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Band of the Week 

K-von the Great

Meet the Band: Kevon Smith (rapper)

A Hip-hop Prodigy: An older cousin started writing verses for 11-year-old K-Von. "Back then, I was into Jay-Z and anything that my cousin listened to," says K-Von, who grew up in Euclid. "I really liked Lil Wayne, too." His first CD came out when he was a freshman in high school and he followed that release in 2012 with his mixtape, Finally 18. "I had different producers and different artists from around town work on the mixtape," he says. "It was a way to say I am finally grown."

Straight Outta the Bedroom: A student in Tri-C's Recording Arts Technology program, K-Von recorded his new album, Just a Thought, in his bedroom. It features a series of skits and Southern rap-inspired songs such as "Kick It" and "Lonely Dreams." "It's representing my generation," K-Von says of the disc. "Parents think kids are acting up but they taught us everything we know. That's what I'm talking about in [the song] 'New Generation.'"

Why You Should Hear Him: K-von and the crew he calls the New Generation regularly go into city schools to talk to kids about the value of education; that positivity comes through on Just a Thought. "I want to hide my ego and not my intelligence," he says. "I can't tell kids to get their education and treat their women right and then say, 'fuck those bitches' in a song. It's more than just rapping. I go back to the schools and speak about non-violence because I never had someone do that for me when I was growing up."

Where You Can Hear Him: facebook.com/K-von-the-Great

Where You Can See Him: K-von the Great performs with Brea Jordai, OG Ca$e, Moley and ADHD at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Bikestyles in Great Lakes Mall in Mentor.

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