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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

#ManCrushMonday: Octopizzo, The Hip-Hop Artist, Humanitarian And Entrepreneur

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The Hennessy Cypher Africa dropped on the 23rd of December 2022 and it got people talking. A lot of Hip-Hop Lovers outside Kenya started asking, “who is the guy that opened the cypher?

Henry Ohanga, commonly referred to by his stage name Octopizzo is an award-winning, recording and performing artist, humanitarian and entrepreneur.
Born in the sprawling slums of Kibera, Nairobi (considered one of the largest slums in the world), he purposed to earnestly pursue his career in music. Octopizzo currently has three albums namely “Chocolate City“, “LDPC” which took the Number 1 spot on iTunes in its first week of release and “Refugeenius” which he collaborated with over 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps. All these albums are available on iTunes, Tidal and Spotify.
He is now a globally recognized artist who also has a strong passion for community outreach and youth empowerment.
He founded his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation in 2015 and through the Foundation, he hopes to use the uniting ingredients of creativity, Art, Music, Culture and Sports to support vulnerable youths to realize their potential and be liberated from the cycle of desperation and dependency.
Octopizzo has performed in major events globally and has been endorsed as a brand ambassador by several renowned companies like Coca-Cola, Safaricom and Guinness. Equally, he has remained an active performing artist for the past 8 years and has consistently released hit songs every year while gracing some of the biggest festivals like Sauti za Busara, Safaricom Live and Shambala Fest in Manchester just to name a few.
He has partnered with UNHCR to start a dynamic and powerful initiative – Artists for Refugees, which encompasses his love for music, the Arts and Culture with those of the refugees – it is through their shared love for Art that he has been able to raise the profile of refugee artists and talent in this country. He is indeed the first Kenyan artist to speak up on refugee matters consistently and in a timely fashion. He has been identified, both in 2014 and 2015 as one of the most influential personalities speaking on refugee matters on social media. In 2015, he ranked 16th globally as one of the top voices on refugee matters.
His work with United Nations, The American Embassy in Kenya and The British Council in Kenya has seen him attend the most vital and global decision-making forums on matters of youth and Arts.

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Henry Ohanga popularly known as Octopizzo is a talented Kenyan Hip Hop Artiste and the CEO and founder of the Octopizzo Foundation. In summary, Ohanga is a hip-hop artiste, Actor, father, activist and youth ambassador.

In November 2020, Rapper Henry Ohanga alias Octopizzo made a new milestone in his music career after making it to the 2021 Grammy Awards consideration list.

The Grammy Awards Academy proposed Octopizzo be nominated in the; Record of the Year Category for his song Another day, Best Melodic Rap for Kamikaze and Another Day, and Best Rap Performance Category for Che Che and Wakiritho ft Sailors. However, the Number Nane Finest did not make it to the Final Nominations List, as the Gala for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards was held in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles on March 14, 2021.

In 2012 and 2015, Octo was crowned the Best Male Artiste and Best Hip hop artist at the Coastal Nzumari Awards respectively.

Apart from his Music, Octopizzo also made his debut as an actor on Shuga Season 2 which airs on MTV.

Octopizzo defied the odds stacked against him to become an icon of success and hope for several young kids in the country and in the world.

In 2019, Octopizzo graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) upon completing a leadership, organizing and action course. In September 2018, he also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pursuing a course in social impact strategy.

Octopizzo’s Profile

Early Life

Henry Ohanga popularly known as Octopizzo was born in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the first Born in a family of four. He lost both his parents while he was still a young Boy and has always confessed how amazing his parents were and how much he misses them.

Octopizzo’s father died when he was fourteen, and his mother a year later.

In 2016, Octo donned an outfit that he was gifted by his father in his song #Butere.

“My Dad Rocked it when I was 7yrs Old, I treasured it & saved it for over 20 years so that I could rock it in Respect to Him; This ain’t Nigeria dress code, this is my culture I saved it and am gonna pass it down to my Sons.”

Education

Octopizzo also known as Number Nane Finest attended Mashimoni Primary school, where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.

He later joined St. Gloria Secondary School in Kibera where he attained his KCPE Certificate. Later on, he was able to attend St. Mary’s Changamwe College in Mombasa where he did his basic computer soft studies, before coming back to Nairobi to take a course as an electrician, he worked in a Juakali-based garage for 3years before joining music fulltime.

In 2019, Octopizzo graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) upon completing a leadership, organizing and action course.

In September 2018, he also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pursuing a course in social impact strategy.

Inspiration

Octopizzo was inspired to join the Rap Game by the likes of Jay Z, Nas, Biggie, 2Pac and many more.

Music Career

Octopizzo’s passion for Music goes way back to his High School days. He won various freestyle competitions in Kenya, including G Pange Hip Hop Challenge, Hip Hop Halisi Freestyle Challenge, and Usanii Kona Hip Hop Challenge, before venturing into serious music.

Performance

He has performed in a number of major events all across the world; Shambala Festival in UK, Spoken World In Berlin,Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar, Kenyan Night in Dubai, Reepabhan festival Hamburg, Coca cola world cup tour, Safaricom Live just to mention a few.

Foundation

Apart from music, Octopizzo is also the CEO of Chocolate City (Kibera) Tours and Founder and Executive Director at Octopizzo Foundation. He is also the founder of the Refugee Art program dubbed “Artist for Refugee” with UNHRC, Ambassador for Awareness on violence against women and girls.

Through his Foundation, Octo has been able to meet, Former US President Barack Obama, ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta, and former US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec among other notable figures.

Octo has always had a keen interest in the matters affecting the refugees and has been recognized multiple times on the same. He founded his Foundation in 2015.

In 2015, he ranked 16th globally as one of the top voices on refugee matters.

Acting

Octopizzo acted in Shuga season 2 which airs on MTV.

He was also chosen to participate in the Guinness MADE OF BLACK campaign(Advert).

He also did the Infinix Note 8 Advert.

Albums

As of August 2021, he has released four Albums namely; Chocolate City, LDPC Refugeenius and Jungle Fever.

He has in the past partnered with UNHCR in a project called Artist for Refugees which showcased the artistic nature of the refugees in various camps.

Business

Apart from music, Octo is an entrepreneur having his own established fashion line called YGB (Young Gifted and Black) wear having a broad range of clothing including hoodies, t-shirts and snapbacks.

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Have you found this article insightful? Then kindly share and comment your opinions in the comment section below. Thanks.

Daniji Emmanuel is a content writerwho has written hundreds of articles on various niches focusing on Entertainment topics. He’s also published interviews, conducted research and written opinions on the creative industry. BigDan, fondly called, also consults and handles brand promotions for people and organizations in the creative industry. 

Follow On Social Media:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hiphopafricaa/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Hiphopafricaa

Email – bigdan@hiphopafrica.net

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