This is a song by Petros, Jubal, Purna, and Lucky - four boys who live in orphanages in South Africa, Nepal, and Peru. For all but one of them, it's their first time recording a rap, let alone writing about their lives.
100% of the proceeds from this single will be donated to their respective orphanages.
A few years ago, I spent the better part of a year living in orphanages around the world, getting to know the kids and their caretakers, learning their stories. When word would get around that I'm a rapper, it was usually just a matter of time until the kids and I would sit around a table, hammer out a beat with our fists, and freestyle, or read raps or poetry. It was a way to remove barriers and connect on a deeper level.
Some of the kids asked me to lead a few impromptu hip hop classes, and help them write a verse about their lives: where they came from, what it's like now, where they want to go.
Petros, Jubal, Purna, and Lucky were game to have me record them rapping to a basic drum beat graciously made by a friend. When I returned home, I worked on crafting an instrumental for their verses. This is their song. These are their stories. I feel honored to have been there to listen, to press record, and produce it.
Moja Maisha is a Swahili phrase that means "One Life."
My name is Petros, I was born in 01
Life tries to kill you where I come from
Young, I may be but I've seen a lot
Gunshots, five kids dropped, I just run
Spent a year in a hospital bed
Soon as I got out, both parents were dead
No time to hang my head, I had to move away
With my grandma to Joburg where I live today
Now I live in Nkosi's, my family's enormous
My new mom Gail gives food and school for us
To me it's freedom, I can make the most of my life
Dark past but my future is bright
My one wish for the world is for war to stop
That's why one day I'll become a cop
There are many kids like me, and for us life is hard
But you and I are special, just the way we are
(Spanish w/ English Translation)
En el pasado mi vida fue insensible.
Mis reflexiones me hacen inseparable.
Quise ser tambien un ser muy insobornable.
La vida pasada jamas fue insondable
A los 13 años era muy insociable.
El pasado ya no es imodificable.
El error que tuve sigue siendo innombrable.
Para los padres el amor no es inocultable.
Soy el acendrado para las personas.
Decidie entrañar con mis propias palabras
Por que dios es asi para todos nosotros.
Mis ideas son como un rompe cabeza.
Soy feliz porke dios está en mi corazón.
La verda es el antivirus para el hombre.
La palabra de dios es la verdad y la vida.
Mi astucia es mala pero mi lider es bueno.
In the past my life was insensible.
My reflections (thoughts) make me inseparable.
I wanted, also, to be a being that's very insubordinate.
My past life was never unfathomable.
At 13 years i was very unsociable.
The past is unalterable.
The error (mistake) I had continues to be unmentionable.
For parents, love is not hidden.
I'm unblemished for (to) the people.
I decided to lead with my own words
Because god is like that for all of us.
My ideas are like jigsaw puzzles.
I'm happy because god is in my heart.
The truth is the antivirus for man.
The word of god is the truth and life.
Astuteness (wittiness) is bad but my leader is good.
I used to think that my life was hard
Until I found out everybody's scarred
In their own way
It doesn't matter where you come from
Not your country or your city
All I know is there's one love
One love, one love, one love
We all go through life just a bit different
It's so simple to see
That don't mean we should see each other differently
I'm just a kid from Damside Nepal
Try to be a good man loved by all
Used to kick rocks, now rock the soccer ball
Fought for my life since a foot tall
My father used to drink a lot
And beat my mom, but I told him to stop
One night he didn't, I tried and I tried
To push him aside, but still mom died
I was taken to move in with my grandma
Wanted to go to school but to eat I had to
Work as a waiter at a tea cafe
That's when I was found by Namaste
I had lots of problems in my life
But NCS is making my future bright
I want to say thanks to mother and Didi
You give me love and make me proud to be me
Let me take you back, to them early days
When I had it all, then I lost it all
Had to find my feet, trying to find peace
Need a Jesus piece, I dreamt about this
Would I ever make it right?
Then I didn't have a quarter, but I wanted a brick
Time moving slow, trapped in a hole
Then I got a hand, then a couple hands
I'm trying to paint a picture, the paper and the ink
Same color, so I tat it on my skin
I'm the rider, yeah the ghost rider
I think I met him - different forms
He told me go and get it, by any means
So I'm out to get it, by any means
Now I'm on the grind, for a bigger slice
Just a little traffic, gotta murder time
On this road still, walking barefeet
Walk in my shoes, shooting for the stars
Try to blow up the stars, playing that role
Deep in the deep, even in the sleep
Time to get it, yeah it's time to get it
released September 1, 2016
Produced by Bodi.
Mixed by Bodi and Thomas Ouziel.
Additional Instruments by Thomas Ouziel.
Mastered by Ill2Lectual.
Artwork and Photography by Bodi.
Translations by Kimberly Mendez and Guillermina Achtis.
all rights reserved