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