Raphel Baker known as the artist (Official Soja) was born on June 29, 1988. He was a troubled young man growing up, who found himself caught up in the wrong things. After being kicked out of school in 6th grade, held back in 7th grade, and dealing with probation, he began to lose focus on school. He spent his time playing basketball in the streets. By 8th grade, he showed impressive skills on the court, already able to hang on the rim at 5'8, so he was asked to try out for the school team and made it. That same year, the team won the championship. He then attended Cypress Creek High School in 2003, where he no longer played basketball, but his love of music was discovered. In high school, he would sit back and watch while others would have freestyle battles. He always had a burning desire to join in, but was too self-conscience, not sure of the reaction he would get. Afraid to express himself publicly, he would write down his thoughts, only to be kept hidden away. With the help of a close friend, in 2005, he learned how to convert his thoughts into songs; how to write music. He discovered that music actually came naturally to him, with little effort, pulling inspiration from artists such as DMX, Master P, Eminem, and Bone Thugs -N- Harmony. From then on, music became his biggest passion.
While still in high school, he dubbed himself Soja, and released his first single, "Welcome" in 2007. Months after dropping his single, he was asked to perform in the Black History Month Program at Cypress Creek High School. Later in 2007, he made his presence known with his verse in the collaboration "Gotta Get The Chedda", which was played by DJ Wired on the underground radio station WPRK 91.5FM. When first released, it was played five times in one night, Soja's first radio debut. In 2008, he opened up a show for P.I. Bang and Papa Duck. After an interview with Rico TV, where he was mistakenly called Soulja Boy, he decided to change his name to Official Soja. He signed a record deal with Brooklyn West Records in 2008. His time with the company came to an end in 2011.
Even with the requests to perform at different local high schools and night clubs, he realized that it wasn't easy to break into the music industry in Orlando. Therefore, he began the hustle to get himself recognized. He began investing all of his own money into making several mix tapes, videos, and putting together live shows with other artists. Finding it hard to get the response he wanted from his hometown, Orlando, he traveled to other cities, such as Tampa and Miami. Although it took a lot of work and time, he refused to give up, and continued to promote his music and chase his dream.
Because of his hardwork and dedication to his music, Official Soja is on the rise. He has opened up shows for Rick Ross, Pretty Ricky, and Ice Burg of Dunk Ryders. He is also affiliated with Slip-N-Slide Records. Currently, he is working on a new mixtape, due to drop early 2014. This will be his first sponsored mixtape. Official Soja is one of the hottest up and coming hip-hop/rap artists in Orlando, FL.
You can find his music on..
iTunes, Emusic, Napster, Nokia, Tradebit, Amazon, Xbox music, Last.fm, Myspace music, MediaNet, Rhapsody & Many More Websites!