Over the last few years, it is just a fact that we have been losing way too many up and coming superstars in the Hip Hop game. I mean just in 2018 and 2019, we lost Mac Miller, Lil Peep, and Juice Wrld to complications with drugs. All three of these men were considered to be some of the most eclectic rappers in the game, and they were the leaders of subgenres in Hip Hop that very popular today. In 2020, we have again lost two of the most important rising rappers in the game, both of whom were known for having their own very distinct styles of rapping that made them stand out and made them great. Earlier this year, Pop Smoke was shot to death inside his own home; he was not armed at the time he was murdered. Unfortunately, now we have lost one of the most promising young storytellers in the rap game to gun violence as well; King Von was shot at point-blank outside of a club on November 6, 2020. He also was not armed at the time of his death. King Von was the best friend and protege to Chicago superstar Hip Hop artist Lil Durk, and he was credited for bringing back the Chicago Drill rap scene that was initially popular in the early 2010s. As I stated earlier, he was known for his vivid storytelling; he was able to explain situations he has been through in his life in such detail that even if you can not relate to them in the slightest, you can still understand the pain he had gone through. Instead of reviewing his new album, Welcome To O’Block, I am going to talk about what my favorite songs were from the record. I do not feel comfortable reviewing an album by an artist after they have passed, because they are not able to talk about the decisions they made on the album and explain why they were made(I know I did it for the Mac Miller album earlier this year, but I regret it and I do not want to do it again). With that being said, here are my favorite songs from King Von’s new record Welcome To O’Block. Please let me know in the comments below if you agree with my selections, and let me know what other songs from this record you love as well.
In comparison to most of his other music, ‘Demon’ would probably be considered a pretty soft and chill song. Typically, King Von was known for rapping on heavy and aggressive Drill beats; he rarely sang, as he typically used a very tough and intense vocal style that matched up well with the Drill beats he loved to use. ‘Demon’ is a complete switch up from this format; this track has a melodic Trap feeling that reminds me a lot of artists like NBA YoungBoy or YFN Lucci. ‘Demon’ shows off a side of King Von that most people did not even know he had. ‘Demon’ is one of so many songs in King Von’s catalog where he used his storytelling ability to describe certain things that have happened to him in an extremely specific way. If you did King Von dirty in any way, you better believe he ripped you to shreds on one of his songs. ‘Demon’ is an excellent example of how talented King Von was because it showed off his innate storytelling ability and showed off that he was not a one-trick pony that could only do Drill music.
THE CODE(FEAT. POLO G)
There are not many up and coming rappers that I enjoy as much as(or even more) as I enjoyed King Von, and Polo G is one of those few rappers. Polo G also hails from Chicago, and he also has a very serious and powerful way of telling very specific stories about the dark situation that he grew up in. If you are into rapping styles that are very genuine, honest, and descriptive of the realities of growing up in the hood, this collaboration is a dream. ‘The Code’ is about sticking to the oath you give to your gang; it is about always having your boys’ backs and never snitching to the police. King Von and Polo G both rap about how they stuck to the code no matter what, and how they both know people who have broken the code and eventually came to regret that decision. ‘The Code’ is exactly what a collaboration between these two should have been, as it shows off a lot of the qualities that make them both so great and unique.
WHY HE TOLD
‘Why He Told’ immediately follows ‘The Code’ on the tracklist for Welcome to O’Block, and that was done on purpose. ‘Why He Told’ is a song where King Von called out someone in his circle who did snitch on other members of the crew. This song does not have the kind of bass-heavy and tough sound that King Von’s Drill music usually had. ‘Why He Told’ has more of a melancholy Trap sound to it that sounds distinctively Southern to me. I could see Kevin Gates loving an instrumental like this. ‘Why He Told’ has a lot more of an emotional tone than most of King Von’s other songs do. King Von was very hurt by the fact that his supposed brother decided to talk to the cops, and it really must have destroyed King Von’s ability to trust. ‘Why He Told’ shows off yet another side and style of King Von’s ability as a rapper and lyricist, and I would have loved to have heard him show off this emotional side more because it is very interesting to listen to.
BACK AGAIN(FEAT. LIL DURK AND PRINCE DRE)
After the emotion of the last track, it is obvious that King Von had to get back into his element and rap aggressively with his boys. ‘Back Again,’ which is produced by Tay Keith, brings that aggressive nature Von has right back to the forefront. ‘Back Again’ is a short and not sweet Drill song that gets right to the point. On this track, King Von, Lil Durk, and Prince Dre are asserting their dominance, letting the world know they are not the people to be messing around with. All three rappers on this song explain exactly why they should be feared, and let the listeners know what will happen if someone tries to cross them. Songs like this are what put Lil Durk and King Von on the map in the first place. If you love intense Chicago Drill music, ‘Back Again’ is a song you need to download.
I AM WHAT I AM(FEAT. FIVIO FOREIGN)
I have always thought that the Chicago Drill music scene and the New York Drill music scene need to find a way to link up with each other because they are both so unique and both go so hard. I have to say I was correct in thinking that because this track is such a banger and showcases the elements that make both these music scenes great. ‘I Am What I Am,’ featuring FIvio Foreign, is as tough and intense and one would expect a song by these two men to be. This song does not necessarily tell a vivid story and does not have the kind of witty lyricism a lot of King Von’s music has, but that is okay. This song is more about the feeling it is supposed to give you than the lyrical content or message. Fivio Foreign and King Von can both portray such a similar and extreme feeling in their music, and hearing them on the same song is a cool and interesting thing. I hope that ‘I Am What I Am’ inspires more Chicago and New York Drill artists to make music together since this song shows how great it can sound.
One of the best things about Welcome to O’Block is the fact that time and time again it showcases that Von can do more than just rap on harsh Drill beats. ‘Ride’ is such a great example of how King Von was a lot more than what most casual Hip Hop listeners would assume him to be. ‘Ride’ is about as sappy and romantic of a song that someone that King Von can make; on this track, he was singing directly to his girlfriend, assuring her that he would always be there for her. For typically never having made melodic R&B/Trap music before, King Von certainly excelled at it on this track. I love the old school R&B style melody that this song uses. Frankly, this track reminds me a lot of music by artists like A Boogie or Lil Tjay, or Lil Mosey. ‘Ride’ is such a fun and easy song to listen to, and it really shows off a side of King Von that I wish we could have heard more of.
HOW IT GO
As I have stated many times in this article, King Von was one of the most vivid and interesting storytellers in the game. Out of all the songs on this project, ‘How It Go’ is probably the best example of this. It is pretty easy to see from the very start of this song that its lyrics are very personal to King Von. In the first verse of this track, King Von explained how it feels to be locked up in prison and having your parole continually denied. All there is to do is work out and think about your children’s mother who is out screwing around with your opposition and about your children who you never get to see. In the second verse of this song, King Von described how it feels to get out of prison and have no money to your name and no way to get into contact with your kids since your baby mama won’t talk to you. You can feel the pain and emotion that King Von was feeling while listening to this song. ‘How It Go’ is also a song where King Von straight up sang the chorus, creating a contrast with the intensity that the rest of the song has. ‘How It Go’ is a song that highlights every aspect of what made King Von such a great up and coming rapper.