King Von is a 26-year-old rapper from Chicago, Illinois. While showing potential on singles like “Took Her To The O” and “Crazy Story, Pt. 3”, he’s struggled with creating a cohesive body of work. This week, he released his third studio album, Welcome to O’Block. Trying to prove he is here to stay, will King Von silence his haters?
Taking the same flash and fury from his previous two albums, King Von locks in artistically to create his most consistent body of work to date. Opening up with “Armed & Dangerous”, Von sets the tone as he goes on a radical spree telling listeners about his life in the Chi. Building on this, the 26-year-old rapper uses this formula repeatedly, but it rarely lets down. From laying out his love for his crew on “Demon” to looking back on his crime-ridden past on “Can’t Relate”, Von makes up for his lack of lyrical ability with his passionate microphone presence and song structuring. “Ride” was a definite standout as he switches up his flow in this melodic telling of the time he was arrested for a shooting in Atlanta. One theme consistent throughout the record is the emphasis on gang culture. While some can glorify the idea of having a group of unrelated brothers, the life’s true challenges can be seen on the cuts “Why He Told” and “How It Go”, which both display King Von at his spiritually lowest. Assisting Von, rappers like Polo G, Lil Durk, Fivio Foreign, and Moneybagg Yo all provide refreshing changes of pace when called upon. Ending the LP off on the ultimate highpoint, “Waynes Story” shows King Von’s ability to contribute something new to the ever-growing world of hip hop. While he’s far away from being amongst the genre’s best, King Von shows he can be a threat for years to come.
Produced almost entirely by ChopsquadDJ, modern trap and drill are fused to create King Von the ultimate experience. While many mainstream hip hop records have been suffering due to their bland choice of instrumentals, Chop and others do just enough to make Welcome to O’Block an engaging listen. Songs like “GTA” and “Mine Too” are built off climatic beginnings, which only lead to some bouncing trap drums. Even though these moments capture this art well, by the point of “All These N***s” and “Ain’t See It Coming”, it feels incredibly redundant and even sickening at times. Arranged by LC, JTK & DJ Ayo, “The Code”s dramatic piano and faint background vocals easily deem it as the sonic pinnacle of Von’s third album. “Ride” was another standout as its organic sound feels heaven-sent, perfectly matching King Von’s feelings towards the life behind him. Sonically, ChopsquadDJ proves he’s above the current mainstream quota with a soundtrack that, even though lacks depth, stays true to Von’s upbringing.
Walking into Welcome to O’Block, my expectations were extremely low, which only makes my final verdict so much sweeter. King Von shows that he is a star in the making as he sells his unique style beyond the surface due to his somewhat potent lyricism. Sonically having a consistent force in ChopsquadDJ was a wise move as having one mind behind the entire sound enables things to stay decently focused. Going forward, it’s hard to predict the ceiling for King Von, but his next project has me more than excited!
- King Von shows great flow/microphone presence
- Glimpses of emotional depth and storytelling
- Solid production
- Stylistically versatile
- Solid features
- Production is just slightly above average
- King Von still has some vocal issues and ideas he needs to approach better
- Slightly bloated
Written By: Marc Dator
Scored and edited by: Marc Dator, owner and founder of Fantastic Hip Hop