In-House: Black Sherif’s “The Villain I Never Was”

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Dedicated to his late girlfriend Clementina Konadu who passed away five years ago but had been an indelible love that inspired the singer to open up in a heartfelt song like Oh Paradise, Black Sherif’s brand new and highly anticipated debut album has landed. Having seen a meteoric rise to the limelight thanks to his hit records First Sermon, Second Sermon, and the Burna Boy-assisted Second Sermon Remix which helped him break into the Nigerian market, the 20 year old Ghanaian music star has premiered his debut album The Villain I Never Was. 2022 has definitely been Black Sherif’s year. Apart from his personal singles, the Ghanaian rapper has also offered us tantalising features like Always with DARKOO, Come & Go with Arrdee, and GIDI GIDI with Smallgod and Tory Lanez. Black Sherif, popularly known as Blacko, has created a debut project that’s a fun, introspective mix of hip-hop and drill that reflects his complex background and emotions.

Today, the team at Culture Custodian share our thoughts and opinions on Black Sherif’s The Villain I Never Was, in this instalment of our ongoing In-House music commentary series.

What’s your favourite song on The Villain I Never Was?

Naomi: It has to be the intro, The Homeless Song. It really made me feel something.

Thelma: Soja is a pretty solid track. 

Wisdom: I can’t pick just one. It’s definitely between The Homeless Song, Oil in my Head, and Kwaku The Traveller. The Homeless Song is really high up for me.

Which track do you think has the most superb production?

Naomi: It’s Prey Da Youngster for me!

Thelma: Soja & Oil In My Head.

Wisdom: Even though I didn’t really like 45, JAE5’s production still has to be appreciated. However, I think I’ll go with Oil in my Head.

Potential hit (No. 1) song?

Naomi: Second Sermon Remix is on the album, I don’t think there’s really a contender for that song. 

Thelma: Soja.

Wisdom: It’s definitely between Soja and 45. Kwaku The Traveler and Second Sermon Remix already had their time in the limelight.

Best vocals?

Naomi: Still Second Sermon for me, because of Burna. 

Wisdom: There’s just something in The Homeless Song. There’s a reason it’s the first song on the project. I really want to know what Blacko put in the song.

Potential miss?

Naomi: Hmm, I couldn’t really get into 45.

Thelma: Don’t know if it’s a miss, but I don’t rock with that Toxic Love City jam.

Wisdom: Just because I don’t vibe with a song doesn’t make it a miss, so for me there’s none. However, Oh Paradise wasn’t giving me any paradise vibes and it won’t take long before I forget Don’t Forget Me

Most slept on track?

Naomi: The Homeless Song definitely. I feel like people think it’s pretentious to like intros, but there’s no denying it’s a great song. 

Thelma: Konongo Zongo, perhaps.

Wisdom: I think it’s Prey Da Youngsta. It’s a track you have to listen to a few times before it eventually hits.

Best replay value?

Naomi: Kwaku The Traveller

Thelma: Soja & Oil In My Head.

Wisdom: Oil in my Head is definitely a top contender for the song with the best replay value. 

Where do you think The Villain I Never Was ranks as a debut album in 2022?

Naomi: It’s a good debut album, Black Sherif is a sensational artist, no doubt about that. If I had to rank it, I think it’ll make the top 7.

Thelma: I’m definitely not the target audience for this album. But I’ll just say that there are several other debut albums/projects that I preferred this year.

Wisdom: Compared to other 2022 debut albums, TVINW is a solid project. It’s one of those albums that you either really like or don’t like at all. I don’t think there’ll be people who are on the fence. 

What do you think comes next for Black Sherif?

Naomi: Man, I have no clue. I don’t think I’ve listened to him long enough to be able to predict what his next move would be. Ideally, I’d say more features, then enough time for this album to sink in before dropping another one. 

Thelma: I don’t know. He seems confident in himself, which is good. Will be interesting to see if he can diversify his subject matter to include something other than the whole “me against the world” energy that seems to permeate his songs. Then again, the album was dedicated to his late girlfriend, so I guess the sombre energy makes sense. 

Wisdom: Black Sherif can do whatever he wants. I feel like he shouldn’t put out any new music for a while to let people really get into the album but he could release another single before the end of the year. It’s up to him. Whatever route he takes, he has a good head on his shoulder so he’s going to be okay. 

Overall thoughts on The Villain I Never Was and a 1-10 rating?

Naomi: I’d give it a 6. That should give you an idea of what my overall thoughts are.

Thelma: Wasn’t for me, but I can appreciate the storytelling, relatability and heart that went into it. I’d give it a 3/10.

Wisdom: Most people who do really well just a few years into their music careers usually don’t know where to go from there, but I think Blacko has been super smart so far and although I’m not in love with the album, I can’t deny that it is an intentional body of work. It gets a solid 6.5 from me.