Charles Nii Armah Mensah popularly known as Shatta Wale has dominated the music scene in Ghana for the last 5 years. His success as a dancehall artist has elevated him to international status with American pop goddess Beyonce, featuring him on her Lion King album.
One might wonder how a one hit wonder rapper turned around his music career to become one of the most celebrated, revered and influential artists in Ghana.
Two things are responsible for the success of Shatta Wale with the first being his willingness to change.
Shatta Wale started of as a hiplife artist in the early 2000s when hiplife was dominating the airwaves in Ghana. His song “Moko Hoo” which featured one of the best Ga rappers at the time Tinny was well received and enjoyed a lot of airplay. Unfortunately, Bandana as he was known then could not follow that up with most of the songs released after that not enjoying the same attention. Some people might argue that Obaa Yaa was a hit but how many people even remember that song?
Shatta took some time of music and according to him he went to his first love which is dancehall. He sorted the advice of veterans such as Yoggi Doggy to help shape his career as a dancehall artist. He dropped the whole hiplife game and reintroduced himself as Shatta Wale, a dancehall artist. The rest they say is history. Not many people especially those born in the late 90s and early 2000s will have a clue about the rap career of Shatta
The second thing that had made Shatta successful, is his ability to court controversies. Not only does he start most of them, he does embrace it when it knocks on his door. His ability to manoeuvre them and emerge with his career still intact is something else.
From the day Bandana turned into Shatta Wale, not a single month passes without him embroidered in some form of controversy from fighting with other artists to fighting with event organisers. Shatta Wale started his dancehall career with a beef against one of the veterans of the game Batman aka Samini. When that beef with Samini was ended, he moved on to his prodigy Stonebwoy while still involved in a situation with Sarkodie. As for event organisers Charter House, the least said the better.
None of these controversies has had a negative impact on his career but rather helped him reach new heights. The worse thing to come out of his antics was the death of Fenneck Okyere, the manager of rapper Kwaw Kesse aka Abodam. The manager of Shatta at that time Bulldog was linked to the death of Fenneck with the tension between both camps well documented before his passing. This even had zero impact on the Shatta Wale stock.
His boycotts of VGMAs and the recent altercation with Stonebwoy at last year’s award show still has not made a dent in his career. This shows how smart he is when it comes to handling controversies.