January 12, 2008 - A group of Soldiers crowd around a laptop as rap music pours from the speakers. The music is a demo CD by M.I.Z.Z. NeKol, aka Spc. Nicole King.
King, a member of Detachment 1, Higher Headquarters, 35th Special Troops Battalion, in Kansas City, has been in the Missouri National Guard for five years. King, who is trained as a cook and deployed to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said that she joined the Guard for scholarship money.
"The Guard has blessed me with money to pay for college," said King, of Grandview. "Without my college classes, I wouldn't have been able to produce my own gospel hip-hop CD."
King attended Grantham University where she studied computer engineering. She explained that she learned to engineer, produce, DJ and promote her own album. King owns her own production studio, U've Been Blessed Productions, where she creates beats for other local artists.
"I've been inspired by music my whole life, especially when I got my first keyboard. It was $99.99 and I loved it," King said smiling. "I always knew that I wanted to make a gospel CD, and now I have the opportunity to do it."
King has performed around Kansas City at churches, clubs and local talent shows. She also has performed in St. Louis and Atlanta. King said she would never have been able to follow her dream without the help of the Missouri Guard.
"The Guard has definitely given me experiences to write about," King said. "But the money is greatest. I work one weekend a month and have extra money to put into my project. The college money - that's just another bonus."
Be on the look out for M.I.Z.Z. NeKol's debut album, scheduled to release in March of 2008.