Dayvon Daquan Bennett (August 9, 1994 – November 6, 2020), known professionally as King Von, was an American rapper and gangster from Chicago, Illinois, that was affiliated with the Black Disciples gang.[5][6][7][8] He is widely considered one of the most preeminent figures of the drill genre.

King Von
King Von in 2019
King Von in 2019
Background information
Birth nameDayvon Daquan Bennett
Also known as
  • Von
  • Grandson
  • V-Roy
Born(1994-08-09)August 9, 1994
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
DiedNovember 6, 2020(2020-11-06) (aged 26)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
DiscographyKing Von discography
Years active2018–2020
Labels
Member ofOnly the Family
Cause of deathGunshot wounds
Children3
Websitekingvonofficial.com

Bennett garnered acclaim for singles "Crazy Story" and "Took Her to the O", which reached the forty-fourth position of the Billboard Hot 100, and for the studio album Welcome to O'Block (2020), which placed fifth on the Billboard 200.[9] He was signed to Lil Durk's record label Only the Family and Empire Distribution.

On November 6, 2020, Bennett was shot and killed at age 26.

Early life

Bennett was born on August 9, 1994, in Chicago, Illinois.[10] He had six half-siblings from his father, Walter E. Bennett, and three siblings from his mother, Taesha. He was raised mostly by his mother in the Parkway Garden Homes in South Side, Chicago's Woodlawn area, more commonly known as "O-Block".[1][11] His relationship with his father was inconsistent due to his father's incarcerations. When Von was 11 years old, his father was killed by an unseen gunman. Von later paid tribute to his father in multiple songs.[12]

King Von was present for the birth of drill music through his association with Chief Keef and Lil Durk. However, he was frequently incarcerated throughout the 2010s for a multitude of serious criminal charges, which made him known in Chicago's drill scene even before he began recording music.[13]

At age 16, Bennett went to juvenile detention for armed robbery in January 2011. While incarcerated, Bennett earned his GED. After being released, Bennett attended a few classes at South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois, before dropping out.[14][better source needed]

In July 2014, Bennett was charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting that killed one and injured two others.[15] He was acquitted in December 2017.

Career

Crazy Story series and Only The Family affiliation

Upon Von's release from jail in December 2017, fellow rapper Lil Durk signed Von to Durk's Only the Family label. Von then released a series of singles. The first of these singles was "Beat Dat Body", which featured fellow Chicago rapper THF Zoo, and was released on June 17, 2018.[16] Von subsequently appeared on the Lil Durk Presents: Only The Family Involved album, which was released on July 31, 2018. He featured on the song "Problems", which had an accompanying music video released on August 9, 2018.[17] Von then released the single "War With Us" on October 18, 2018.[18] Von's single "Crazy Story" was released on December 6, 2018.[19] It became his breakout single, reaching number 81 on Billboard Hot 100.[20][21]

On January 9, 2019, Von was featured on the remix of "Exposing Me", a song by fellow Chicago rapper Memo600. Von and Memo600 swapped bars disrespecting and detailing real life feuds and altercations against other nearby neighborhoods. A response from the targets arose when rappers FBG Duck and Rooga dropped their own remix of the song on February 4, 2019. Both songs were produced off the sampling of original Indian song Sanam Re. Following the success, a series of remixes for the song were made by other artists both in the United States and in Europe[22][23]

On February 14, 2019, Von's then-girlfriend, rapper Asian Doll, released a music video for her track about him, "Grandson", in which he appeared.[24]

In May 2019, "Crazy Story 2.0" featuring Lil Durk was released, and a music video was later released on May 20, 2019; the song peaked at number four on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[25][26] On September 13, 2019, a third rendition of the single called "Crazy Story, Pt. 3" was released.[27] On July 9, 2019, Lil Durk and King Von released their collaborative single "Like That".[28]

Grandson, Vol. 1

On September 2, 2019, Von released his single "What It's Like", as the single forerunner of his first mixtape album announced in September 2019.[29]

The mixtape was dropped some weeks later on September 19, 2019, it consists in 13 a tracks mixtape, and it is named Grandson, Vol. 1, executively produced by Chopsquad DJ, it contains three features represented by "Twin Nem" and by the Remix of "Crazy Story" both featuring Chicago artist Lil Durk; the other feature consists on the collaboration with Chicago artist and OTF affiliate Booka600 on "Jet". The mixtape also includes tracks "Crazy Story", "Crazy Story, Pt. 3", and his second ever single "War With Us" dating back to October 18, 2018.

Grandson, Vol. 1 debuted at number 75 and later peaking at number 53, on the Billboard 200, also it reached number 27 on the Hip Hop/R&B albums chart, and number 9 on the Independent album chart.[30][31][32][33]

Levon James

On November 16, 2019, Von released his single "2 A.M." followed by a corresponding video to be released the same day.[34] On November 29, 2019, Von released his single "Rollin" featuring YNW Melly, accompanied with a music video.[35] He later releases, on February 21, 2020, "Took Her to the O", with a music video, which will become his most successful single.[36] "Took Her to the O" and "Rollin" were later included on his second mixtape, Levon James, that was released on March 6, 2020, which debuted at number 63 and later peaking at number 40 on the Billboard 200.[37] It was released through Only the Family Entertainment/Empire and consists in a 16 track mixtape executively produced by Chopsquad DJ, featuring verses from NLE Choppa, Tee Grizzley, G Herbo, Lil Durk, YNW Melly, Booka600 and Yungeen Ace.[38]

An official video for "On Yo Ass" was released on March 6, 2020, coinciding with the album release date. The song features Chicago artist G Herbo, with production from Chopsquad DJ.[39] On March 20, 2020, an official video for "Trust Issues" was released, featuring Florida rapper Yungeen Ace; in the song Von switched up his gangsta focus to show his softer side.[40][41] On April 6, 2020, Bennett releases an official music video for 3 A.M. on YouTube,[42] following on April 29, 2020, the release of his single "Grandson For President" that later will be incorporated as a single for What It Means to Be King album. He followed the single up closely with a music video release for "Broke Opps", another song from Levon James album.

Welcome to O'Block

In 2020, King Von worked on the project that would later turn out to be his first studio album.[43] he first releases the lead single of the album titled "Why He Told" on July 27, 2020, associated with a music video posted on YouTube, and followed that up with the single, "All These Niggas", featuring Chicago rapper Lil Durk, in which video, that was published the same day, Banks could not appear for legal reasons; it garnered 24 million views in two months on YouTube platform.[44][45][43][46][47] He then released another single, titled "How It Go", in conjunction with another music video, on August 26, 2020.[48]

On October 9, 2020, King Von released "I Am What I Am", featuring New York rapper Fivio Foreign with annexed a music video.[49][50] Two weeks later Bennett released "Gleesh Place" in combination with another music video on his official channel, this release was in anticipation of the official release of Welcome to O'Block, that came out on October 30, 2020. The 16-track album features production Chopsquad DJ, Tay Keith, Wheezy and Hitmaka, among others; it also features artists Prince Dre, Lil Durk, Dreezy, Moneybagg Yo. The album includes the Polo G collaboration "The Code", which was released with a music video.[51][52][53] The project peaked at number 5 on Billboard for US Top 200 albums, number 1 for Top R&B/Hip Hop albums, number 1 for Top Independents album and peaked 12th for Top 100 Canadian albums.[30]

In an interview for Complex, Bennett revealed his vision regarding the new upcoming project and the main differences from his previous work, Levon James, declaring: "If you're doing something and keep doing it, you're gonna get better results. Everything better". It is the one for real, I've been working hard". In another interview for Uproxx he declared that he wanted to dedicate the project to his neighborhood, and to all the people who lived there and struggled there.[54][47]

He died one week after the album was released.[55] After his death, the music videos for "Wayne's Story", "Armed & Dangerous", "Mine Too", and "Demon" were released.[56][57][58][59]

Posthumous releases

On December 24, 2020, Lil Durk released his album The Voice as a tribute to King Von, who appears on the album cover and on the song, "Still Trappin'".[60]

In an interview on February 26, 2021, Bennett's manager stated that Von had over 300 unreleased songs, or around 10 albums' worth of content, which they would continue to release with the family's concession in subsequent years with the aim of keeping his legacy alive.[61][62]

On March 3, 2021, Bennett was featured on the compilation album Loyal Bros by American record label Only the Family.[63] He appeared on Three tracks including "Out the Roof" which also features Chicago rappers Lil Durk and Booka600; "Me and Doodie Lo" featuring Doodie Lo, which was released before Bennett's demise and later used as the lead single of the album that also included a music video released on August 21, 2020;[64] and finally he appeared on the last single of the project "Jump" still featuring Lil Durk, Booka600 and Memo600, also, a music video for the song was filmed before Bennett's death and released simultaneously on the same day as the single's release, on March 3, 2021.[65]

What It Means to Be King

On February 4, 2022, his management team announced a new album by the rapper titled What It Means to Be King.[66] On the following day, February 5, the promotional single "Don't Play That" was released, featuring the American rapper 21 Savage, and finds the pair delivering couplets atop a production by Kid Hazel; an official music video for the song was released on February 9, 2022.[66][67] This followed the release of his second album extract named "War" on March 2, 2022, the piece is accompanied by an official visualizer video.[68] These two songs achieved commercial success, reaching respectively number 40 and number 63 on Billboard Hot 100.[69][70]

On March 4, 2022, the album was released through Empire Distribution and Only the Family and by his management team, it representing King Von's second studio album and first posthumous work. The album features guest appearances from G Herbo, 21 Savage, Fivio Foreign, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Durk, Tee Grizzley, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Dreezy, Boss Top, DqFrmDaO, and OMB Peezy. Production was handled by Chopsquad DJ, Hitmaka, Tee Romano, Kid Hazel, Touch of Trent, DJ Bandz, DJ FMCT, Glaazer, Diego Ave, Bankroll Got It, TM88, ATL Jacob, Geraldo Liive, CGM Beats, John Lam, and Raw Equity.[71] The tracklist includes song "Grandson For President" an acclaimed single which dated back to April 2020, this making it, by fact, the lead single of the album.[72] The record peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200, earning 59,000 album-equivalent units, of which 55,000 came from 79 million in streams, and 4,000 by pure album sales.[73][74] This result turns out to be his best ranking and the second top 10 for King Von in the Billboard 200, who first reached the top 10 with his debut studio album Welcome to O’Block which reached the number 5.[75] Shortly thereafter, the music videos for two excerpts from his discs were released: "Too Real" was released on March 7, 2022, and "Get it Done" was released on his birthday, August 9, 2022.[76][77][78][79][80]

Grandson

In January 2023, King Von's manager announced with a post on Instagram, the drop of a new posthumous project by the rapper, scheduled for the same year.[81][82] In June, the album's title was announced to be Grandson which recalls to Von's first mixtape, Grandson, Vol. 1, and it is a reference to his renowned nickname, which an inmate gave him during his incarceration period in Cook County Jail from 2014 to 2017. The record was handled by the rapper's closest collaborators and by his mother herself.[83][84]

Three singles were released in the lead-up to the album. The first, "Robberies", was released on June 23, 2023, with an official video released the same day;[85][86][87] the second, named "Heartless", featured Tee Grizzley and was released on July 7, 2023, with an official visualizer.[88][89][90][91] The project itself was released on July 14, 2023, representing Bennett's third studio album and second posthumous work. It was hand out alongside a music video for the song "Don't Miss", which shooting dates back to the late 2020. Plus was released an official visualizer for each track on the album.[92][93]

The production on the album was handled by various producers including ATL Jacob, Chopsquad DJ, David Morse, DJ Bandz, Ghostrage, IllaDaProducer, Mac Fly, Raw Equity, Scott Storch, Southside, Tahj Money, Twysted Genius, Wheezy; most of which had already collaborated with Bennett on previous albums. It features guest appearances from G Herbo, Polo G, Lil Durk, Tee Grizzley, BreezyLyn, Tink, 42 Dugg, Moneybagg Yo, and Hotboii.[94][95] It reached the 14th position on the Billboard 200, and went 2nd on the Billboard Independent Albums, 4th on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums, also went on number 31 for Billboard top 100 Canada and number 20 on the New Zealand top 40.[96][97][98]

Artistry

Style and rapping technique

King Von's musical style has been associated with drill music,[1][99][100][101][102] this belonging to the musical genre is corroborated in his interview for DJ Akademiks[103][104] despite this definition Bennett is considered as one of the best pure lyricists in Chicago drill era,[105] and a more varied styled rapper than the majority of other exponents of the genre;[106] he has also been defined as being stylistically differentiated, being more of a classical rapper in a drill music context by demonstrating focus, conveying punchy lyrics on beat,[107] and for his delivery, wordplays and sharp songwriting; for which he is often praised by the critics.[101][105][108] Mark Braboy that wrote for Complex, defined Bennett as thoughtful, skillful lyricist, and different from others Chicago drill artists as able to deliver it in a ferocious and resonating package that was unrivaled.[105] Jayson Buford from Tablet instead stated that the rapper's success still resonates years after his death, tracing it both to Bennett's proximity to violence and to his extraordinary lyrical skills.[109]

Storytelling

King Von was known for the use of the storytelling in his songs.[108] His narration has also been defined by HotNewHipHop as "impeccable" and equipped "with a vengeance and uncut authenticity";[108] it has also been described as "vivid".[105][110] Pitchfork eulogizes his ability to tell a coherent story as its narrator with associated dialogue insertion in his verses.[111] Von maximized his storytelling strengths across a trio of critically acclaimed efforts, Grandson, Vol. 1, Levon James, and Welcome to O'Block with each project showcasing the full complexities of his personality, as Von fleshed out narratives that are rarely seen in mainstream rap.[105]

Bennett's narrative technique in musical compositions developed around themes based on his own experiences; and has been compared to that of other various artists such as the prime Ice-T, Speaker Knockerz[105] and specifically songs like "Took Her to the O" and "Crazy Story" have been compared to "Children's Story" by Slick Rick;[105] while Bennett himself says that he has often been compared with Meek Mill's narrative technique.[112]

Von's storytelling style and ability was inspired by his childhood in Englewood and peculiarly draws on urban novels he read while incarcerated:[100][102] he asserted that he read many books by Sister Souljah, he liked also JaQuavis and Ashley especially the book "The Cartel", "The Ultimate Sacrifice" by Anthony Fields plus he also appreciated the "Twilight" novels.[113]

Influences

King Von has cited several MCs as influencing his rapping style, deriving by the artists he listened to in his teens, with rappers such as Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame,[112] and by other Chicago rappers such as Twista, Kanye West,[47]G Herbo, Lil Bibby, Lil Durk.[100]

Personal life

Bennett was in an on-and-off relationship with Texas rapper Asian Doll, but the two were reportedly not in a relationship at the time of his death.[114] Bennett had three children, one son and two daughters.

His cousin, Calboy, is also a rapper.[115]

In April 2014, Bennett was questioned by police as a person of interest in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Gangster Disciples member Gakirah "K.I." Barnes, but the police were unable to charge him due to inconsistencies in witness statements.[116][117]

On July 24, 2014, Bennett was arrested in connection with a shooting in May 2014, resulting in the death of Malcolm Stuckey and the injury of two other men. Bennett was charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The shooting took place in Englewood, Chicago.[118][119] Bennett was found not guilty in December 2017.[120]

In May 2019, Bennett and Lil Durk were arrested in connection with a shooting in Atlanta. Bennett and his co-defendant Durk appeared before a judge in a Fulton County courtroom for a probable cause hearing. Prosecutors claimed that the two rappers robbed and shot Alexander Witherspoon outside a popular drive-in on February 5, 2019.[121] After weeks in jail, Durk was released on a $250,000 bond,[122] while Von was released on a $300,000 bond.[123] The charges against Durk were dropped in October 2022.[124]

Death

On November 6, 2020, at around 2:15 a.m., Bennett and his crew were involved in an altercation with Quando Rondo's crew outside of the Monaco hookah lounge in Atlanta, Georgia.[125] The dispute quickly escalated into gunfire, and Bennett was shot multiple times.[126][127] He was transported to a hospital in critical condition and died there later that day. He was 26 years old.[125][128]

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported that two people were killed and six wounded.[129] One of them was placed in police custody for Bennett's murder while being treated for a gunshot wound.[130] The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Timothy "Lul Timm" Leeks, a rapper affiliated with Quando Rondo.[131] In August 2023, charges were dropped against Leeks under Georgia's "stand-your-ground" law.[132]

On November 14, 2020, Bennett was buried in Chicago.[133]

Remembrance

During the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, Bennett was included in the In Memoriam montage.[134]

In August 2021, a mural depicting King Von was painted by artist Chris Devins on a large wall overlooking Martin Luther King Drive in the Parkway Gardens complex, where Von was raised. Bennett is depicted with a backward baseball cap, wearing a silver "O'Block" chain.[135][136] The mural attracted controversy among Chicago residents, with some arguing that it would attract gang-related crime to the area and was a glorification of gang violence.[137]

Discography

See also

References

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  2. ^ Paul Thompson, November 9, 2020 "King Von Was Building Something Bigger Than Chicago Drill. He Deserved to See It Through.", Vulture, while incarcerated became a hallmark of his sound, and Chicago drill’s latest wave... the drill prodigy also from an area known locally as the O-Block. Von went to the same high school as G Herbo... Those sonic cues placed Von firmly in his city’s drill lineage at a point when that scene had reached such a fever pitch that it was being imitated across the country.
  3. ^ Jack Riedy, April 10, 2020 "Rising drill star King Von refines his storytelling and stunting on Levon James", Chicago Reader, Sharp songwriting and bombastic delivery have made King Von one of fastest-rising stars in drill... Grandson Vol. 1, which stays close to the classic drill sound, combining blown-out beats with blunt-force effects.
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