On his fiery debut CD, TIMZ-aka Tommy Hanna, an American born rapper of Chaldean and Iraqi descent--gets right up in our faces, mixing explosive, Middle Eastern tinged beats with incendiary rhymes in an effort to shatter those ugly stereotypes that have plagued people who look like him since 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war.
Make no mistake, the title of his powerful, outspoken and heavy grooving 14- track collection-a nominee for Best Hip-Hop Album at the 2006 San Diego Annual Music Awards-says it all: the San Diego born and bred artist is Open For Business. "The concept of the album is a day in the life," TIMZ says. "That's what I am, open for business all the time. I am at work and if I wasn't at work I was at school and if I wasn't at school I was in the studio rapping.
TIMZ is on an intense mission to help Americans understand that Chaldeans, who are Catholic by faith, date back to Iraq since the ancient times of Mesopotamia and the flourishing times of Babylon. "The only remnants from that Iraq and the Iraq that we see now are the rivers. "That's it, everything else has changed," he says.
"They lump us into one big group of Bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins walking around. After 9/11, a few people came into my dad's liquor store and gave him a hard time. But we're hard working people who love this country."
While TIMZ-a recent graduate of University San Diego-- has been the pride of his hometown's 20,000 Chaldean community for years, the reaction to "Iraq" across the country is giving him some well deserved cred as a national artist.
Earlier in 2006, he and manager Alvin Shamoun, both principals in TIMZ's independent label V.I.G. Productions, sent out CDs to 300 college stations across the country; within days, over 280 of those were putting the song into regular rotation. "Iraq" was #4 Most Added on the CMJ College Pop Radio Stations Chart, and hit #1 on 11 reporting stations everywhere from New York to California to Florida.