Articles

Slum Stories: Kenya – Rapper


number nine representing I’m a local boy
this is where I grew up this hood has made me
I started rapping because of this hood so I am proud to be from Kibera
Kibera made me number nine to the core, baby
that’s what it is we’re still talking about these issues
because no one has listened to us on our streets
we’re still denied our rights and the innocent are still being arrested beaten up, tortured,
until they are killed our young daughters
are still being circumcised Is there one issue about Kibera
that you’re really passionate about? I’d say it’s poverty in itself, because
poverty is the cause of everything. Poverty is where politics come in now. Poverty is where drugs come in now,
poverty is where HIV comes in now. And to me, the government
has never done anything. Never. Because I don’t see it. There is no governmental hospital
in Kibera. Women still die giving birth here,
you know. Our MP is the fucking prime minister.
You can imagine. And someone dies here, giving birth. So poverty is what leads youths like me
to get into drugs or to start stealing… because we want shortcuts,
everybody wants to make it. But when you’re born to this side
there’s no luck. There is no luck here.
There’s only hard work. There’ll never be luck
and there’s no shortcut to success. I don’t like complaining
about the government… but this is what they should do,
that’s why they’re elected. That’s why I say
they take advantage of poverty… because they get crazy money. Money that is specifically meant
for slums and informal settlements. But the money doesn’t get here. Maize that is meant
for displaced persons is being sold. you’d better listen to these lyrics government,
why are you ignoring me like it or not
I’m still here in Kibera listen to me or not
I’m tired of being a slave working for you while you sleep I’m working on my first album,
but I have three mixtapes. A mixtape is like a shadow album.
It’s what brings you into the industry. Now am working on my first album.
It’s called Chocolate City. V.O.K. was the first video for the album. At the moment I’ve finished ten tracks. I still have three or four more
and then I’m done with the album. I love Kibera.
I can never forget where I come from. I don’t like it.
I don’t like the lifestyle here. My dad was here, my grandpa,
my mum. I don’t want the same history. I wanted to change. And you can’t
change anyone when you’re still here. You need to move a step ahead,
so that they can see: This guy has moved to this place.
We should work hard to be like him. But when you tell that to someone
and you’re still here yourself… it’s hard, it doesn’t make sense. We love this place but I don’t like it
and I always wanted to move out… and be an inspiration to the people
to work hard and move out. So you have a clothing line?
-Yes, like this. It’s called YGB wear. Young Gifted and Black. After I came up with the idea
of Young Gifted and Black… I just sat down and thought: Everyone was saying:
‘Octopizzo is from Kibera’… but I didn’t want to be the only artist
from Kibera. So I started a group called YGB,
a rap group. In 2009 it was just a rap group.
There were four of us. Not everyone in Kibera can rap,
so we wanted to make it an art group. So whether you make beads,
do graffiti or dance, we recruit you. So now YGB is like an art firm. So we use art to do awareness concerts
and to change other youths in the slum. Now there are around 50 members
and most are teenagers. You change one or two,
but you can’t change everybody. Because here we have some people
who are so stupid and ignorant. There are people who think
that being in a ghetto is a curse. They take life like that.
They’ll never make it. But I think life in the ghetto
is a challenge. What are you doing about being poor? I should not go out and cry about
how am poor, how am dying. What am I doing about it? we are the only ones
who can change this community we plead with you, my boys
youth better stand up

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