Up Close And Personal With Kenyan Rapper Octopizzo.

Octopizzo is arguably the biggest rapper out of Kenya and the man has definitely made a mark on the continent with his rap having worked with legends such as M.I. He is not only a sharp MC but an Activist, he is a Youth Ambassador of the Film Aid International and also the Founder of C.B.O. and youth group Y.G.B. (Young, Gifted, and Black).

Octopizo Kenya (2)

How would you best describe Octopizzo?

Octopizzo is the Street Smart guy  next door.

Where did you grow up and how would you best describe your childhood? I grew Up in the Largest slum in the continent by the name Kibera,Kibera is a street Heaven, all I am today I learnt from the slums,like literally everything. Hustling,Education,Attitude,Swag name it everything.

Do you think growing up in Kibera makes you hungrier than the average person?

Most Definetly,if I was brought somewhere else, like leafy suburbs I’d be so spoiled and wouldn’t have heard the same hunger. Till today I go back to my hood and get hungrier.

At what age did you realise you wanted to be in showbiz and how did realization come about?

I never wanted to be a rapper, but I was a huge fan of hip hop, I started attending hip-hop gigs at 20yrs,coz I couldn’t afford to buy ticket of any show unless it was free entrance. But the few shows I attended I realized nobody represented where I came from{Kibera} and most of the time we were spectators and fans, and the stories abt my hood were always negative. I got sick of the negative mentality of Kibera so I stepped up on stage for the 1st time in 2008 and had nothing on my mind all I had to say is “Kiberanambanane is in the House” and the crowd kept quite. And since then I went had not as a slum rapper but a kibera activist which turned to who I am today.

What inspired you to start the Y.G.B  group?

(Young Gifted and Black)  YGB was inspired by life and my friends who after high school we had nothing to do all we used to do was hang out in barber shops and read old newspapers, so I realized the importance of young hungry youth in the same struggle with the same dreams of being successful in our own different fields and the best way was to start our own mentorship Group, andthat’s how its started.

Musically who are your biggest inspirations?

My Biggest inspiration in music is My Life,Kibera& my Daughter

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My Mum is my hero, she the gangster who wss never in the streets but the one who taught me every single thing that I apply in life today.

How do you prepare for your shows?

I rehearse every single day even when I gat no shows,Infront of the mirror in my bedroom, in the car when am Driving, then when I have a live band gig,Irehearse for a week before the event in the studio with my band.

How long does it take you to write a song?

Am a freestyle artist, if you listen to my tracks carefully its always free flow , I most of thr time write 8bars of each verse as guidelines then freestyle the rest, so I can write a maximum of 5 tracks in a day depending on the inspiration vibe of the day, but I’ve never ever gone to the studio to record just 1 song. Its always 4 or 2 minimum. And it takes me less than an hour to write a song.

When can we expect a full length project from you?

My first Album is on iTunes Chocolate city it dropped last year 2014 April, My 2nd album is dropping on August 2015.

How did the collaboration with M.I come about?

Me and M.I met during coke studio, where I was the coke studio artist for Kenya and he was the coke artist for Nigeria, He’s one out of 3 coolest guys I’ve met in the World, I told him I had this track called salute me I’d like him to listen to it and let me know what he thinks, he grabbed his headphone and boooom!! He was like this is dope, delete 1 verse and give me a verse, coz I initially had 3 verses recorded already. He was flying out the next day so I booked a night studio in the hood, he didn’t care he was so humble like I’ve never seen anybody of his status being cool like that, we recorded in a bedroom and he didn’t judge or pull celebrity stunts, that Nigga is My hero, I learnt something from him that day from that humbleness act regardless of his success. So man if you can even call him, Tell Him I Iove him man no homo, he’s a trill Ninja 100.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Hip Hop game in Kenya?

The Kenyan hip hop aint that bad but it aint good either, there is a lot of Good artist with Low quality music, but music production, and cheaply shot videos, the artist don’t want to invest in classic things, they are more into quantity than quality. So a lot need to be changed.

What issue are you most concerned about in the game?

Am concerned abt making my language “sheng”(Swahili & English Slang) worldwide, am concerned more about doing quality music, inspiring the nxt generation to take it from my level and not kill it. Am concerned about African Hip hop artist coming together and killing this Western US rap domination, lets do hip hop festivals like conchela,lets do music that the cooperate will feel safe to make us their brand ambassadors. Lets take over the world with our different rich African culture through hip hop. Coz we can ONLY if we work together.

How did your role with Shuga come about?

Oh they called for auditions, they said they wanted a guy with Sexy cheekbones and fortunately I was that guy hahaha, that how I got my role, Mr sexy cheekbones… easy.

What should expect from Octopizzo in the 2nd half of 2015?

As I said above, my 2nd Album LDPC (Long Distance Paper Chaserz) is dropping on 8th August, am droping my next video that will premire exclusively on MTV also on 8th August. From the 22nd of September am heading to hamburg Germany for my album tour for 2 weeks, then London in October and keep on with the bookings,so you can book me too before the end of the year hahaha.

How has being a father changed your perception of life, art and immortality?

Parenthood is what got me out of the street, my daughter was born when I was 21 yrs old, I had no house no Job, I was still with the hood clicks, I had 5 dollars in my pocket, and that’s when I realized that is not about me anymore, there was a new sheriff in town and that was my daughter, I had to sit down and change everything. And being a dad keeps me hungry too coz I gotta provide at the end of the day, whether I have shows or not..

Tell us more about your involvement with refugees?

I 1st went to a refugee camp in 2013 as a perfomer, what I saw in the camps was exactly the same stuff I grew up with in the slums, the only difference is that they cant leave the camp, I met artist who werr talented and hungry but had no mentor or any help whatsoever, it made me think of myself when I was starting and there was know one to hold my hand or support me, so I came up with a music and sports project send it to UNHCR and I had to convince them before they would sponsor the project. And now I work with more than 100 artists in the camp from different countries and my dream is to go to all camps all over the world and use music and sports as a therapy to this young people who have gone through a lot of trauma from the home countries.

I am sure a lot of ladies want to know if Octopizzo is single?

Am so taken.

Octopizo Kenya (3)

What do you do for fun?

I listen to instrumentals and play with my puppies for fan.

Your Top 5 African Hip Hop artists?

1. Octopizzo

2. M.I

3. Sarkodie

4. AKA

5. Ice prince.

Who would you like to work with and why?

I’d like to work with AKA and KC I just love what they do man, I love there style and the versatility in them, am looking forward inshalah to work with them before the end of the year through the help of SA Hip Hop Magazine. So make it happen bruh, You Owe me. heheh

What advice would you give an upcoming rapper?

Work Smart, do research, take your time, don’t aim to be famous be Great in whatever you do, and lastly DO YOU don’t imitate, don’t fake it. STAY REAL!!

Any words of wisdom to the youth?

Don’t Just Seat there DO SOMETHING!

Where can your fans reach you?

My fans can find me on Facebook OCTOPIZZO, twitter @octopizzo, Instagram @Octopizzo Also through my website




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