Considered by those in the know to be one of the African Continent’s most accomplished lyricists, Ben Sharpa has dedicated his life to his art, undertaking an epic musical journey characterised by an unshakeable self-belief that has seen him cheat death itself in order to fulfil his destiny.
Born in the rugged ghetto slums of Soweto, South Africa in 1979, Ben Sharpa (aka Oh Kaptin My Kaptin, or simply ‘Kap’ to his friends and fans) experienced the full force of the brutal Apartheid regime and the revolutionary turmoil that surrounded the struggle against it.
While Ben was still a young child, his father took the opportunity to escape the hardship of life in South Africa by relocating his family to Chicago, Illinois, where he took the post of Audiologist at Cook County Hospital before moving on to become a lecturer at the prestigious Michigan State University.
Growing up in an alien culture and intensely aware of the plight of his fellow countrymen back home in South Africa, Ben was inspired by the radical new voice that Hip Hop was giving to the disenfranchised and oppressed.
When Ben came back to South Africa in 1993 for the first free elections, he quickly set about establishing himself as a major force in the underground, forming cult crews GroundWorks and Audio Visual. Ben’s music addressed themes of social consciousness, politics, conspiracy theories and the hustle to survive.
In 2003, Ben Sharpa won a nation-wide freestyle battle competition sponsored by South African cellular network, MTN. This not only gave him notoriety and country-wide exposure, but also won him an opportunity to go to London and meet Eminem during the artist’s Anger Management tour.
Ben Sharpa has shared the stage with Gas Lamp Killer, Immortal Technique, Jonzi-D, Black Thought from The Roots, Mr. Len and Jean Grae. In June 2006, Sharpa headlined alongside Wordsworth (US) and Jonzi-D (UK) as part of the Tri-Continental Hip Hop Festival that toured South Africa.
In South Africa Ben has twice headlined the country’s biggest hip hop festival, Back to the City, in Joburg. Ben has also been featured on the cover of Hype Magazine (Dec 2007) and featured in Cosmopolitan, GQ and One Small Seed.
In 2007 Ben was ‘discovered’ by electronic music maven and ‘Queen of Dubstep’, BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs, who described him as “one of the most inspired and agile lyricists in the world today”. Soon after, Ben performed at the annual Glastonbury Festival (June 2007) on the BBC Introduces stage. Since then Ben has performed at various festivals across Europe including Dour (BEL), Fête de la Musique (FR), Paleo (CH), Extrema (NL), Printemps de Bourges (FR), Batou Fou (Reunion), BASS Festival (British Arts and Street Sounds) (UK), 4 Elements Festival (AUS), Electron (CH), Sziget (HUN), and Rio Loco (FR).
Ben has collaborated with Thavius Beck (US), Copywrite (US), Foreign Beggars (UK), DJ Rhettmatic (US), Wordsworth (US), K-the-I??? (US), John Robinson (US), Siete Neuve (PR), Hi-Tone (FR), DJ Cadik (HU), Grosso Gadgetto (FR), IDEM (FR), Maxine Delporte (FR), Wapi-Wap (FR), Niveau Zero (FR), R-Zatz (FR), Oddateee (US), Blurum 13 (FR), Drum Master D-Kay (RUS), Walter Gross (US), Picore (FR), DTL (Fr), Mode9 (NIG), Milanese (UK), Trenton and the Free Radicals (RSA), Tumi (RSA), DJ Oyo (IT) and DJ Kostia (FR).
Ben is about to release his second full length studio album, 4th Density Light Show (4DLS), which he made with Cape Town based audio visual electro dub duo Pure Solid.
Booking Ben Sharpa
Bookings in RSA – Contact us
Bookings in Europe – val (at) jarringeffects (dot) net
To book Ben Sharpa + Milanese contact paul (at) surefireagency (dot) com
Ben Sharpa Artist Sheet (1.94 MB)
Ben Sharpa Hi-res Press Photos (9.04 MB)
B. Sharpa Album Artwork (1.66 MB)
The Sharpaganda Theory: Lesson 1 12″ Artwork (2.83 MB)
B. Sharpa Press Kit (510k):
Press kit contains: Bio / Album artwork / B. Sharpa Press Release / Track List & Production Credits