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Levon Bates Jr. (born Dec 30. 1992), better known by his stage name Von V, is an African American, unsigned rapper and lyricist. He was born in Chicago, Illinois better known as “Chiraq” because of its high murder rate.
He released his Mixtape “Death Rate” February 2013 an all instrumental mixtape symbolizing Chicago’s high murder rate in compare to his unique rapping style to “kill” others beats. Von V’s mixtape Death Rate, he recorded freestyle versions from ASAP Rocky’s “Goldie” to French Montana’s “Shot Caller”. UIC’s music coordinator Tyna Bowens wrote “Von V takes these hits and make you love them even more than the originals from his dope lyrics to his insane punchlines.”
Von V is a newcomer to the hip hop scene in more than one sense: not only is he a new and relatively underrated up-and-comer in music, but hip hop itself and the culture it comes with are new to him as well. A man before anything else, he says: “I started writing when I was 14. It was one of many times to escape from the stress and harsh realities in my life where I needed to release. I let my words speak for my voiceless emotion”. The idea of rapping came recently when a friend opened his eyes to the possibility of turning his life into raps.
Von V is definitely seasoned regardless of his apparent lack of promotion, people are starting to notice. To date, he’s opened up for a number of artists ranging from “L.E.P Bogus Boys”, to “Dj Just Blaze”. In countless of popular venues from the Ultra Lounge to the Double Door he is no stranger to the stage. Von V has been featured on several music blogs and websites for Unsigned Hype. Although no musical success or exclusive recognition yet, he says, “my recognition will soon come from my hard work and dedication for my craft”. He says, “There seem to be so many people who want to be musicians, there are only few who actually are.” “It’s all a matter of how you approach things”, he says, “stay humble, and stay true to who you are.”
This is what differentiates Von V from so many of his peers: he is down to earth and unapologetically himself at all times, regardless of any judgments that many ensue. Whether it’s his unexpectedly bold statements, his clever and witty since of humor, his passionate desire for success or his closeted fear of it, Von V is never comparable to anything but Von V, and it works to his benefit. Gaining inspiration from acts as diverse as his audience, he compares himself to a “hip-hop blender”, combining the tastes and styles of many to create a completely fresh and unique flavor of his own.
While it seems like everyone’s goals as musician’s is to gain recognition and success for their vision, Von V has further ambitions: “I want to make people feel my words. I want to tell a story – everybody’s story”, he says, “make yesterday history, tomorrow a mystery, live everyday like it’s your last, and thru it all just smile.”