It was a week after the release of his debut album, Welcome to O’Block, that Chicago rapper King Von was shot and killed outside a nightclub in Atlanta. It was a tragic end to one of the rap scene’s most promising careers.
Born Dayvon Bennett on the South Side of Chicago, Von rose to prominence with his fluid storytelling style. He caught the ear of drill music’s biggest star Lil Durk, who signed him to his Only the Family label.
2. “Welcome to O’Block”
After the success of his first two mixtapes, King von autopsy followed up with Welcome to O’Block, which was released a week before he died. The 16-track album features a diverse range of production from Chopsquad DJ, Tay Keith, Wheezy, Hitmaka, and Will-A-Fool. The result is a nuanced portrait of Von’s rap origin story, shaped by his upbringing in Chicago’s notorious O’Block neighborhood and his lifelong experiences with the criminal justice system.
Featuring guest appearances from Lil Durk, Polo G, and Dreezy as well as other rap stars Moneybagg Yo and Fivio Foreign, Welcome to O’Block was one of the most successful albums of 2020. Moreover, it has now been posthumously certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In the wake of Von’s death, the rapper’s legacy lives on. Check out our exclusive interview below to learn more about his debut album. You can also subscribe to our 10 to Hear newsletter for more music news and reviews.
3. “Levon James”
The crown crown goes to the Parkway Gardens alum who was lucky enough to score a spot on Lil Durk’s OTF label. Among the many accolades he received was the honor of helming the label’s top notch touring ensemble. During his travels he was rewarded with an unprecedented three year lease of the aforementioned limo. This was topped off with a swanky new albeit aftrowntched home in the form of a state of the art mansion to boot.
4. “What It Means to Be King”
With What It Means to Be King, Von’s estate and Only the Family/Empire has crafted what could be his best album to date. This 19-track release includes features from G Herbo, 21 Savage, Fivio Foreign, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Durk, Tee Grizzley, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Dreezy, and Boss Top.
The tracklist also features some classic trap bangers as King Von continues to flex his skills and conviction. Unlike his previous projects, where you’d usually expect violence to dominate a project, this one isn’t that way.
Rather than trying to shift Von’s sound into something Frankenstein-esque, What It Means To Be King instead relies on the rapper’s natural chemistry with his collaborators. The results are some of the most cohesive and well-balanced work on the project, with a sonic consistency that keeps you glued to your chair.