Kings and Gods – Ghanaian Illustrators Take on The Rap Beef of 2016

July 11, 20164 min read

In 2016, the Sarkodie M.anifest beef was all the rage in Ghanaian hip-hop. This write-up relives that era through different digital illustrations depicting Ghanaian illustrator’s people’s take on the beef.

The Ghanaian Hip-hop scene is worked up thanks to a rap Cold War between two of its heavyweights, M.anifest and Sarkodie. Tracks have been released, shots have been fired, sides have been taken, debates rage on over who’s better, the beef has permeated I daresay, the national discourse and Ghanaian illustrators are flexing their design muscles and expressing their opinions and expectations through their work.

Sarkodei vs M.anifest beef
M.anifest Sarkodie beef illustrated by Romeo Luh for OMGVoice

Below is a collection of art pieces on the ongoing beef that hit our radar along with links to the songs that fuel this much needed lyrical brouhaha. Paraphrasing Swayye Kidd, this beef is a win for Ghanian hip-hop and in our case, art.

It supposedly started with E.L’s King Without A Crown. This was followed by Sarkodie’s Bossy where he asserts himself as boss over the King without a crown and in many people’s view, threw shots at M.anifest.

Sarkodie art by Nutifafa

M.anifest apparently wasn’t having any of it and came out declaring himself the godMC above his subjects.

M.anifest art by Ink Monsta
God MC M.anifest illustrated by Ink Monsta

Sarkodie never one to back down from a fight retorted with Kanta, a clear diss track to M.anifest.  The most talked-about lines from the track are in reference to Sarkodie’s jabs at M.anifest’s Afrocentric fashion. This has inspired many hilarious memes and illustrations from Kiaski Donkor and satirist Bright Ackwerh.

Sarkodie M.anifest beef
Sarkodie M.anifest beef even in fashion. Illustrated by Kiaski Donkor.

Other rappers like tongue-twisting Gemini, poet Ian Jazzi, raw spitting Kula and super producer Jayso have also released songs generally calling for a ceasefire in favour of growing the industry.

Nazir take on M.anifest Sarkodie beef by Louis Appiah

The remaining artworks either pitch one rapper against the other or share the reconciliation sentiment. Another curious one, however, stokes the flame even more by mocking the beef and is representative of other musicians who have weighed in on the beef without any releases.

The majority of art we’ve come across generally juxtaposes the two objectively while the rest is largely skewered towards M.anifest.

Enjoy regardless.

Sarkodie by Nana Fred Kofi
By Michael Bisiw for Pulse Ghana
M.anifest Sarkodie beef
Kasahari beef Via 3news 
M.anifest Sarkodie beef by Bright Ackwerh
By Bright Ackwerh
M.anifest Sarkodie beef by Manuel Afrishia Fletcher
By Manuel Afrishia Fletcher
M.anifest Sarkodie rap beef art
By Cling
M.anifest Sarkodie beef
Via Top Chart GH 
By Kofi
Sarkodie M.anifest beef by Daniel Tatchi Anouan
Sarkodie knocks out M.anifest by Daniel Tatchi Anouan for Wob3tekpa
M.anifest art by Nutifafa
M.anifest by Nutifafa
King Sarkodie by Moh Awudu
King Sark by Moh Awudu

Cover illustration by El Carna

Update:This beef has since been squashed and both artists are on cordial terms, as recently confirmed by M.anifest in an interview with Kwadwo Sheldon.

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