Tributes have been pouring in for Kenyan hip hop star Chris Kantai after he died in hospital in the capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday.

He was aged 42, and succumbed to breathing complications, the privately owned Nairobi News reported.

The rapper is regarded as one of the pioneers of hip hop music in Kenya. His lyrical prowess and masterful delivery made him a huge favourite in the early 2000s.

He rose to fame through street rap battles before releasing recorded music. He went on to win several accolades in Kenya’s prestigious Chaguo La Teeniez Awards.

Kantai’s most famous hits included Huu ni Nani G (Swahili for Who is this G – gangster) and Happy, which featured another music star, Stella Kimani.

chris kantai.jpg

The musician then disappeared from the music scene only to reappear three years ago.

His comeback saw him collaborate with rapper Khaligraph Jones and together they released the hit song Ting Badi Malo, which in the Luo language means “raise your hands up”.

Several Kenyan musicians and celebrities have taken to social media to mourn the legend.

Julius Owino, popularly known as Juliani, tweeted that “the only rap battle that I never won was against [fellow rapper] Mwafrika & Kantai”.

Kantai is survived by his wife and child.

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