MacArthur Johnson is an American comedian and rapper. He is more popular by several of his stage names, such as Young 22 or Funny Mike or 22 Savage. While he was still a high school student, Johnson started to garner modest fame as a social-media-based comedian by posting videos of his short skits, impressions, and memes. He also had a moderate career as a rapper before a new gangster rapper named 21 Savage emerged in the scene in early 2016. His violent backstory and distinctive style of rapping attracted multiple emulations with Johnson’s being the most prominent and extreme of all. Johnson’s impersonation of 21 Savage under the name of “22 Savage” confused the public and earned him wide recognition as well. He eventually released his song ‘No Heart’ in mid-2016. Since then, he has changed his name to Young 22 to carve out his own identity. He is signed with Travis James Entertainment and has put out the popular song ‘Hit That Bit for the Gram’.
Johnson began his career under the moniker Funny Mike. He was a social media comedian primarily active on Vine and YouTube and accumulated a small but loyal following in those early years of his career. He became particularly popular in his hometown Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. He created short skits, did impressions of celebrities, and posted memes.
Alongside his career in comedy, he was also an aspiring rapper. After rapper 21 Savage became one of most talked about gangster rappers in mid-2016, Johnson, using the moniker 22 Savage, began to emulate his appearance, style, and music. There were other emulators of the rapper as well, but none came close to Johnson.
In August 2016, he released his first song, ‘No Heart’ as 22 Savage. The song was named after 21 Savage’s track of the same name from his collaborative album with Metro Boomin, titled ‘Savage Mode’.
21 Savage was well aware of Johnson’s antics and the two had a public spat on Twitter. Johnson even challenged 21 Savage to a boxing match, which the latter declined.
Shortly after ‘No Heart’ was released, 22 Savage recorded ‘Jumpin’. After the track became a hit, he made a music video of it. He has since put out several original songs, including ‘Hit That 22’, ‘Run It’, and ‘Pay 4 It’. In February 2017, he changed his name to Young 22 to bring a degree of legitimacy to his career.
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Controversies & Scandals
Young 22 was charged with murder in May 2016. According to a report published in ‘WAFB Baton Rouge,’ he and his two acquaintances were standing outside a supermarket in Baker, Louisiana on 3 May when they noticed a man named Richard Phillips, who was distributing party fliers in the parking lot at the time. They approached him and soon an argument broke out. There are contradictory accounts of what happened next, but Phillips was shot in the chest and eventually succumbed to his injuries.
Arrested by the police later that day, Young 22 confessed to shooting Philips but claimed he did so in self-defence. However, there were some discrepancies between the accounts he gave to the police and the video footage of the incident that the authorities had acquired. He was ultimately charged with second-degree murder, illegal use of a weapon, and obstruction of justice and his bond was set at $370,000. The music news website Complex contacted a representative for the Criminal Records Department for Louisiana's 19th Judicial District who stated that the rapper was out on bail and there had not been any development in the case since he was released. In February 2017, a grand jury declined to indict Young 22 on the murder charge.
Johnson was born on October 8, 1996, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He grew up in an impoverished household. From a young age, he was always the jokester among his friends. There are speculations that he was part of a gang as a young adult. He has himself boasted that he had money even before his rap career really took off. Johnson attended Tara High School.
Young 22 is in a relationship with a woman named Jaliyah. Besides regularly appearing on his YouTube channel, she also runs the channel FunnyMike&Jaliyah with Young 22. His mother, who goes by the moniker Momma Jones, has a channel of her own named ‘FunnyMike Mom’.