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Four One One

Tributes as veteran Kenyan rapper Kantai dies

The late Chris Kantai. COURTESY PHOTO

One of Kenya’s pioneers in the rap music has died.

Veteran rapper Chris Kantai died on Wednesday morning at St Francis Hospital according to a family representative Ms Wanjiku Thuku.

The late singer had been admitted at the hospital since Monday where he was taken after he fell ill, according to Ms Thuku.

She added that the 42-year-old Huu Ni Nani G hitmaker succumbed to breathing complications.

“I am in touch with his family, including his wife and mother, to arrange his funeral. We will give you more details as they come,” said Ms Thuku.

The father of one will be remembered for giving Kenyans some of the biggest hits during his heydays, including Happy a song that featured female rapper Stella Kimani and brought her to the limelight.


In 2016, the rapper rubbished rumours that he had hit rock bottom and lost control over his life due to alcoholism.

Kantai, who a while back took a break from music to “deal with domestic life and personal issues”, had always shied away from speaking or acknowledging the issue.

His manager then denied the rumours saying that the blogs make it look like alcohol had taken over his life.

“Those might not even be recent photos. People have this perception of who Kantai is supposed to be rather than who he is, he deals with a lot of issues that people don’t know about and he doesn’t open up to anyone easily,” said Cyreh Pragmatic who was managing him then.

Three years ago, in a bid to make a comeback, Kantai collaborated with fellow Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones and released a song called Ting Badi Malo.

On Wednesday, several Kenyan celebrities took to social media to mourn the legend.

Julius Owino popular known as Juliani narrated how he lost a rap battle to Kantai.


“The only rap battle that I never won was against Mwafrika and Kantai,” he wrote.

Celebrated DJ, Joseph Mwenda, aka DJ Joe Mfalme mourned him saying, “Thank you for the great music. Your legacy will live on. Rest easy Chris Kantai.”

Actor Eve D’Souza, a former radio host, said that it was very sad to hear the news of his demise.

“I’m so very sad to hear this, he was one of the most talented individuals I ever met. We had so many great conversations about life and music. May you rest now Kantai.”

Raper Gabu (Gabriel Kagundu) simply wrote: “Rest in power.”

In his heydays, Kantai scooped several trophies in the early 2000s’ Chaguo La Teeniez Awards. He is survived by a wife, child and his mother.

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