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The Villain I Never Was: One Year On—A Hero’s Story.



It’s been a year since Black Sherif launched his much-anticipated debut album, ‘The Villain I Never Was’, which has amassed over a billion audio streams across the digital streaming divide.
The 21-year-old announced he was ready for war with the first single off the album, ‘Soja’. Black Sherif went above and beyond by pouring all his perceived virtues into the project. It embodies all he stands for: originality, honesty, hope, pain, attention to detail, and so much more.

The multi-award-winning artist began working on the album in 2020, with his decorated emo-love song ‘Oh Paradise’ being the first off-album to be recorded with his longtime friend and producer, Samsney. The potpourri of 14 tracks, which were recorded between the Anglophone sonic capitals—Accra and London—has Burna Boy as the only featured artiste, with production credits to UK-based producers AoD, Dystinkt Beats, JAE5, LiTek, RNDM, WhYJay & Zaylor, Nigerian powerhouse, London, German-based Ghanaian producer, Ghanaian Stallion, and his in-house master duo, Joker Nharnah and Samsney.

Speaking about the ‘Villain’ in his album title, Sherif told DadaBoy Ehiz on Africa Now that, “We as individuals are all connected in some way, and some way somehow we are all fighting different battles – internal, external – and with me everything I’ve learned or say are more like experiences, things I’ve seen or things I’ve seen people go through. With my life, I feel like sh*t bro. I feel like I’m fighting myself, and I’m a human, I need to feel like that sometimes. It shouldn’t always be up.

“All of the time I’m the villain – in my story, in people’s story – everywhere I’m the villain, but when I sit and think about it I know “Nah bro, I don’t just wake up to be a villain.” I’m fighting for my life, I’m trying to make sense, I’m trying to be a better person so I really wasn’t the villain that people paint me to be or that myself is telling me. I’m not the villain.”


The Villain I Never Was saw scintillating visuals that served as the bedrock for the stories told on the album, with creative direction from Ghanaian award-winning videographer and director David Nicol Sey, who shot Kwaku the Traveller and Oh Paradise, and Nigerian decorated music video director TG Omori, who brought the visuals of 45 to life.

The album enjoyed several laurels, including placing 49 on Fader’s top 50 global albums for 2022, earning him the Best International Flow Act at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2023, Artiste of the Year at the 25th Ghana Music Awards, and Best West African Act at the Headies Awards, among others.

Black Sherif’s ‘The Villain I Never Was’ highlights the meteoric rise of the Konongo native into global music, and it’s the perfect chaperone by the sad boys.

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