The PHENOMenal one...
PHENOM, born Teh’Ray Hale, learned to rhyme at the becoming age of 13 in the back streets of Chicago, Illinois. Unafraid to join in on the ciphers and emcee battling, PHENOM instantly loved connecting clairvoyant lyrics and hurling potent metaphors quickly taking his opponents to school. Influenced by legendary artists like Rakim, Nas, Common, Black Thought of the Legendary Roots, & Bob Marley; PHENOM set a goal as becoming himself, a legendary artist. His passion immediately ignites audiences with a fire of a stage presence of something never before heard in HIP-HOP.
In the 2000 Source Magazine Unsigned Hype Emcee Battle PHENOM earned 2nd place to Detroit Hip- Hop legend and D-12 member “PROOF” out of 1000 nationwide contestants. After the battle PHENOM told Newsweek in an interview “My aim is to be one of the best. I want to make good music for the listener and my skill will definitely be sharpened after this battle. I’m not just a battle emcee though, I love to make music. I’m what Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder would sound like if they could Spit”.
PHENOM has dedicated his life to empowering the People through his music. In 1995, First Lady Michelle Obama chose him for the Public Allies program where he had the opportunity to work with and teach youth about violence prevention strategies. As the Founder and CEO of the award-winning POETREE Chicago (People’s Organized Entertainment Teaching Righteous Education Everywhere), PHENOM was influenced to start L.Y.R.I.C, (Let Your Rhymes Inspire Creativity) with co-founder and national poet K-Love in 2009. Today, the L.Y.R.I.C program serves Chicago-based high school students and offers them opportunities to write and perform poetry as a non-violent means to stopping the violence in their neighborhoods. As a main member of HIP-HOP DETOXX, PHENOM has also hosted major events such as Ritual Sundays, Neo Soul Explosion, and Lyricist Loft, and while doing so this incredible artist has mentored thousands of youth throughout the US. His goal is to inspire change in the urban neighborhoods of Chi-town and abroad.
PHENOM’s diverse style was showcased in his highly anticipated solo performance series "Free-Hop” which blends several genres of music such as Afrobeat, Deep House, Reggae, GoGo, Soul and Spoken Word with Hip-Hop music to form a delectable display of raw talent and musical freedom.
In 2010 PHENOM collaborated with Neo-Soul singers Yaw & Khari Lemmuel to release "Jah Makin' Funk". He also released his first quality mixtape entitled "Wake UP World" in the same year. "Wake UP World" features tunes from legendary producers Ron Trent, Wajee (Slum Village), Rashid Hadee, Toronto's own Nick Beats, and the very hungry TALL BLACK GUY from Chi. In 2011, His song “Jacuzzi” featuring vocalists YAW & Khari Lemmuel followed by the up-tempo/ heavy 808’s joint "1-2-3" produced by the young up-incoming rapper/ producer 42 Keez off of his independently released "Closed Mouf Don't Get Fed" earned him looks in national magazines/publications & blogs abroad.
2015 proved to be a good year for PHENOM when he hosted the Chicago Park District’s 1st ever Teen In the Park Fest #TIPFEST, where thousands of youth ages 13- 24 attended. The fest curated by Chance The Rapper whom brought Kendrick Lamar for a surprise performance On October 29th, of that year marked the release of PHENOM’s highly anticipated new album “I Didn’t Come I Was Sent. The album release party was a true testament to how his music still translates well to his core audience. His album has received rave reviews since its release and lead to him being named one of the "Top 5 Chicago artists to check for in 2016" by Rolling Out.com. PHENOM has since released his second installment of his fan favorite mixtape series with “DATBOYSAID 2” in the fall of 2016. He followed up with the fall 2017 release of “DATBOYSAID 3” and is currently working on his new album, which he feels, will be his best work yet.
This fearless emcee/poet from Chi’ Town has shared stages throughout America with Accomplished artists such as Roy Ayers, Mos Def, The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, Dwele, Fertile Ground, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco,Chance The Rapper, Brother Ali, Jay Electronica, Vic Mensa, Lyfe Jennings, Talib Kweli and more. While he hasn’t garnered the notary that these great artists have PHENOM’s work and talents afforded him a trip of the lifetime.
In the fall of 2017, he traveled to IRAQ as a cultural/ spiritual ambassador for Hip-Hop culture. A 9 day trip; this pilgrimage from Chicago to the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq, reinforced his goal to inspire change in the urban neighborhoods of Chicago and abroad.
PHENOM was so inspired by the initial resistance some had towards hip-hop but the full embrace by the youth there, that upon his return from Iraq he started "EmceeSkool"; a 6 month curriculum where he trains young aspiring emcees/rappers. His first class of emcees were 6 male emcees. His second class is 7 females emcees, and his third class will be a co-ed group of emcees. In a short time EmceeSkool has established a presence, participating in several of Chicago’s most relevant music and community events.
2018 - 2019, has proven to be a great period of manifestation and harvest for PHENOM. In that period of time 2 classes of EmceeSkool graduated from the rigorous 6 month curriculum; EmceeSkool 1st Class, The Ladies of EmceeSkool, and the 3rd Class of EmceeSkool closed out their course with a New Years Eve Graduation event on Dec. 31, 2019. Harvest season didn’t end with just EmceeSkool, as PHENOM was given the honor to be the Keynote Speaker at The 25th anniversary of AmeriCorps and the 40th anniversary of the Serve Illinois Commission which was held in the state capital Springfield, IL.
Not stopping there, PHENOM was awarded the Inaugural “BROTHER MIKE AWARD” for his excellent work as a youth mentor and his dedication to creating platforms, safe havens, guidance and opportunities inner city youth and abroad. This award is very special to him for a number of reasons; the late Brother Mike and PHENOM were not only former band members in the legendary spoken word group “POETREE CHICAGO”, but they were brothers who shared the same passion, conviction and vision for the youth of Chicago.