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 5: Black Activism in the US & South Africa

This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. This episode is an airing of an event we sponsored: #BlackLivesMatter and #FeesMustFall: A Panel Discussion on Black Activism in the US and South Africa held on the 29th of November at Howard University in Washington, DC.

The event brought together activists for a discussion on two pivotal movements for Black lives in the U.S. and South Africa: Black Lives Matter in the U.S. and #FeesMustFall/#RhodesMustFall in South Africa. Both movements are changing dialogues around race, gender, class, violence, and oppression.

The panelists were:

Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan African Studies at California State University Los Angeles and national organizer with #BlackLivesMatter.

Kealeboga Mase Ramaru, an organizer with #RhodesMustFall at the University of Cape Town and the Deputy Head for the Western Cape office at Equal Education.

Nana Afua Y. Brantuo, a 2016 fellow with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and a mindfulness coach for Black Girl Brilliance.

Song List

“Must Fall” by Java, Emile YX?, Linkris The Genius, Black Athena, Daddy Spencer, Crosby, and Khusta

“Fees Will Fall” by Gigi Lamayne

Article “Songs of Black Lives Matter: 22 New Protest Anthems” in Rolling Stone Magazine