Jonathon Bennett, better known as Merc Versus, is an American rapper and record producer from Muncie, Indiana. He gained notoriety in online underground hip hop circles in the 2000s by extensively touring in the midwestern U.S. (sharing the stage with artists like Artifacts, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Killah Priest, Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox, Bronze Nazareth & Wisemen, Devin the Dude, Canibus, Adeem, Obie Trice, Doodlebug of Digable Planets, Del the Funky Homosapien, and more), releasing multiple independent albums, and appearing as a guest feature on releases from artists like C-Rayz Walz, Chief Kamachi (formerly of Jedi Mind Tricks crew Army of the Pharaohs and JuJu Mob), and the late Kevlaar 7 (of Wisemen). He is a founding member of the groups Mystery School, Bedlam Brethren, and Planet Boom Bap (a live hip hop band), as well as a former chapter leader ofUniversal Zulu Nation.
Katherine Coplen, a writer for Indianapolis' NUVO magazine, wrote: "Merc Versus is a classic. Like many traditional emcees, he stays in a straight line on the track, with a penchant for dusty boom-bap beats and unwavering bars that have something to say."
Between 2012 and 2020, Merc Versus released a trilogy of projects with record producer Falling Down, who has worked with Inspectah Deck of Wu-Tang Clan, Sheek Louch of The Lox, Kidd Kidd, Killarmy, Uncle Murda, Lil Flip, and more. Between 2014-2015, he hosted an underground hip hop radio show called P.O.W.z Radio on WECI 91.5 FM at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana which featured interviews and music from both local and national talent; one episode featured an interview with Cappadonna of Wu-Tang Clan.
In 2015, Merc Versus organized a series of youth workshops at the Masonic Temple in Muncie, Indiana, which had been converted into a community center called Cornerstone Center for the Arts. These workshops, entitled The Seeds of Life Urban Arts Workshop Series, taught the fundamentals of the artistic elements of hip hop culture (deejaying, emceeing, breaking, and graffiti).
Also known as : Merkabah, Raafiq Alim, Cheating Death
Solo albums 2007: The Word 2011: C-Rayz Walz presents Rise of the Sleeping Giant 2012: The Suffering Soul EP (with Falling Down) 2015: Entering Heaven Alive (with Falling Down) 2020: Furious Euphoria (with Falling Down)
Collaborations 2000: Dark Gospel (with Mystery School) 2004: The Grasshopper EP (with Mystery School) 2009: Behind the Iron Curtain (with Ironworkers Guild) 2010: Kevlaar 7 presents Class Envy (with Mystery School) 2012: Bedlam Bullets (with Bedlam Brethren) 2012: Black Feather Messengers (with Bedlam Brethren) 2016: Parallel Universe (with Planet Boom Bap)
Mixtapes 2008: March of the Martyrs (with Ironworkers Guild) 2015: Magnetic 2020: Payphones