It's Khul Rhema of 'dem Ziklag Boyz!! The visionary and founder of the legendary rap group from Atlanta is back!!! Still representin' Jesus, still reaching the church and the streets with heat my boy!
"Through you, multitudes will be ushered into the Kingdom." These are the rhema words spoken to Tico, aka Khul Rhema, on a hot August night in southern California back in 1996. 2Pac had just been killed three months before; a moment in time that brought many grievances to a young, inspiring producer who had made his way courageously to 'killa Cali' from his native Georgia home the year before in a longshot quest to be 'discovered.' All within that year, Tico withstood everything from threats and attacks on his life from gang sets (who, for the most part, grew to know and accept him into their fold; Tico, at one point, was a 'trapper' with a Crip set in LA County), to almost signing with a very corrupt record label (ran by a notorious LA gang member and drug kingpin), and even a bout with homelessness, opting to sleep in a Greyhound bus station for a while. Even though Tico was no stranger to life in the streets (he began selling crack at age 15), he managed to finish college with honors and, in essence, this set of circumstances proved to be more than he could bear. It was in the midst of these experiences that Tico had learned from an uncle that God was a "burden-removing, yoke-destroying God." Those words stuck with him, even as he continued on with life in the ghetto streets and eventually led him into the presence of a true and living God, seeking His power to remove burdens and destroy yokes.
"I have many burdens and my whole life feels like a yoke. I don't want to live anymore!" Tico cried to God as he thought about the loaded 9mm pistol he carried in his backpack, "but I heard that You can remove these burdens from my life," he bargained, "and if you do, I will serve you with the rest of my life." With these words came a life-altering experience in the true presence of God unlike anything he'd ever experienced. He became overwhelmed with a Spirit of joy and peace even as he still had nowhere to lay his head, a feeling that he describes as being "un-describable." That same day, Tico accepted a job moving pianos that paid him, on the average, $100 dollars a day in cash, ending his days in the Greyhound station. Look at God!
It was no more than a couple weeks later that Tico received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and began to communicate with God on a personal level that has proven to be a lifeline to him. It was then when God told him that multitudes would be ushered into the Kingdom through him. A week later, he was unctioned by the Spirit to visit a Christian bookstore for the first time in his life. This is where he ran upon a small section of cds entitled "Gospel Rap." Tico describes his first thought and reaction to seeing this section as being one of rage and disgust: "I felt like these guys were obviously playing with God, man. I didn't think that God and rap mixed." After receiving the unction to listen to a couple of the cds (Future Shock, Tunnel Rats, Nuwine, DJ Dove and Gospel Gangstas are among others that really impressed him), it only took a couple of minutes before Tico realized that it was God's will that he get on the mic and use his gift of making music to represent the Kingdom of God. "This is what I want you to do," said the still, yet recognizable voice of God.
Since then, Tico has set out to fulfill this great call of God on his life, winning souls through his music and dynamic performances, for the most part alongside a group that he founded in late 2000 on the campus of World Changers Church International - the legendary 'Ziklag Boys,' who, before their retirement, garnered such honors as a Grammy and Stellar award nomination in 2005, as well as reportedly being the first gospel rap group to gain regular rotation on a secular station. Under Tico's leadership, Ziklag traveled abroad (Virgin Islands, Chicago, Houston, New York, Indianapolis, etc.), receiving love and admiration by believers and non-believers alike (they were courted by the likes of BME, Lil' Jon's independent label and Stankonia - Outkast's now defunct independent) while independently moving over 20,000 units internationally.
After the Ziklag era, Tico has worked diligently at developing his career as a producer, proving to be one of the hottest producers on the rise in 2006. He has gone on to win a Stellar Award in 2006 for his production work on "The Sequel," the LP release by Lil' I Rocc (Authority/Whitaker) which earned two (2) Stellars, one being for 'Best Hip Hop/Rap Album of the Year.' He also has produced work for renowned superstar producer, Dallas Austin, (TLC, Michael Jackson, Outkast, Boys II Men, Mariah Carey, etc.,), contributing to Dallas' first gospel endeavor, Darlene McCoy, remixing the hit single, "Fallen In Love," which originally gained much attention and fanfare on the soundtrack to the blockbuster Tyler Perry big screen debut,
"Diary of a Mad Black Woman." He has also worked with other artists like Ghetto Mafia and EJ the Witchdoctor of the Dungeon Family.
After a much needed sabbatical dating from mid to late 2005, Tico has received instruction to get back to the business of doing damage to Satan's stronghold in urban music and entertainment as a frontline 'souljah,' independently releasing "The Incredible HudRock," an EP release chronicling his bout with betrayal and his own 'self-destructive' habits. He gives the listener an introspective view of a man who has brought the weight of a harvest of sin upon himself; who barely escaped Satan's entrapments with his life and how God, who is Love, miraculously brought him out victorious.
In addition, Tico has inked a distribution deal with Sony-BMG/Provident-Integrity distributed Beatmart Recordings, as he prepares to release his official national solo debut release on his new label, PowwerHouse Productions in August of 2006.
Watch out world, Rhema the Lion Tamer is back! He's been "baptized n' da fi' " and he's ready for combat!! Keep your eyes open and ears to the street!
You betcha. It's my favorite thing. I've played some of everywhere: The Virgin Islands, Chicago, Houston, Norfolk, Indianapolis, New York, Connecticut, Miami, Lauderdale . . . the list goes on. I've been blessed.
My upbringing in music influences my style. I've been playing piano since the age of 5 and played the cellobass with the school orchestra from 3rd grade elementary to high school, not to mention a little tenor sax in middle school - so that groomed my love to create melodic music. I'm a fan of Quincy Jones. Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Isley Bros, Al Green, Smokie Robinson, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Barry White, etc. were big influences musically. When rap hit, it was all east coast at first - and I loved it. LL, KRS, Rakim, Just Ice, Afrikan Bambatta, Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane, u know, the list goes on and on. I never turned my back on east coast even though I'm Georgia born and bred. So you know I was into Kilo, MC Shy D, Raheem the Dream, Gigolo Tony, Magic Mike, Disco Rick, 2Live, etc. Can't forget about the West Coast, BIG Dr.Dre fan, NWA, Cube, MC Eiht, Spice 1, DJ Quik, Snoop, Dogg Pound, etc.. Other all-time favorites are, of course, Outkast, Goodie Mobb, Witchdoctor, Cool Breeze, Ghetto Mafia, Scarface, Geto Boys, 8Ball and G, Suave House, Busta Rhymes, 2PAC, Biggie, NAS,etc. Too many to name . . . I'm just a big ol' fan mane!
All I need is one mic . . .
I'm more than a rapper. I'm a social activist on the mic. I do what I do because it's what God expects from me - and not just that, but I have a desire to see my people pursue a more positive lifestyle, life the way God designed it. We are killing the dream! (MLK) AND IT NEEDS TO STOP!!!