Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jr, (born 17 October 1985, known professionally as Shatta Wale (formerly Bandana), is a Ghanaian singer, songwriter, actor and CEO of Shatta Movement Empire. He won Artiste of the Year at the 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards for his best known single "Dancehall King", and has appeared in films such as Never Say Never, The trial of Shatta Wale, and Shattered Lives.
Having achieved street credibility in a fairly undeveloped Ghanaian dancehall genre at the time, he achieved popularity with his 2004 single, "Moko Hoo", which features Tinny. Then known in the industry as Bandana, the song earned Him a Ghana Music Awards nomination. There afterward, Bandana went missing in the music industry for nearly a decade until rebranding himself in 2013. He began releasing music under a new name, Shatta Wale, under his record label (Shatta Movement Records).
In 2014, he peaked at number 38 on E.tv's "Top 100 Most Influential Ghanaian" Awards chart. He has since appeared on the chart each year. He was ranked "Most Influential Musician" on social media in 2017. He won 8 awards at the 3Music Awards in 2019 and also the most awarded dancehall artist in Africa.
Charles Nii Armah Mensah Jr. was born in Accra, Ghana at the Police Hospital on 17 October 1984. The son of a couple from Accra and the Volta Region of Ghana, his father is Charles Nii Armah Mensah Sr, a politician, businessman and legal practitioner. Shatta Wale attended Seven Great Princes Academy at Dansoman, a suburb in Accra, where he demonstrated an affinity for arts and acted in a popular drama series, By the Fireside, at the National Theatre of Ghana. Growing up, he lived with his family in Laterbiokorshie, Dansoman and then later Korle Gonno during his formative years. In a Facebook live video, Wale stated that he did not enjoy motherly love and care at the early stages of his life because a pastor caused a separation between his parents which made him remain under his father's care and later ending up on the streets. His mother is Elsie Evelyn Avemegah.
As a child, his father introduced him to the Jamaican culture by playing Reggae records in the house and also continuously travelling with him to the UK to meet his relatives who were half Jamaicans. These exposures made him develop a love for music at a tender age. His intense passion to do music made him lose interest in schooling but his father forced him to complete his high school education later in the Volta Region of Ghana which had initially kicked off at the Winneba Secondary School in the Central Region of Ghana. Even in the school and right after school he pursued his musical dream but his father did not agree and wanted him to become a lawyer, this led to a misunderstanding between the two eventually tearing down their beautiful relationship.
Shatta Wale lived in almost all the ghettos (Nima) in Accra just to survive: "There were many times I slept without food. I have been through all the hustle in life, I mean hell. I have lived with the people and became one of their own. No wonder my music easily resonates with the people. I am thankful to God for making me see the daylight." Stated in an interview.
Shatta Wale later went to Jamaica to polish and master his dance hall craft. "Every boy in Ghana doing dance hall came for tutelage from me before mastering the dance hall genre. So no wonder my fans call me King because they know the history of the modern dance hall in Ghana" Shatta Wale stated in an interview.