Week 4 of “The Unsung”. This weekly series spotlights dope battle rappers who are heavily slept on.

The city of Chicago, or “Chi-Raq”, as it’s called by its natives, has given numerous reputable contributions to the Hip Hop culture. With rap legends like Common, Da Brat, Twista, producer No I.D., Bump J, and rising talents like Lil Reese, Bibby, Durk, Cheef Keef, and countless others, the music scene is thriving and eclectic. There is another side of Chicago Hip Hop that is just as motivated to show the rest of the world they have what it takes to make it to the top…the Chicago battle rap scene. Battle rap titans Big T, and Big Kannon have long made their marks on the battle circuit by introducing their brand of rap in which they take the listener on a visual journey with 3 bars of “Set up”, then land a “Haymaker” on the fourth bar with bone crushing punchlines the crowd never sees coming! Yeah…people in the Chi and around the world know these guys, but…there is another Chicago bred MC who encompasses nearly all the aspects one would need to be deemed a great…meet Young Kannon. Not to be confused with “Big” Kannon, this Chicago rhyme slinger displays a level of rhyming not often seen, but nearly always overlooked. Despite having had wars with Big Kannon, O Red, Lotta Zay, Tay Roc, B Magic, Born, Danja Zone, Chilla Jones and several other notable battlers, YK was never considered a top tier talent. Incredible. No matter whether an opponent was considered a rookie or a vet, YK delivers 3 flawless rounds every show. His vocal projection is top of the line, his agression, performance and overall rawness is unforgiving! These attributes combined with his superb writing ability should make him one of battle raps elites. His schemes were talked about before Chillas, his pen has always been nice, yet he still doesn’t receive his just due. When an up and comer had a little hype surrounding their name they would be faced with the unfortunate task of facing YK who showed them in the words of DNA, “You are not ready!” He was labeled “The PG Killer”. Rookies were simply not up to par to face the hungry MC always willing to show he belongs in the upper echelon of the culture. He barred it out with a then up and coming B Magic, a battle which many felt was one of Kannon’s finer moments. A devestating loss to Swave Sevah was a tough set back for YK, but his resilience and competitive spirit did not allow that to deter him as he went on a killing spree afterwards. Schemes, angles, punchlines, wit, wordplay, performance, YK has it all in terms of battle rap necessities. I think timing had a lot to do with why he is overlooked. At the time he battled the more popular names in battle today, they weren’t as popular then. Also his “lack of presence” and “lack of swag” in the eyes of the nit picking fans have prevented him from reaching “star status”. Unfortunately battle rap has become less and less about rap….word to Danja Zone! The last of us that actually care about the actual skill of rapping recognize you YK and we know where you stay!!! Salute!

By Danny Myers

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