Doctor Fills Prescription for Medicine, Music
(June 4, 2009)
Army Maj. (Dr.) Nickolas Karajohn, a physician on active duty at Camp Atterbury, Ind., is better known off duty as “M.C. M.D.,” a rhyme-dropping rapper from Las Vegas.
||CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind., June 1, 2009
It's not hard to find a full-time soldier who goes
right back to work doing something else after the uniform comes off.
From entrepreneurial endeavors through self-owned businesses to
hobbies-turned-careers, some soldiers moonlight in their passions no
matter how involved their military careers might be.
Army Maj. (Dr.) Nickolas Karajohn is no exception. As a practicing
physician at the troop medical clinic, the 42-year-old Las Vegas
native can be found providing medical care to thousands of
servicemembers training and working here. But it's not his warm
bedside manner or friendly demeanor that makes him unique.
In his office, he's referred to as “sir” or “Dr. Karajohn,” but once
on stage, he transforms into “M.C. M.D.,” a rhyme-dropping rapper
who's not afraid of the big stage or the bright lights.
“I'm the real doc on the mike,” he said, echoing his duel persona's
motto. “It's part of who I am and how I've grown up. There never
should be boundaries in any genre of music -- racial, ethical or
Karajohn's passion for performing began at an early age while he was
growing up in a trailer park in North Las Vegas. His first talent
was dancing, which led to his forming of a short-lived dance group.
It wasn't until later in life that his love for rhyming began to
“I've been listening to rap since it began, probably about
1980,” he said. “That was when the Sugar Hill Gang came out, along with all the
original rappers. I followed the progression of rap music and became interested
in 1996 in writing it. |
“I was inspired by [rapper Notorious B.I.G.] when his double album came out,” he
continued. “That was my inspiration to start writing songs and get in the studio
and start recording.”
Despite his love for rap music, Karajohn remained committed to serving his
country. “Rap was something I strictly had a passion for, but my main goal was
to become a doctor,” he said. “I joined initially as a combat medic in 1996, and
then went to medical school at the Ross University School of Medicine.”
Prior to mobilizing here through his unit, the National Army Augmentation
Detachment at Fort McPherson, Ga., Karajohn had written 20 songs and released a
13-track album, even opening for rap group Tha Dogg Pound's Daz Dillinger and
Kurupt in 2006. His songs, a combination of East and West Coast rapping styles,
he said, reflect on a number of topics.
“I rap about a lot of things,” he said. “I've got songs about my life and
career, stories, etc. I'm not a ‘gangsta rapper,' but I've got some songs about
bragging. I also have some songs that try to relay some message about life.”
Karajohn said his appreciation for rap music stems from its artistic qualities.
“I'm very into the lyrics, so when I listen to rap, I listen to the words first.
It's like coordinating poetry to music.”
The doctor's strong lyrical abilities hidden under a military officer's exterior
have been known to catch others off guard. Army Capt. Victoria Davis, a
registered nurse at the clinic here, said she didn't know what to expect when
she overheard him rapping a few lyrics to his patients one day.
“Did I expect that from a physician? No,” she said. “I was impressed. His lyrics
talk about things like being a doctor, but the younger generations can relate.
He sends a good, positive message.”
Karajohn laughed about the fact that most people are surprised when they hear
about his other career. “They're pretty much taken aback, especially at the fact
that I'm a doctor,” he said. “But my rap name kind of explains it.”
Karajohn said he has about six weeks left here before returning to Las Vegas,
where he plans to perform again. He said that no matter where his job or the
Army takes him, it won't hinder what he loves doing behind a microphone.
“Regardless of your rank or title, ... anything you love to do, anything that
you'd call a dream, you should always give yourself a chance to try and do it,”
he said. “The artistic side of anyone needs to be sought out and displayed, even
if it's for themselves.”
Article and photo by Army Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III
Camp Atterbury public affairs office
Special to American Forces Press Service
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