Chocolate City

OH 025CD OH 025CD

Out Here Records presents the debut album by Kenya's superstar rapper Octopizzo. There is a bit of nostalgia in Octopizzo's smile when he talks about his old neighborhood Kibera. Growing up in one of the biggest slums in Africa, he has made it, and is among the top rap artists in Kenya. Politicians consult him when they want to know what the people think. Instead of having cognac with the president Uhuru Kenyatta, he invites him to come to his house to show him what life is about nowadays in Kibera. Octopizzo loves his home. The "Chocolate" in Chocolate City refers to the mud and the rusty iron sheets, where his inspiration lies. Unlike most others who become rich and deny they are from the ghetto, Octopizzo speaks to his fans every day on Twitter and Facebook, many of whom are still from the slums. Octopizzo started rapping in 2009, producing mixtapes, recording Swahili rhymes on top of well-known beats by international stars such as NAS, Dr. Dre or 50 Cent. When Octopizzo talks about "Swag," he doesn't mean expensive stuff, but things people in Kibera consider as fly: a handful of groundnuts, having a fried bread snack called Mandazi, or walking down the alley wearing a pair of clean slippers. Octopizzo also praises the beauty of the now-Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o in the title song of the album. With his song "Voices of Kibera (V.O.K.)," Octopizzo takes us to Kibera. Octopizzo has taken his name from his favorite animal, the octopus, one of the strongest inhabitants of the ocean. He added the ending "pizzo" to make it sound more cool. The number 8 or "namba nane" in Swahili, became his trademark and symbol. The 8th letter of the alphabet is "H," which stands for both hip-hop and his given name, Henry. It also refers to the Matatu minibus line taking you from town to Kibera. With "eight" being the number of districts in Nairobi as well as the number of provinces in Kenya, Octopizzo stands for all three: Kibera, Nairobi and Kenya. "Toboa" is Swahili for "reveal" and features Afro soul artist Anto Neosoul. Octopizzo's breakthrough year was 2012. His song "Ivo Ivo" became a rap anthem in Nairobi. "Ivo Ivo" is a short form of "Hivyo Hivyo," which simply means "it's like that, it's like that." Others interpreted it as "evil evil," and rumors spread in Kenya that Octopizzo was a member of the German secret Illuminati society. The media attention in Kenya even boosted the success of the song. The album also presents two powerful ladies from Kenya. On his hip-hop joint "Vile Inafaa" he worked with Muthoni the Drummer Queen, referred to as "Kenya's Missy Elliot." He also worked with one of the most promising singers, Sage, on "So Alive" and "Memories." Octopizzo is about to kickstart his own TV show entitled: The Black Star Movement, and the song "Black Star" is the show's theme song and features the debut of his daughter Tracy, who sings the chorus. Today, Octopizzo is the father of two, and he lives not only off of the income from his shows but also through his very own clothing line, watches, wrist bands and handmade "Kibera-Bling." He even started his own brand of condoms called "Let's Do It," with a special glow-in-the-dark edition to ensure safe sex for bedrooms without electricity.