Born in the U.S. and of Chaldean and Iraqi descent, Timz (real name Tommy Hanna) says, "A lot of people hear my lyrics and hear the anti-Bush, anti-war lyrics and assume that I'm a terrorist or I hate the country." The Rancho San Diego rapper maintains, "That's not the case. I was born here in San Diego, but my parents were born in Baghdad."
Timz graduated in 2006 from USD with a degree in business administration. He says he will spend his immediate future concentrating on music. His first CD, Open for Business, was released in April 2006 and was nominated as "Best Hip-Hop Album" at the 2006 San Diego Music Awards. At the time, Timz worked part-time at his father's liquor store. Last year, two employees of an El Cajon liquor store were executed. Like Timz's family, the victims were Chaldean.
"That rocked our community. It showed how strong of a community we are. There are about 20,000 Chaldeans in San Diego. We have the second-largest Chaldean community after Detroit.... A lot of people don't know the difference between Iraqi and Iranian. They lump us into one big group of Bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins walking around.... After 9/11, a few people came into my dad's store and gave him a hard time. If they were drunk and they didn't have enough money [to buy alcohol], they would say stupid things to my dad and his workers.
"I am a U.S. citizen, but I do have a problem with the people running it and running it into the ground. The scariest thing is what's going on in Iran right now. They are standing up for themselves, and they aren't backing down. I don't want to see this nation [the U.S.] get hurt again like 9/11."
In November 2006, Timz was riding the anti-Bush wave with "Iraq," the first single off Open for Business. The song hit number four on the most-added tracklist on CMJ's College Pop Radio Stations Chart.
Sample lyric: "America the beautiful, what did they do to you? / They used you, it's so indisputable... / What, are we supposed to be thankful? / You killed my family and I should say thank you?"
Timz says he wants to educate people about Chaldeans, devout Catholics credited as having been Iraq's native population in ancient times.
"I'm not shy about being proud of who I am, and it's great to educate people about my culture by rapping about things that other artists can't." He says the album title Open for Business refers to his job at his father's liquor store. "It's not nine-to-five; [it's] more like morning to night, 365 days a year. I'm here, I turn the lights on, and I turn the lights off."
In 2006, during a CD-release party at El Cajon's Crystal Ballroom, a dozen police responded to a noise complaint and the show was shut down while Timz performed "There's a War Going On." A 17-year-old was cited for possessing liquor.