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Music helped him regain his spirit. High school friends introduced him to hip-hop, particularly the mid-aughts trap later led into the mainstream by the Migos. “For a long while, nothing had impressed me like that,” he says. ”I was like ‘yo, what kind of music is this?’”

It led him down internet wormholes, towards the Chicago drill scene and pioneers like Chief Keef, another influence he’d bring into his sound. From then on, he had tunnel vision; he’d spend endless time making songs, neglecting schoolwork, much to the chagrin of his parents.

In Sherif’s eyes, his path was largely two choices: go to university, or follow in his dad’s footsteps and join the family business. “I wasn’t happy in school,” he says. “It got to a time I wanted to stop and just come home and be whatever. I was sad, man — I wasn’t living with my mum, I wasn’t living with my dad. I was like, what’s life? If I didn’t go to university, that was what I’d be doing, selling my daddy’s tires.”


Deep down, Blacko didn’t want to do that. He’d desperately held onto the potential he felt in his music, and he’d been eager to go to Accra after hearing about its bustling scene. So he opted for higher education over the family business. At least, that’s the story he told his parents. He lied about applying to university to evade his mom, an excuse to make the move to Greater Accra at 17, staying with an older cousin in Tema.

That was his launchpad. “I won’t be back for two or three days, [then] I’ll come back home,” he says, wryly. “I won’t be back for one week, then one month. Then I ducked.”