He courts controversy but he also knows how to keep bringing the music and entertainment that keeps him relevant. For the fans and haters alike, this article will share some lesser known facts about the man, the artist and the enigma.
Before The Music
Shatta Wale was born on the 17th of October, 1984 to Mr Charles Mensah and Madam Elsie in Accra, Ghana. He was christened as Charles Nii Armah Mensah. Like all parents, Shatta Wale’s parents had some idea about where they wanted their son to go and that path led towards law, a path that evidently never worked out.
Shatta Wale began writing and recording music from his high school days. He was not to drop out like many other musicians because his parents priced education highly but he would go into full-time music afterwards. He got a load of inspiration from the formerly popular Ghanaian reggae musician, Yoggy-Doggy and first started out in his career with the stage name Doggy.
He landed a new deal with a recording studio and then became Bandana releasing the hit track “Bandana from Ghana” in 2004. He has said that he chose the name Bandana because he favoured the bandana as an article of clothing then.
Becoming Shatta Wale
He took a long break and reappeared in 2013 as Shatta Wale. He gave an interview where he revealed that he decided to rebrand as Shatta Wale after consulting God. Shatta is a Jamaican slang for ‘Gangster’, while WALE is an acronym which stands form ‘World Alerted Lyrical Entertainer’.
Learning Dance Hall
In the silent period before becoming Shatta Wale, Charles Nii Armah alleged that he was off in Jamaica learning the music genre that he has now claimed to rule – Dancehall.
His real identity as a controversial artist started to emerge after the 2013 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA). What made the moment significant? The dancehall musician and producer claimed that he was the rightful nominee to win VGMA’s dance hall Artist of the Year, accusing them of giving it to an undeserving female Dancehall artist “Kaakie”.
He made his claims more public when he afterwards released a song titled “Me Need No Awards” in which he dissed the VGMA for their supposed slight. It was after this entire episode that he declared himself Ghana’s dance hall king with a new release titled ‘Dancehall King”; a hit that brought him fully into the limelight.
He has ridden that wave since then, thriving on controversy and sharing his opinions no matter how scathing they may seem.
Shatta Wale has broken a world record after becoming the first musician to perform 118 Tracks in One Night. The momentous performance took place on July 23 at Nima. The pouring rain did not stop Shatta Wale or his faithful fans from taking full control of the night.
In 2014, Shatta Wale proved his collaboration chops after his song Wine Ya Waist’ featuring Davido from Nigeria, was named among the five must listen to tracks from around the world. Also in 2014, his song ‘You Can’t Touch Me’ was widely used by the Dancers Against Racism Campaign Worldwide.
Wale the Actor
Shatta Wale has also displayed some acting chops. He starred alongside Bisa Kdei and Majid Michel in one movie and was also in the movie Never Say Never featuring Charles Ko Bucknor, Edward Kufuor and Paulina Oduro.
Shatta Wale is traditionally married to his girlfriend Michelle aka Shatta Michy. They have two kids which makes it quite confusing that the dancehall king once said that he will finally settle down and claim the full responsibility of family life when he turns 72.
Awards and Achievements
- Shatta won Best New Entertainer at the International Reggae and World Music Awards.
- During the 2014 Nigerian Entertainment Awards, the dancehall king won the African Artiste of the Year.
- Nominated for the maiden GN Bank Awards as the People’s Choice Male Musician of the year.
- He was also named the 38th Most Influential Ghanaian by E-TV Ghana in 2015 in their annual survey of influential people in Ghana.