Watching his friends being gunned down for being members of the notorious gangs based in Mombasa, namely Wakali Wao and Wakali Kwanza while others rot in jail on narcotics charges motivated Kelvin Omondi to focus on educating the youth. His music acts as a major platform on outlining the effects of indulging in criminal acts and abuse of drugs.
The 24 year-old, who goes by the alias Ohms law Montana, is a rapper based in Mombasa and also a student at the Technical University of Mombasa. He grew up in Kisauni, Mombasa County, an area mentioned for numerous criminal acts varying from being an Al-Shabaab hide-out to a drug abuse hub with addicts being referred to as mateja.
Ohms Law Montana is a multiple award-winning artist. In 2013, he was nominated for the hip-hop artist of the year during the Nzumari Awards and was he was nominated both in the hip-hop artist of the year and male artist of the year categories during the Pwani Celebrity Awards a year later. He is currently the hip-hop artist of the year 2015-2016 in the Nzumari Awards, Coast Awards and Pwani Celebrity Awards. In 2016, he represented Mombasa County in the Slam Poetry Africa competitions in Nairobi.
RESISTING PEER PRESSURE
"I have more than 15 friends who have been shot dead ; some suspected to be members of the Wakali Kwanza gang with others turning to armed robbery. Some are serving long jail terms for smuggling and using drugs like cocaine, heroin and bhang.”
Kelvin Omondi loved studying and therefore spent most of his time in school. Contrarily, his friends dropped out of school and started robbing people and abusing drugs.
"I loved physics back in high school. I derived my artistic name from the scientific physics term; Ohms Law."
Being brought up by strict parents contributed to his streamlined morals.
"My father was a pastor and also a teacher; my mother was a teacher. Though I would spend more time with my friends who were from different backgrounds, I was only interested in playing games and swimming together at the beach.”
Kevin saw his friends being gunned down one by one.
"Sometimes it is difficult to know the real character of your friends. Sometimes they pretend to be good when they are around you to avoid being judged. I came from school one day only to find out that my childhood best friend had been gunned down due to suspicion of being a member of Wakali Kwanza. This hurt me deeply because he was good to me. He had never done anything fishy that could leave me suspecting that he was a criminal."
Kelvin learnt to handle pressure after his parents got a divorce. Being the breadwinner of his family (mother and three brothers) made him learn to be responsible.
PURPOSING MY MUSIC
Kelvin admits that he has never be part of criminal gang or abuser of any drug. The uncountable burial ceremonies conducted in his neighbourhood to send off his fallen friends touched him immensely and he decided to express it through music; warning the youth that death lurks in the vicinity of those abusing drugs and engaging in criminal activity.
"My village, Kisauni has inspired me to write my songs. Crime, radicalisation, extremism and drug abuse were the order of the day. Growing up in the ghetto has made me more creative. I derive the ideas to write my music from what I see happening to people surrounding me.
I speak to the youth a lot in my songs. The song “Crime si poa”, is advice to young people to shun away from crime and use their talents to make money. “Shika Mic”, is a wakeup call to all youth with different talents to maximise on them, to get genuine money. Kisauni’s ghetto is a hotbed of talented young people which has not yet been tapped. “Street star’’, “Masala wangu” and “Make a name'' are songs I composed to tell the upcoming artists on the streets to explore their gifts on platforms within their reach in order to build up to the top.
In the song “Mada Tonje”, I address Tonje’s reckless lifestyle for the world to see. I also encourage him to change so that he can live peacefully in the community and also please God. Music is not always about the theme of love as many artists perceive.”
MENTORING FOR THE YOUTH
Standing out and making positive change in the society is the ultimate goal of Ohms Law Montana. In November 2016, he founded a mentorship program Acha Gun, Shika Mic-Crime Si Poa. The program has borne fruits as many youth have been checking in at the Swahili pot hub, Mombasa to showcase their various talents. He is also the CEO of 8100 Entertainment studios where he nurtures upcoming artists in Mombasa.
Acha Gun, Shika Mic-Crime Si Poa is program that is mainly against extremism, crime and drug abuse. They have been talking to the youth in Mombasa county in areas like Kisauni, Mshomoroni, Bombolulu.
“I compose pieces that will entertain and educate. I have a lot of interest in the youth and would like to encourage those likely to take wrong paths like abusing drugs or indulging in criminal activities that crime does not pay but talent does.”
He also believes that it is not only his village facing these challenges. He tries to reach out to the people far beyond the Kenyan borders.
“In my songs, I communicate to each and every youth in the world because we are all victims of various ruinous acts like drug abuse and crime. I dream of being an international artiste and do extensive research when composing songs."
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