Zangba Thomson is a Liberian-American artist, and an urban, best-selling and award-winning author; but as a social-political recording artist, he is known as Zangba. Born in Bong Mines, a small-mining community located in Bong County, Liberia, Zangba’s father John Thomson named Zangba after a paramount-war chief from the Bassa African tribe—with the name Zangba meaning ‘heart of the soul.’
At the tender age of 8, Zangba left Liberia with his older sister and migrated to Jamaica, a neighborhood in Queens, NY—just one block from the famous Coliseum Mall. Zangba and his sister lived with their mother in a small studio apartment, next door to the legendary Shirt Kings, who were known for 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.
Video games were in, and at home Zangba had mostly every in-style video game consoles, such as Nintendo, Atari, ColecoVision, and Sega Genesis. But for this true video-game junkie, Zangba played a lot of arcade games on upright video game machines inside the 165th street bus terminal. Then one day, Zangba unexpectedly walked into LL Cool J’s video shoot– and seen Cool J with his arms around two female models.
That up close and personal view, much closer than what Yo’ MTV Raps were showing at the time, left such an everlasting impression on Zangba’s mind, that he took a special liking to the emceeing aspect of Hip-Hop. But what really solidified the art form 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 because Kris’ word play, his philosophy, and raps about Africa hit home, and Zangba began writing his own lyrics.
Zangba adjusted well to his new concrete environment, and later became good friends with juveniles from South-side, Jamaica, Queens. One comrade in particular, Sal Brown, showed Zangba the ropes of how things worked in the streets, and Zangba abided by these rules. A year later, the streets nicknamed him Bam Stays Jiggie, which eventually got reduced to Bam Jiggie. Then Zangba formed a rap group with his good friends, Guerilla Maine and Boo Harv, and their first recorded song ended up on Cutmaster C’s ‘Back To School‘ mixtape. But when Brown got murdered in cold blood, Zangba felt lost—eventually spiraling out of control. Years later, with his help of his family, Zangba regained his sanity and enrolled at York College, where he studied Journalism and Creative Writing under the watchful tutelage of Professor Glenn Lewis.
The following year, Zangba met Large Professor in Queens, and they ended up recording Zangba’s demo in Large’s basement. Large took a special liking to Zangba’s lyrical ability, so he took him to a professional studio to record a verse on ‘Straight Rhymes’, a song that Large wanted to use on his ‘First Class’ album, which featured notable emcees such as Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Q-Tip. But unfortunately, Zangba’s verse got didn’t make the cut, and Zangba found himself right back where he started.
Kentele, a.k.a Scar Blood, sent Zangba a letter from Southport Correctional Facility. Days later, Zangba had a pivotal meeting with rap mogul 50 Cent, in front of 50’s grandmother’s house in Queens. The gathering took place inside Zangba’s mother’s white station wagon, where 50 dropped many words of wisdom. A month later, Zangba recorded ‘Three Black Boys’ at Hillie Hill’s Straight Live Studio; and not too long afterwards, he adapted the song into the Urban, best-selling novel Three Black Boys, which ended up selling well over 1,600 copies in Harlem, during its first week.
In 2012, Zangba and Jean Alerte co-wrote Do Right Do Good, a practical guidebook towards vision fulfillment, which was endorsed by Russell Simmons and Dr. Dennis Kimbro. In 2015, Zangba and Alerte, along with 6-other authors, released the Urban, best-selling relationship guidebook Single Man, Married Man, which won the ‘2015 New Book Award’, and received major media attention from FOX 5, NBC, Today, Fox & Friends, Kathy Lee & Hoda, Arise 360, Shade 45: Sway in the Morning, ABC, Daily Mail (UK), Vibe Magazine, Centric TV, HOT 97, Essence Magazine, and The Tom Joyner Morning Show.
In 2016, Zangba released Take a Look… There’s Money All Around You!, a prosperity, life-changing audiobook, which highlights the secret ingredients needed to become a prosperous moneymaking machine. And later that month, he released Hip-Hop, Soul, and R&B, a lovable, 10-track debut-album that’s taking music lovers on a joyful journey down lover’s lane, where true love is the theme and being ‘in love’ is the name of the game.
On July 31, 2016, at the National Black Theatre in Harlem, New York—Zangba received the ‘Bai T. Moore Literary Award’ during a ceremony commemorating the 169th Anniversary of Liberian Independence. That night, Zangba also received several citations from Congressman Charles Rangel, Bill de Blasio (Mayor of New York), Ruben Diaz Jr. (Bronx Borough President), Edward P. Mangano (Nassau County Executive), and Gale A. Brewer (Manhattan Borough President) for his literary achievements.
On Dec. 20, 2016, Zangba won a ‘Public Choice Remix Award for his single ‘I Need You (feat. Maskerade)’, in B-Side Project’s 2016 remix competition, in association with Prism Sound. The awards ceremony took place in London at Metropolis Studios.
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