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 relocated 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 has always 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 countrywide 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 Immortal Technique (June 2005), Jonzi-D (June 2003), Black Thought (August 2001), Mr. Len and Jean Grae (May 2001). In June 2006, Sharpa headlined alongside Wordsworth and Jonzi-D as part of the Tri-Continental Hip Hop Festival that toured South Africa.
In 2007 Ben was discovered by accomplished BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs who described him as "one of the most inspired and agile lyricists in the world today". Soon afterwards, Ben performed at the annual Glastonbury Festival (June 2007) on the BBC Introduces Stage.
In late 2007 Ben fell into a diabetic coma. A week later the prognosis was bleak. He had massive internal bleeding, kidney failure and was only able to breath with the help of a ventilator. Doctors had all but given up on Ben when he miraculously regained consciousness. Ben quipped, "I have seen the other side of the Matrix" as soon as he was able to talk.
The veteran underground rapper made a full recovery, his new lease on life providing him with further energy to continue carving out his niche in Hip Hop history.