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Thomas Uses Rap To Motivate the MassesDate: 04/19/2018
By Kev Moyè
DHS Media Specialist/Writer
Rocky Thomas was at church when he got an unexpected call from a friend. So he quickly stepped outside to answer the phone.
His friend hollered, “Listen!”
Thomas then stood still, listening intently as he heard something that was music to his ears.
On the other end of the line, his Arkansas Razorback rap was echoing throughout Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium in the midst of several thousand Hog fans, who cheered in approval.
By this time, Thomas’ cell phone was blowin’ up. Those calls, from other people who were also at the game, went to voicemail. Thomas focused solely on his rap and the screaming fans.
“I’ll never forget it, people were calling the Hogs and at the same time I could hear my song,” he said. “I remember just rappin’ along with it. I had this indescribable feeling inside of me when it was going on.”
Thomas’ Hog rap actually received airplay during a previous game, but he didn’t hear it. So not until the sudden call from his friend did Thomas finally hear his rap used as hype-music prior to a Razorback game.
But how did the opportunity materialize?
Thomas finished third in a local radio station’s best original Razorback song contest. A member of the UA marketing team heard the recording and ultimately got Thomas’ permission to play it.
“That was an unforgettable moment. When Rocky told us that the University of Arkansas wanted to use his rap, we as a family were in our van just celebrating,” said Mandy Thomas, Rocky’s wife of 18 years.
“Rocky loves to make people feel better about whatever it is they’re a part of,” Mrs. Thomas said. “He works hard to make a positive impact. Rocky is serious about putting other people’s needs and happiness ahead of his own.”
A dedicated father, husband, pastor of Botkinburg Foursquare Church, and entertainer – Thomas embraces any opportunity to lend a helping hand.
As part of the Department of Human Services Searcy County staff, as a Division of County Operations Program Eligibility Specialist, he completes statewide reviews and conducts recertification for the aging and people with disabilities to receive life-changing benefits. He also works with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), and the Medicare Savings programs.
“I enjoy knowing that I can make a difference,” he said. “Many of our clients need food stamps. The Medicare Savings Program pays the Part-B premium on insurance, and that’s a lot.”
“What I enjoy most about being a DHS Employee is how we help people each day. When I have a client tell me that I really helped them out, it makes me feel like I’m making a difference. If we can help make things easier for our people, we’ve done our job,” Thomas added.
Aside from being a proud DHS staff member, he also motivates people through his music.
Thomas is a legitimate hip-hop artist, so he raps about the Hogs and many other subjects such as, health and wellness, being drug free, the state of Arkansas, and even the services of DHS. However, being a devout Christian, several years ago he chose to dedicate the majority of his musical attention to Gospel Rap.
Over the years, he’s developed an appreciation for Christian Worship tunes, Contemporary Christian music, some pop, rock, and dubstep songs. But rap is his heart.
Thomas’ love for hip-hop began as a child, after being part of a church play in which he had to perform a Christian rap. The early 90s popularity of MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and DC Talk only increased his passion.
“I realized as a kid that I enjoy putting Christian words to hip-hop beats,” Thomas said. “I love using the fast rap style. Fast rap gets the kids’ attention. Then they’ll listen to the God-inspired lyrics.”
“Also, rap is one of the main communication languages for today’s kids,” he said.
Inspiring people to make the most of life is Thomas’ motivation for every rap he writes, any sermon he presents, and each interaction he has as DHS staff.
“I love singing and rapping in front of all different types of audiences, because at the end of the day everything will always point back to God and our testimony,” he said. “Growing up I liked being the center of attention whether it was at a family gathering, or a church play. But now, I want God to be the center of attention.”
“Thinking back to when Arkansas first played my Razorback rap before a game, I knew that God was opening a door for me,” Thomas said. “I knew people would look for ways to find out who I am and then learn that I’m a Christian rap artist. Really, from that point everything just took off.”
(Rocky Thomas was nominated and featured for the Living the Mission series at DHS, which focuses on staff members who go above and beyond their typical functions. If you know someone who lives the mission of DHS and should be featured for the Living the Mission series, contact Kev Moyè at firstname.lastname@example.org.)