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Zangba Emmanuel Dwekla Thomson Biography

Zangba Emmanuel Dwekla Thomson (pron.: /zangː’bah/) was born within the Grebo African tribe during the “From Mat to Mattress/Americo-Liberian” rulership era of William Richard Tolbert Jr., in an iron ore mining community called “Bong Mines,” located in Bong County, Liberia.

Zangba’s father, John Thomson, named Zangba after a paramount chief from the Bassa African tribe, and Zangba means -- the Heart of the Soul, and while growing up, Zangba showed great signs of his namesake’s nature, and was viewed as a very happy and peaceful child.

His childhood years were filled with great adventures, explorations through unchartered territories, scientific experiments, bird hunting, fishing, swimming, taking bike rides down paved roads -- reminiscent of the steepest streets in San Francisco, and climbing a huge oak tree to hangout in his red tree house.

“I had a great and imaginative childhood,” says Zangba. “My mother was making a way for us in America, so my older sister, Wade (pron.: /wahː’day/), and I lived with our grandparents in a very nice home, surrounded by a lot of land, and an uncountable amount of banana and plum trees to pick fresh fruits from.

I came from a very prominent political family that produced great men and women in my native country: My grandfather was a lawyer and a legislator in the government, and my father graduated from the University of Manheim, West Germany in the 1960s, became an economist and worked as Housing Supervisor for Bong Mining Company.”

Other notable relatives included Zangba’s paternal grandmother who was a Head Nurse in the government-run health clinic and the International Peace Corps; a relative who was Foreign Affairs Minister (similar to Secretary of State); and another who was a member of the Supreme Court.

Being descendants of freed African/American slaves and missionaries from the Baltimore, Maryland area, Zangba and Wade left their native land of Liberia when Zangba was only 8 years old, and this migration was done a few years prior to the Liberian Civil War. Zangba and Wade landed safely at JFK International Airport in New York, during one of the coldest winters ever. While walking through the airport terminal, Zangba learned his first life lesson, which was riding an escalator. “I had no clue on how to get on the escalator,” says Zangba, "but after watching other passengers get on and off, I finally got the idea and understood what life was all about, and that is -- to watch and learn before making a move.”

Zangba and Wade moved into their mother’s studio apartment, located in a building across the street from the 165th street Bus Terminal, and a short block away from the famous Coliseum Mall. Everything looked foreign, but gradually Zangba’s habit of watching and learning helped him adapt to his new concrete habitat, and like a sponge, he soaked up the raw essence of life in Jamaica Queens. It was akin to leaving Africa and entering the concrete jungle of New York.

But adjusting and becoming acclimated to this new environment, especially fitting in with his peers at school would be a bit more challenging. During his first day as a 4th grader at elementary school P.S. 86, Zangba’s courage was tested.

“I didn’t know anyone so I sat by myself in the lunchroom,” says Zangba. “Then out of nowhere, an oversized kid asked me if I was going to eat my lunch? I replied yes because I was hungry, but still I offered to share my food with him because he looked hungry also.”

Salidean Brown, Zangba’s schoolmate, stepped to the bully and said, “Leave him alone!” Sal knew Zangba was “green” to the streets, so he explained to Zangba that the bully was trying to take his lunch. Zangba learned another valuable life lesson that day, and he and Sal became very close friends. Years later, during their junior-high school years at P.S. 217, Sal took Zangba around his neighborhood for the first time.

“Sal brought me around to meet his crew,” says Zangba, “and the next thing I know, I’m in the middle of the streets, squared up in a one-on-one fistfight against a boy I didn't even know. I balled up my fist, as tight as I could, and threw a hard-right hook to the boy's rib cage. Surprisingly, the boy tumbled to the ground in agony, and the fight was over before it started.”

Immediately, Sal’s inner circle embraced Zangba, and introduced him to the underworld of Southside Jamaica Queens. Being that Zangba had quick hands, and was always up-to-date with his clothing, the streets nicknamed him Bambu Stays Jiggie, which eventually became Bam Jiggie for short.

Around that time, the legendary Shirt Kings, who were airbrushing custom designs on t-shirts and sweaters for the likes of LL Cool J, Jam Master Jay, Audio Two, and Just Ice to name a few of their A-list clients, moved into the apartment next door to Zangba and his family, and they (Nike, Kasheem, and Dave) were very influential in introducing the fashion side of Hip-Hop culture to Zangba.

Video games were in, and at home Zangba had mostly every in-style video game console from Nintendo, Atari, Coleco-Vision to Sega Genesis, but for the true video game junkies, playing arcade games on an upright video game machine was the in-thing to do.

“I used to play a lot of video games in the pizza shop, located inside the bus terminal,” says Zangba, “and I remember one day, after running out of a roll of quarters, and becoming very angry because I didn’t beat the Pac Man game that I was playing. I walked out of the bus terminal, and standing right in front of me, with his arms around two female models, was LL Cool J, shining like the sun at high noon. He was shooting a scene for his music video.”

Zangba’s up close and personal view of LL Cool J, a closer view than what Yo’ MTV Raps could have shown him, left such an everlasting impression on Zangba’s mind that he took a special liking to the emceeing aspect of Hip Hop. That night, he traveled with Sal and G-Money to the Grey Door, a ghetto spot in 40 Projects, and witnessed Cory D., a street legend emceeing live on stage; and later that weekend, Zangba attended his first park jam at Baisley Park.

But what really solidified Hip Hop in Zangba’s heart was when he saw Boogie Down Productions' “My Philosophy” music video. Immediately, KRS-ONE became the first emcee that Zangba admired. Kris’ word play, his philosophy, and his raps about Africa hit home, and soon Zangba began writing his own rhymes down on paper. Years later, Nasty Nas and Tupac Shakur, also influenced Zangba greatly.

At Public Enemy Recording Studios in Hempstead, Long Island, Zangba would see Havoc and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, when he went to record his first demo tape, and a year and a half later, Zangba joined forces with Guerilla Maine and Boo Harv, his childhood friends. Together, the trio became known as Due’ Face (2-face in Italian).

Then early one morning, Zangba received a phone call, and G Money told him that Sal was dead, murdered on the cold streets of Queens, New York. Zangba felt lifeless, as if the Angel of Death had extracted the essence out of his body, and he collapsed mentally and eventually lost focus.

Months after Sal’s cremation, Zangba felt depressed and incomplete because he missed the company of his best friend. Sal had introduced Zangba to everything street-related, and now he was no longer around to guide Zangba through the “valley of the shadow of death.” So little by little, the little light that had once shone in Zangba’s world became strangely dim, and after a while, everything turned completely dark.

“I remember going on a losing streak for a couple of years,” says Zangba, reminiscing about the most difficult moments in life. “I lost everything but my life. Me and my girl parted ways, Due' Face never reached its full potential, my sister was stuck in the Liberian Civil War, and most of my close friends were either incarcerated or dead. I felt everyone close to me (in one way or the other), was being taken away. I spiraled out of control and even got arrested a few times.”

But Joyce, Zangba’s loving mother, was faithful and there in the trenches with her son during his darkest hours, and because of her continuous love, prayers and support, Zangba became inspired all over again. Joyce motivated Zangba to take Journalism/Creative Writing at York College, and Zangba excelled as a pupil under the watchful tutelage of Professor Glenn Lewis.

One day, while visiting a close friend on 118th street and Merrick Boulevard, Zangba met Mazaradi Fox, and overtime, Mazaradi and Zangba conversed about the street life. On one special occasion, Mazaradi went to see Zangba and Due' Face performing at an Open Mic on 119 street in Queens. A few days later, on the very same block, Zangba met Large Professor, the legendary Hip Hop producer that introduced Nas to the world. Large took a special liking to Zangba’s determination, and ended up giving him a few beats to rap to. Days later, Zangba handed Large a dub plate of one of the songs he recorded over Large's beat called, "They’re Scared To Run up On Me," which is still a classic to this day.

Large respected Zangba's lyrical ability, and took the young lyricist to the studio to record a verse on “Straight Rhymes,” a song that Large wanted to use on his "First Class" album. Although Zangba’s verse was dope, “Straight Rhymes” didn’t make the album, and Zangba found himself right back where he started -- in the arms of the Almighty Universal Prime Creator, and the experienced gained from being around Large Professor gave Zangba the momentum he needed to push ahead.

Later that week, Zangba received a letter, written in RED, from the bing in Southport Correctional Facility. The letter was from Zangba's close friend Kentele (Scar Blood). In the kite, Scar told Zangba to go see his man Boo Boo, Fifty Cent, who had secured a recording contract with Jam Master Jay. Zangba did as he was told, and he and Guerilla Maine met up with Fifty Cent at his grandmother's house. "I was behind the wheel of my mother's white station wagon and Maine was in the passenger seat," says Zangba, reminiscing about his past encounter with the rap legend. "Fif didn't want to talk outside, so he said let's talk in the car. He sat in the backseat, and not too long afterwards, he spit 16 bars of pure audio crack. After that I played me and Guerilla Maine's song, which was reminiscent of Lil Wayne's 6 Foot 7 Foot song -- but decades prior. Fif schooled us about what we needed to do to make our demo tape better, but a couple of months later, he got shot."

By the grace of the Most High The Highest Universal Prime Creator, Zangba kept his head up, and shortly afterwards he recorded “Three Black Boys with Hillie Hill in Queens, New York. The song became an underground hit, and the song was so interesting that people were coming up to Zangba and asking him, "Why did the boys commit the robbery?" Zangba unintentionally became an author when he tried to answer their intriguing questions in book form, which later became "Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version," a short story about three friends who put their lives on the line to rescue a victim plagued with the deadly black fever disease. The book sold 1,500 copies during its first month in the streets of Harlem, New York.

Later that year, Zangba's close friend -- Keon Bryce, introduced Zangba to Nas at a Maria Davis' Awareness Event in Harlem, and Zangba and Nas took a timeless photo, with Nas holding his autographed copy of Three Black Boys: The Authorized Version. "That was a pivotal moment in my life," says Zangba, about his divine meeting with Nas. "He's one of my favorite emcees, and being around him elevated my train of thought; my confidence grew and I began to believe that I could achieve whatever goals that I wanted to achieve. Weeks later, I registered Bong Mines Entertainment LLC and began putting the finishing touches to Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper novel, which is available everywhere books are sold."

The very next year, Zangba expanded his brand by co-writing "Do Right Do Good" with marketing guru Jean Alerte. American business magnate Russell Simmons endorsed it and Dr. Dennis Kimbro, best-seller author of “Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice," wrote the foreword. Then in 2015, Jean and Zangba, along with 6 other co-authors, released the relationship guidebook "Single Man Married Man," which brought together eight men from eight different worlds -- single, married, engaged, and divorced -- as they answer questions and share their unique insights about love and marriage. Single Man Married Man became a cult hit, and it has been SEEN or HEARD on FOX 5, NBC, TODAY, FOX & Friends, KATHY LEE & HODA, ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360, DAILY MAIL (UK), SHADE 45 SWAY IN THE MORNING, ABC, CENTRIC, VIBE, HOT 97, THE TOM JOYNER MORNING SHOW, ESSENCE MAGAZINE, and many other media outlets."

For more information about Zangba Thomson, please email him directly at Z@zangbathomson.com and CLICK on the BUY NOW tab below to buy "Three Black Boys: Tomorrow After Supper" novel. Thanks for being the change that you wish to see in the world, and always remember that (P) Positive (E) Energy (A) Always (C) Creates (E) Elevation (PEACE).

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