Nairobi Artists

‘On The Peace Treaty That Birthed Hip Hop’

Kunta Kinte, Johnny Span-One, (Otieno Gracie and Elijah Moses) of Soulmate Music stand outside a music studio in the Eastlands neighborhood of Nairobi. They are posing for a picture with Chad Harper, the founder and CEO of Hip Hop Saves Lives (HHSL). They just finished recording a song called “Amani, Upendo & Umoja” for HHSL’s “Peace Love & Unity album.

HHSL is an organization from Brooklyn, New York that educates youth on social issues through Hip Hop. The first subject the NGO always shares with youth is the true story of how a gang peace treaty started Hip Hop. Chad Harper has traveled to many parts of the world, teaching workshops on this matter and has now decided to record an international album about the birth of Hip Hop. He has arrived his final stop Nairobi, Kenya. After traveling to several East African countries the year before, Chad Harper felt that Nairobi has the most flourishing Hip Hop scene culture in the east. “Nairobi has a bit of a New York City vibe”, says Chad Harper. The fast pace energy gives him a slight feel of home. 

Kunta Kinte and Johnny Span-One were introduced to Chad Harper last year by a music producer named Johnathan YT. Together they worked on a song called “Welcome To Nairobi” for Hip Hop Saves Lives’s first international album titled “Welcome To My Hood”.

“I just had to return and work with these guys again to close out this new project”’ says Chad Harper. Their energy and vibe is true Hip Hop culture. They do it for the love of the art and the love for their people. Hip Hop music has made a lot of people rich in the States, so many people there just see it as a way to make money. But its original purpose was to save lives, transform communities and the minds of youth from violent gang and street activities to creative and peaceful expressions.

Johnny Span-One and Kunta Kinte have that original feeling in their lyrics.
They later introduced Chad Harper to a male/female rap duo that goes by the name SoulMate Music. They not only rhyme together but also are engaged to marry. “It was very inspiring to see a couple have the same love and passion for Hip Hop”, says Chad. “The way they rhymed together representing both energies seemed so natural” says Chad Harper wondered why he had never seen this before in the States. 

On December 10th 2017 the four artists met up at Angaza Msani music studio in Jerusalem Estate within Eastlands neighborhood of Nairobi. Two other artists Chox and Patoh Njuguna joined to record the final song of the project about the birth of Hip Hop. Kashule is a great engineer who knows how to bring the best out of an artist. Each wrote a part of the story that took place back in the South Bronx of New York City. The story ends with 42 gangs agreeing to a peace treaty on December 8th 1971, initiated by a gang named The Ghetto Brothers. In order to maintain the treaty, they asked all the gangs to come to the park and party together every Friday and Saturday night. As the parties took place, the streets became safer and the word spread through out the community. The parties quickly gained popularity and gang activity reduced immensely. Former gang members now battled through dance and rhymes and the worldwide culture of Hip Hop was born!
The newly released album is called PEACE LOVE & UNITY. It features 18 songs in total, of which 7 are about the peace treaty and 11 bonus songs.
Songs come from artists in Brooklyn (US), Nairobi (Kenya), Berlin (Germany), Trenchtown (Jamaica), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Michigan (US), Birmingham (UK), Port au Prince (Haiti) and Toronto (Canada)
(6 of the 11) bonus songs come from Nairobi, Kenya by Kunta Kinte, Johnny Span-One and SoulMate Music).

Free download of the album PEACE LOVE & UNITY album at

For further information on Johnny Span-One and Kunta Kinte follow this link:
 https://ertty272013134.wordpress.com/

Hip Hop Saves Lives and Soulmate Music can be found on Facebook.

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