Octopizzo marked his eighth anniversary in his music career fittingly on the 8th March 2016 at the British Council. The event was intimate and interactive as only 88 people were invited.
Octopizzo does not term himself as a local artiste as he pushes himself beyond Kenyan borders to an international level. His endurance and strong personality came out quite strongly during speeches from fellow friends and colleagues.
Namba nane passed down a lot of wisdom during the event to upcoming artistes who were in attendance. He told of the importance of packaging and knowing one’s worth which is often mistaken for pride.
“I’m not in the music industry; I am in the music business. Musicians should not be afraid to express themselves in whatever language they choose, they should have their freedom as creatives. Music is about the vibe not the language. Hype hailipi rent, hai-buy food”
He highlighted Nairobi’s poor gigging culture and support for artistes giving an example of how people barely buy tickets or merchandise to promote artistes’ work as opposed to Nakuru or Kisumu where people are willing to pay, no complains.
Octopizzo also invited some of the people who walked with him throughout his journey to speak. From this it was clear that he helped raise the standards for artistes in the streets by encouraging them to make sure they are paid for shows. He added:
“Street credibility without money is stupidity,”
Octo talked about his struggle in the streets throughout his journey as well as the rejection he faced numerously but he does not let it define him. “Wewe si msanii wa Dandora, wewe ni msanii,” the artiste said. He explained how he would appear randomly for shows in Kibera and freestyle even without prior arrangement. He emphasized the importance of always being prepared and resilient.
A brief documentary on Octo’s journey was aired showing the artiste’s sense of humor and wit. Even before he made it big or got a chance to be known by the public, Octopizzo took his brand very seriously as well as his image. “Image is super important,” he says in the documentary.
The documentary also featured an event that he once organized in Kibera where even Smart Joker, the comedian, participated in as a rapper and dancers who he used for his “On Top “ video as well as Size 8’s “Moto”. The footage ended with Octopizzo expressing that her wanted a better life out of the hood for his daughter.
Octopizzo used the event as an opportunity to launch his new video “Prezidential” as he urged other musicians to invest in high quality videos which is how to get their music played on big platforms. He however said that there are very few Kenyan directors, which poses a challenge to many.
A question and answer session facilitated by Adelle Onyango followed. When asked about how he deals with the media and if he has made enemies he said that he had rubbed shoulders and there but he doesn’t get into it with them, “Do not argue with the media, they’ll always win,” he advised.
Fans also wanted to know if he does anything else aside from music. He mentioned that as one cannot fully depend on music in Kenya, he works with the Octopizzo Foundation which to help the under-privileged. He said that poverty is a worldwide problem and that he tries to reach whoever he can from wherever. He stated the importance of artistes working to change the community,
“Kibera is a project, it’ll never be upgraded, the government makes money from it, so it is up to you to get yourself out of there,” he said. Octopizzo is involved in project in Kibera which provides clean water for the residents. He is also an ambassador of the British Council for a campaign against domestic violence and a motivational speaker. “It is about helping anybody who needs it,” he added.
A fan asked for a chance to be unblocked following his funny tweet concerning Octopizzo’s feud with Wahu concerning the Bingwa awards. Octopizzo granted him his wish and addressed the issue saying, “I don’t rap for awards, I work to inspire livelihood.”
Teardrops was also in attendance offered his congratulations and urged him on in his journey.
Khaligraph Jones was also part of the audience. Not shying away from his opinion Octopizzo said, “I don’t like this guy but I respect his hustle,” referring to Khaligraph. He pointed out that Khaligraph is the only artiste pushing to save Hip hop in Kenya from its near death, replying to issues with songs as opposed to tweets.
As the event came to a close, different artistes were given a chance to perform as Octopizzo got to interact freely with his fans and have him answer questions they couldn’t ask in public. Octopizzo closed performing a number of songs.