Machakos Kyalos Runs the Track with Kenyan Olympian Caleb Ndiku
Kenyan distance runner Caleb Ndiku will be one of many competing for the gold in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Every athlete will surely have hoards of supporters from their native countries, but how many of them will have rap anthems made about them?
Kenya native and Massachusetts-based MC Machakos Kyalo did just that for the runner, with the energetic “Run Caleb Ndiku.” Kyalo, a founder of the ONE TRyBE COMPANy collective, grew up with Ndiku in the town of Mwala, a constituency of Machakos county. Kyalo recalls the two taking goats and cows to a nearby river together, which helped develop their bond.
Kyalo left Mwala for the United States in 2003, and returned 10 years later to visit. When he came across Ndiku, then an upcoming runner, the two exchanged contact information. Kyalo was honing his craft as an MC by 2013, and periodically sent Ndiku his music.
As Ndiku became one of the best runners in Kenya, it was Kyalo’s music that he listened to before races.
Upon hearing that from Ndiku, Kyalo was touched because he feels “our generation is afraid of looking each other in the eye and expressing how much they are inspired. It’s almost seen as a weakness trait and to me he was real for this. I had to show that love back.”
Kyalo reciprocated Ndiku’s kind words by writing his own about the runner, then putting it to song. When Ndiku first heard the song, Kyalo says he deemed it a “hit above all hits.” The runner also told Kyalo the two should “represent our people to the best of our ability” with a video.
Upon visiting Kenya in December 2015, Kyalo went on a filming spree, shooting a whopping 15 music videos in two weeks with his friend and colleague Tom Leary. One of the videos was for “Run Caleb Ndiku.” The video’s treatment was simple.
“I told him [bring] a couple of his trophies, warm up suit and his race gear,” Kyalo said of his demands. “We then just went to work.”
The video and song speaks for how universal certain themes are in hip-hop. As the two dance around and toss Kenyan Shilling, Kyalo rhymes, “no one thought I’d be a track star, now they see me in sports cars.”
The burly rhymer even put Ndiku atop his broad shoulders in several scenes. As Ndiku will be running for the gold in four short months, Kyalo was essentially holding a national treasure, but apparently neither were worried.
“Machakos soldiers aren’t nervous about many things,” Kyalo proclaims. “Only thing we get nervous about is when it doesn’t rain when it’s supposed to.”
The video will no doubt be a major motivator for Ndiku as he competes for Kenya in the Olympics. Kyalo won’t be in Rio to give his friend encouraging words before his races, but the lyrics to the inspiring, high-octane song will surely suffice.