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Pledge Allegiance

December 3, 2016 by
Born Ollie Richardson, in the historic city of Savannah Georgia, Souljah Essoh is a man of many gifts
and talents. Not only a recording artist, Essoh (Pronounced “S-O”) is also an Actor, Writer, and
Minister (Assistant Pastor of Damascus Church; Lake City, Ga.).
His love of music was cultivated at an early age. Being first
exposed to the power of music within the walls of the church,
it is easy to understand the reason his lyrics are filled with
such passion, conviction, and soul. “I always knew there
was something I had to do in life that involved music.
I just felt It.” said Essoh in an interview with UCC Magazine.
At the age of 15, Essoh formed a Hip Hop group with childhood
friends, which almost landed him a recording contract.
Known mostly as a singer throughout high school, it was
shocking to a lot of his peers and family members to discover
his love for the Hip Hop art form. Shocking to all except one
very special person; his grandmother, Evelyn Richardson. “Man, I can remember my grandma waking
me up about 11 O’clock at night, telling me the Lord showed her in a dream, that I would be rapping,
but about God. She even rapped a verse she heard in the dream!! **laughs** I still remember the
verse today. I’ll never forget that.”
Although music had caused Essoh to gain a little notoriety in Savannah, a lifestyle filled with
robberies, fighting, guns, police chases, and gangs, called for an immediate need for a change of
scenery. Essoh enlisted into the United States Navy shortly after his 18th birthday. Although this
decision would remove him out of his element, and seemingly away from music, God had a plan for
the gifts and talents He invested into this young man.
After boot camp and technical schooling was over, Essoh received orders to report to his first duty
station, which was in Norfolk, Virginia. While stationed in Norfolk, Essoh joined a local church that
was filled with young Christians, and was thoroughly rooted in the Christian Hip Hop genre. It is here
that Essoh really began to grow in faith, and develop a relationship with Christ, that even he never
thought was possible. “Being a member of the church caused me to catch on fire for Christ! I was
soooooo proud to let everyone know I was a Christian, and a member of this particular church”. It is
here that Essoh met two other young men who were just as enthused about their faith as he was.
These young men were Dontae “Monolog” Phillips and Malachi “The Messenger” Williams. This was
the birthplace of Christian Hip Hop trailblazers, Gideonz Army.
Gideonz Army became a household name in the CHH community. With an edgy style, industry videos
and production, and lyrical ability that would contend with any of the big names in Hip Hop, GA rose
quickly to a place of prominence in CHH. However, with the attention and fame, came temptations
and trials. In December 2012, an internal disagreement caused the CHH group to part ways with
group member Malachi. This split shocked the CHH community and caused a division to take place
amongst the groups core fans. Some though the group would never be the same, while others felt the
music wouldn’t be as good as what the group was known for producing. Gideonz Army silenced that
belief with their 2014 Billboard Charting album “Hedges and Highways”.
In late 2014, both group members (Souljah Essoh & Monolog) felt a pull to work on and release a solo
project. In 2015, Monolog released his solo album entitled “Transparency”, featuring Essoh on the
record “I Wish You Would”. In July 2016, Essoh released his solo project entitled “Pledge Allegiance”.
“I felt a need to state my position in Hip Hop, due to the fact
that so many artist were going away from the faith in hopes
of getting noticed” – Souljah Essoh
With his love for God, love for people, and his passion for
music, Souljah Essoh has made it his mission to share the
message of Christ through his music and other talents.
Foregoing the passive approach, Essoh has set his sights on
making a name for himself by in his words, destroying every
beat he lays a verse over, in Jesus name!
“I want people to know, I’m no joke when it comes to this
music. Always expect my best…the best, when it comes to me
and my music.” – Souljah Essoh
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