HHAP Episode 57: Octopizzo on Hip Hop, Refugees, and POlice Brutality in Kenya

An MC, activist, and actor, Octopizzo was born in Nairobi, in the notorious Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in the world. His mixtape and album releases include: The Come Up V 1 (2008; Mixtape), El Classico (2014; Mixtape), Chocolate City (2014; album), LDPC (2015; album), Refugeenius (2016, album), and Next Year (2018; album).

He addresses a lot of social issues, including poverty, ethnic tensions, corruption, and the legalization of marijuana. He is also one of the few MCs to seriously and consistently address the issues around refugees. Kenya is home to a lot of refugees from surrounding conflicts, including people fleeing violence in the Congo, Sudan and Somalia.

On the album Refugeenius he collaborated with 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps in Kenya.

Octopizzo is the founder of the youth group Y.G.B. (Young, Gifted, and Black), which is a collective of MCs, poets, graffiti artists, graphic artists, and dancers. He founded his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation in 2015 and through the Foundation, he tries to use culture and sports to reach the youth.

More recently he has joined other activists addressing police brutality in Kenya, and drawing parallels between police violence in Kenya & the US. Recently he was involved in protests in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, holding up a sign of people killed and injured by the police. Recently, there have ben reports of over a dozen deaths at the hands of the Kenyan police supposedly trying to enforce a dusk to dawn curfew put in place to slow the spread of Corona.

The songs featured in the episode are “Nu Afrika” in the opening and “Another Day” in the closing.

Octopizzo can be found at: http://octopizzo.com/ | @OCTOPIZZO on Twitter & Instagram

The video version of this episode is on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ZOu5ILtZ-Vc

HHAP EPISODE 55: HIP HOP PALAVER, V.2

This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. It is a collaboration between the HHA Podcast and the Global Hip Hop Exchange (GHHE), which is an online network/community of hip hop creatives who are primarily from, or based in, Africa.

This is our second hip-hop palaver, with hip-hop creatives from around the continent. This time we continued the reflection on the COVID19 from the perspective of parenting. We also discussed hip-hop collaborations. Some that we had been a part of, and some that we are currently working on.

The discussion included members of the Global Hip Hop Exchange, all of whom have been involved in hip hop culture in their respective countries for several years:

2. Hustlajay Mau Mau/@Jay_maumau| Hustlajay MauMau is a socially conscious MC from Mombasa, Kenya. He raps mostly in Swahili, and has made a name for himself by not only rapping about social issues, but also getting involved in social and political issues in Kenya. He is currently based in Austria. The opening and closing song, Sign of Hope, is one of his new releases. | YouTube Channel

2. Fete Jen/@Fete_Jen | hip hop organizer & founder of The Lounge (open mic event) and producer of the upcoming mixtape | from the U.S., previously based in Tanzania, currently based in Pretoria.

3. Mikko of Planet Earth Planet Rap/@PEPRRadio | Mikko is one of the founders of Planet Earth Planet Rap, which is a segment on Chuck D’s #AndYouDontStop radio show. They play, talk about and celebrate international Hip-Hop from all continents. | PEPR can be accessed 24/7 at https://rapstation.com

4. Msia/@Kibona | HHA host & hip hop professor, photographer, & author | from Tanzania, based in the Washington, DC area | Website: https://msiakibonaclark.com

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