An alias representative of the greatest book in all of literature, coincidentally homonymous with rapid-fire weaponry, carries lofty expectations and growing anticipation. Yet, this Midwest-born rapper’s aim is not to leave people in awe of his knowledge and delivery but to give the words of eternal life—66 books, 2 clips and 1 Canon.
Aaron “Canon” McCain was born in Chicago, Illinois, in a lower middle class area, but violence and crime would soon force his parents to journey throughout the state in hopes of finding a safe environment for him and his two older siblings. And while Canon’s parents were married and present in his life, his dad worked at night and rested during the day; so his mom took on a more influential role. As an employee at Moody Bible Institute, she would try to teach her kids about God and made sure the family went to church. But for Canon, church wasn’t a place where he heard solid, biblical doctrine; it was more of a family affair. His grandfather was the pastor, dad played the piano, mom sang and everyone else was expected to attend but usually had ulterior motives. Yet, those religious surroundings may have kept him from turning to a life of crime like those in his neighborhood—being shot at over a bike when he was just a kid could have been a catalyst for violence because it did scare him enough to make him carry a weapon, but anything more than a cap gun was off limits. Nevertheless, Canon’s penchant for mischief did turn him into a modern-day, urban Dennis the Menace. At the tender age of seven, while living in Maywood, he joined a clique of youngsters who threw mud pies at houses and played pranks at school. But as kids mature, their propensity for troublemaking often leads to more dangerous territory. In high school, his friends joined gangs, and although he didn’t, he wasn’t just playing pranks anymore. Canon became rebellious against authority, skipped school and got involved in violent activity.
Despite his disregard for life, he still couldn’t shake the reality that struck him at the age of 13. His mom had taken him to a Christian summer camp the previous year where he was recognized for his model behavior, but he came back home and his misconduct resumed. One day, while riding in the car with his relatives, they struck a tree and the car was totaled. Canon emerged from the wreck only to realize there was a propane tank behind the tree that could’ve exploded and led to tragedy. That moment, he knew God was saying, “I could take your life now…you didn’t go to camp for nothing!” So in between misbehaving in school and around the neighborhood, Canon grew more curious about God and wanted to try rapping about things he was learning at his church. He had also begun making his own beats and rapping with his friends, but there was no place for rap at his grandfather’s traditional church. Hoping to finally grab the mic and rock the stage, Canon started attending a Hip Hop church called The House. However, the lead pastor was more concerned about his relationship with God rather than his ability to rap about him. Pastor Phil and several other brothers at the church began pouring into Canon and as a result, he gradually came to know the Lord. Within a year, he had left behind his childish ways, was performing at The House and had an ever-growing desire to know more about the Lord.
After high school, he left Illinois and came to Memphis to attend Bible College. He had also met Lecrae when he visited The House, so when he came to the South, Canon linked up with him, Pro, Chad Jones and others in Tennessee. He eventually had to leave school for financial reasons, but the knowledge and wisdom he was gaining from being in community with older brothers allowed him to grow beyond that of his formal education. And although he was now surrounded by budding rappers, his focus was on maturing in the faith; but they soon encouraged him to take all he was learning and share it through music. Canon took their advice and in 2009 dropped The Great Investment mixtape, which hit the Internet a year later to favorable reviews and caught the attention of listeners around the world. He has since been featured on Lecrae’s Rehab: The Overdose and several Reflection Music projects, as well as currently serving as hype man for Lecrae as he tours the country.
Canon recently joined Reflection Music Group and now lives in Atlanta where he is preparing a full-length free album to be released this year. His desire is to contribute truth to culture while being true to who he is as an artist and a young person that is also influenced by culture. Canon wants his music and his life to inspire others to repent and trust in Christ, but also encourage believers to “be you in light of a biblical worldview.”