the song where Sarkodie said “In the beginning Na Me Wo Mienu were stuck on a slave ship, but sisiaa we’re free we’re on some ape shit, but Y3n Y33 free totally we’re still in the matrix. Salve No Y3 stages, sisiaa Na Y3 Du stage six. 3ny3 physical, systematic mind game” hits differently in all angles and just a gentle reminder we’re still slaves in a modern age.
“Free!” he chants as the song swings between the 808s and harmony. Free is when you decide for yourself, Free is when nobody’s controlling your wealth, Free is when you stop begging people for help, Free is finally when you breaking out from a spell.
Sarkodie warns black women against bleaching and preaches how beautiful the dark skin is. Many a time, the average black woman would rather want to look “otherwise” because of mental programming and social acceptance but in his lyrics, he mentioned it’s never wrong to be black, it’s just the brainwash and confidence some of you ladies lack.
Manifest, a Ghanaian rapper who has savoured both the Western culture and his Ghanaian or black culture shares a different introspect in the song. Manifest talks about how rich the land of Africa is, blessed with all these natural resources, yet the people suffer. The statement of “Our Leaders Are Wicked” just crawls back into our ears. African leaders want it all for themselves but they always forget the people who put them into power.
“Your skin black, so is your mind too“, this line raises a lot of questions like, “Is there ever going to be a change in Africa, is there really a new Africa out there?” Blacks always talk about how “Black Lives Matter” but indeed Black Lives Matter don’t matter to these Black or African leaders, also the individuals.
Manifest reminds the leaders how we got here as Ghanaians. He takes us back to February 24th, 1966 when The Late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown and how brainwashed we are. He continues to say “we pray for rapture instead of manufacture” which clearly implies the acts of these leaders would leave us all dead rather than invest and build a better nation.
“Religion is a prison and we dying to be living and we losing our minds to be thinking of winning and we bound to the chains of foreign exchange“, This line takes us back to the slave days where many believe the introduction is religion did more harm than good, robbed us of our possessions for foreign exchanges.
The way forward is greatness, empowerment and successes, so dear black people, dear Africans, do not settle for less, do not settle for some “Brown Paper Bag”.
This collaboration was never expected but well it dropped and didn’t disappoint. Overall, this song a masterpiece and kudos to the beat maker NoVa.