Rapper King ISO recently spoke with deployment and shared the inspiring story of how he overcame his battles with mental health and transformed into the successful musician he is today. The story behind the name is sure to inspire.
Can you first tell me who you are and how you started?
My alias is King ISO, I’m a recording artist currently signed with Strange Music, which is run by Tech N9ne. I’m from Omaha, Nebraska, and my target audience is anyone who has been through or is currently going through things, like my whole thing has always been about mental health. I grew up fighting and have been in and out of mental institutions since I was young. I was able to come out of a lot of that and do something positive like get put on a big platform like Strange Music and touch a lot of lives with what I do musically.
You said you came and went from mental institutions? How did you really get out of this darkness?
I was homeless, had a lot of trouble with the law and was a drug addict at the time. I was going through a really tough time. I got to a point where I was incarcerated by the mental health board, and they wouldn’t let me go home because it was a court order. I did all my group therapy, I did my security packs and everything. They thought I was ready to go home. It was difficult because I had charges pending for living in a stolen truck just before I was admitted and placed on the mental health board. When I got out of the mental hospital, I walked out and there were sheriffs waiting for me with irons and handcuffs.
How was this experience?
I couldn’t be in the general population. They ended up putting me in an isolation room, which was in isolation for three or four months for 23 hours. The name of the room was ISO, they didn’t call it solitary confinement. Every time they took me to court, they knocked on my door and said, “ISO, let’s go”. The three letters were on the door. I started doing mental exercises because I needed positive reinforcement. I needed to change this experience into something that I saw from a different perspective or else I’m going to fall back into a black hole. So I started saying, I’ll overcome every time I saw those letters. I could look at them and say I’m going to get through this. When I came out, I took the name with me. I will overcome anything, any adversity, any obstacle, anything bad. And then I’ll put King in front. And that’s how my name, King ISO, was born.